The fashion industry as we know it today grows to become more and more aware of the pressures it faces. With this, the industry and some designers, can often be seen as incredibly cutthroat and harsh, making it hard for anyone in that realm to enter. However, not every designer has this said cutthroat approach, in fact, one designer in particular is known for her kind and warm touch. She has marketed and created an entire collection based around her family heritage, this designer being Keziah Amaree Jackson. A designer’s journey is always beautiful and captivating to unveil. Keziah A’maree’s is one of splendor and originality.
Keziah Amaree Jackson, a former VCU fashion design major, dropped her collection inspired by her family and background called “HERITAGE” this past November.
I had the opportunity to go to the photoshoot for Keziah’s new collection, and acquire insight into her as a designer and artist. Speaking to her and the people she worked with closely was eye-opening and allowed me to be able to delve into Keziah’s work and her evolution as a designer.
Keziah has been sewing since she was seven years old. She has always been filled with a burning passion for fashion and designing clothes, she shared how she wanted to inspire others and bring out the inner fashion lover in all people. According to Tameka Jackson, Keziah’s mother and current manager, Keziah was always pushing the boundaries and testing the limits since the start of her fashion journey.
“A teacher I once had told me I couldn’t do this design. I wanted and I knew then and there I would never put a limit on myself for what I could create and design,” Keziah expressed.
At 13-years-old, Keziah established her first brand called KAHJ Designs. With this brand, she went to New York Fashion Week and North Carolina Fashion Week. She traveled all around with KAHJ Designs and learned more about what she liked and didn’t like, both in design-making and the culture of fashion.
However, Keziah felt that over time KAHJ Designs no longer fit her goals as a designer. Her designs weren’t fully being heard—or rather, they weren’t genuine and true to who she was. She felt that she was copying a lot of other designers rather than making material from herself. She felt that her clothes didn’t really reflect her anymore. It wasn’t until the Covid-19 pandemic hit that Keziah had time to sit with herself and reevaluate her brand as a whole. Grateful for where KAHJ Designs had taken her, Keziah decided that rebranding was the best option to showcase her talent and love for the artistry behind fashion.
“I then had the realization that fashion is an art form,” Keziah said. “My clothes are art.” Keziah mentioned this when talking about her pandemic break-through. She wanted to make clothes that she felt better represent her. And what better time to do that then during a worldwide pandemic.
It was this thought that birthed KeziahAmaree, her new brand behind the “HERITAGE” collection. The rebranding took a lot out of Keziah and brought out a different side of her, according to Tameka Jackson. Keziah was known to have always been a hard worker but with the start of her new label, Tameka saw a passion inside of her daughter that she had never seen before.
The dedication put behind the KeziahAmaree brand is something Keziah holds very near to her heart, and the debut of its new collection was no different. It took a lot of time and attention. Keziah expressed that “HERITAGE” is Keziah’s way of centering her family and what they mean to her.
Keziah felt that it was important to hand-pick the models she chose to be a part of this collection drop. “I picked people who I knew well and have worked with before,” Keziah said. “It made the shooting process run smoothly, and I knew they were up for the task.” Modeling clothes is an art form in and of itself, so it was important for Keziah to choose models who would help execute the “HERITAGE” collection’s story. In talking to some of the models, I gained insight into not only their thoughts on the clothing, but also Keziah as an artist and individual.
Christian Chambers, one of the models chosen for the shoot, has worked with Keziah for the past year. According to Chambers, there is exponential growth of her designs just in the short time they’ve worked together. He shared that being able to watch Keziah’s progression as an artist is a gift, and “HERITAGE” is a worthwhile project that displays how Keziah has grown as a designer.
“The message of ‘HERITAGE’ is something so beautiful,” Chambers said. “Given that she was the first person I ever modeled for, it’s so fitting that she wants me in a shoot centered around heritage.” Chambers shared how he feels that this collection is a representation of the importance of Keziah’s family in her life and how she used her past family members as inspiration in her everyday work.
Samantha Jenkins, another model for the photoshoot, expressed how she felt the collection showcased the importance of family—not just the one you’re born with, but the one you find throughout your life.
Both Chambers and Jenkins highlighted Keziah’s character as well. Jenkins shared that as someone who has worked with many designers and photographers, modeling can often make you feel like a prop. Her experience with Keziah is completely different.
“She cares about you not just as a model, but as an individual,” Jenkins shared. “She’s always checking in for comfortability and overall health when working with her. It’s so evident that she cares about her models beyond what they’re doing for her.” The model expressed that Keziah is one of her favorite people to work with.
“She is that GWORL,” Jenkins expressed!
Keziah’s love for those she collaborates with makes the models feel that they can add their own creative flair during photoshoots, complimenting the existing clothing incredibly well. Keziah shared that she creates for individuals, and will even design concepts that are tailored specifically to the people she works with. Consequently, each of her designs are unique and personal.
“Keziah is one of the most caring designers I’ve worked with.” Chambers said. “Anytime she wants to add me to a concept I’m there. That’s my girl!”
The drop of the “HERITAGE” collection consists primarily of black and white colors. Lots of sheer silky patterns and fabrics used. The art used in some of the pieces show the faces of Keziah’s lineage. These faces represent the lineage and “heritage” Keziah wanted to highlight and the pride in the models’ faces tells the story of the clothes and what they represent. For Keziah they represent her lineage, origins, and her pride and love both.
She uses long fabrics and art in the pieces to showcase what they represent to her. The big avant garde pieces have big bundles of fabrics especially in the chest areas at the bust lines. The side seams go all the way down to the floor in some pieces, this being used to represent the boldness of the collection and the message behind it.
Keziah expressed that she wanted her designs to impact people. Successful art is both thought-provoking and emotionally moving and this drop achieves both beautifully. The clothes are a representation of Keziah’s new branding and the passion behind “HERITAGE” is a direct reflection of her growth as an artist. Being a part of the process myself as a writer was a privilege, as I was able to witness the way she treated the models and the way she runs shoots first hand.