OTW Threads: The Fashion Brand Structured by Denim, Art and Community
Something as modern and staple to the American fashion industry as denim… is being cut, sewn and transformed into something out of this world!
It is no surprise that Janirah has an extensive background in art and graphic design. Aside from working on her brand she is a part time art instructor and a mentor to many young aspiring fashion designers/artists in inner cities across the U.S.
Anyone laying eyes on her products for the first time will either love it as a fashion piece or admire it as a work of art. Denim over-shirts/jackets, T-shirts and crewneck sweaters with denim pockets, joggers with denim workings throughout, and custom hats… exemplify workings unseen in fashion. Each piece is custom and unique, giving your wardrobe that much needed statement piece.
Her pieces have been worn by a few celebs such as Jaden Smith, Willow Smith, DaniLeigh, and Fatboy SSE to name a few.
I had the opportunity to sit down with New Jersey native Janirah “YaYa” Correa to discuss her fashion brand OTW Threads, her journey as a business owner, and more!
What inspired your passion?
Janirah: My passion as a fashion designer stems from my love of art and graphic design. Art has always been a hobby of mine. I literally create whenever I have the chance. As for graphic design, it was a way for me to advance my artistic talents. In college, I studied graphic design and graphic communications. Fashion has always been a part of me as I always enjoyed being my own self. I continue to venture into fashion because it allows me to design, create and be unique… seriously out of this world.
When did you realize that your product could become a business?
Janirah: My first product was actually a hat I made back in 2013. Nothing can describe the feeling you get when wearing your own product. That indescribable feeling became even more self-empowering when I had random people stopping me on the street asking me about the hat. That day I said to myself why wait? I didn’t have much knowledge of the business world; I knew I had something people wanted… so I banked on myself.
Who is your product for?
Janirah: My product is for artist, creatives and free spirits… people who are a reflection of my image. My pieces are custom, so if you wish to wear a piece of mines be ready to make a statement.
What is your typical day as a business owner?
I have a marketing calendar created to make my life as a business owner a little less chaotic. My day to day is following my marketing calendar as best as can. On an average day I’m processing online orders from my website and social media, I’m reviewing marketing plans and goals, I’m doing social media engagement and lastly I’m sketching new designs/producing new pieces. This doesn’t account for my networking efforts or photo shoots/runway shows.
What challenges have you come across that you didn’t expect?
Janirah: The biggest challenge is definitely selling the product. I find it’s very easy getting approval from audiences, but actually buying something is another story. Also another huge challenge is balancing everything that goes into being a business owner. I really need to always plan ahead, sometimes weeks to account for designing, runway shows, photo shoots, website maintenance, networking opportunities. It becomes a lot sometimes.
What does your clothing have in common with Newark?
Janirah: Growing up in Elizabeth, I find myself in Newark quite often. Newark is full of talented young individuals, who are all trying to make it. I like to say that my clothing is a product of the struggle. I want to represent the misunderstood, the hunger to be successful and the awesomeness of being unique.
What do you think about the Makerhoods mission?
Janirah: It’s going to be a great addition to the city. Offering entrepreneurs a store front and work space for an affordable rate is unheard of. It’s a dream come true for me. Since hearing of the project, I’ve been at every Makerhoods event.
What is your business end goal?
Janirah: My business end goal is definitely creating a business in which I can call my only job. I want a few locations. I want to present at Paris Fashion week. More importantly I want my business to impact the community. I want to show kids alike myself that anything is possible. You can be an artist, a fashion designer if you stay motivated and passionate towards your craft.
What advice would you tell your younger self?
Janirah: I would tell my younger self stay focused and no matter the obstacles that may lie forward… you will be good. Also, don’t rush the process, everything meant for you will come.
Anthony Smith, Community Outreach Coordinator
After graduating college and returning back to my hometown of Newark, NJ I became a member of the Newark Makerhoods team. This transformative experience put me in touch with many local entrepreneurs who are all in different business stages, ranging from established to upstart. Newark is a thriving city for talented creators. I'm here to share their stories and launch their business to the everyday public’s eye.