Our goal as visionary’s and innovators is to create with impact. It is not enough to speak your vision with no plan of execution. An artist,in all creative realms, thrives off the pulse of life, therefore transforming their mental and visual inspiration into heartfelt creations.
This is the formula for 28-year-old fashion designer Tamra Ellingson. J’Vieve by Tamra Ellingson is a custom-fit luxury clothing brand catering to the upper-class special event-going 30-35 year-old woman. This woman sees luxury as a lifestyle with no apologies. Within six months, J’Vieve took its first breaths and has flourished in various fashion shows in Chicago even challenging the designer, who works a gig on the side, to create a 30 piece collection in 30 days in preparation for the Enamor Fashion Show last October.
Most recently, Tamra has partnered with the owner of True Essence Boutique for an exclusive launching of her clothing line. True Essence Presents… J’Vieve takes place on Saturday, January 26 at True Essence Boutique located at 1109 Chicago Avenue, Oak Park, IL. and will be the first store to house J’Vieve.
“Brandy’s (True Essence Boutique owner) amazing! She’s great and she’s taking a chance on me,” says Tamra. “She has a ready-to-wear boutique. We are doing [J'Vieve] as a designer showcase. She wanted to bring in someone who was upscale to create that price point in her store. It’s an ongoing partnership and she wants me to be an exclusive designer for her store.”
J’Vieve was created from a personal space. The ‘J’ stands for Tamra’s middle name and “vieve” is borrowed from her grandmother’s name “Genevieve”. Tamra combined the elements to make something that had meaning and would allow her to “plateau out at a certain level.” The french twist to the name is in honor of France, the fashion capitol of the world. “It sounds expensive and it has a ton of meaning,” she ignites.
The design concepts behind J’Vieve come absent of sneak peeks from what other designers may be doing. She says adamantly, “I don’t ever look to other designers.” Instead, the designer pulls from a more thematic nature. For example, she explains a recent fashion show where the Mad Hatter, a character played by Johnny Depp, and the film Black Swan cradled in her mind, birthing: The Mad Hatter meets the Black Swan in a Dark Romance.
“The collection goes from dark to light and in the middle they meet and mingle and have this mad love affair.” As she flips through her iPhone showing images from the collection, the excitement and passion boils within every description of her garments. The designs emulate her vision in pattern, fabric and color decor as she explains, “this is the one inspired by a swan. It has the same colors as a swan and you kind of feel like there’s a beak. I made sure that it was contoured and, here, you get a wrap around the neck as if it was a swan neck that goes around to the back …”
But just as theatrics play into Tamra’s creativity, inspiration from nature and a painting by the popular Picasso can do just the same. She reiterates, “I’m so serious about not paying attention to designers out there because I feel like there are so many designers in the world that look around to other designers and knock them off. I’ve seen it done. I refuse to do that!”
After a sip of water, she adds, “My stuff has real inspiration behind it. It has real heart behind it. I think that, that’s what I have to offer [in this industry] and I feel like people will see that.”
Ellingson came to Chicago from Barron, Wisconsin determined to build the foundation of her empire. Visual design is her calling. Created in the mental pysche, sketched onto paper, patterned and sewn with only the best of fabrics, and customized to fit every curve and inch of the female body to perfection, Tamra breathes design.
The former model, (she’s currently getting back into the modeling world), completed her education at the International Academy of Design and Technology- Chicago (IADT) in 2012 following up with an internship with Barbara Bates Designs. In just six months, J’Vieve went from mental creation to brand execution. The clothing line is not your fly-by-day ready-to-wear fabrics. She spends nearly $1500 on the finest silks, real leather, satins and real fur to ensure a comfortably and luxurious fit and feel. J’Vieve is created to evoke a certain lifestyle and feeling.
“My brand statement is: “Clothing has the power to evoke a feeling. Luxury is not only who we are, it’s what we do,” Tamra points out. “The whole point behind that is, when everyone puts on my clothes, I want people to feel really good in it so I use fabrics that people just want to touch and can’t help but touch. There’s nothing like having something custom-fitted for your body.”
This statement lends its essence to every skillfully crafted garment that comes from J’Vieve ranging from $400 to a hefty few thousand dollars depending on style and fabrics used.
As for luxury design, it just came natural for Tamra. By the time she reached 24, she was all partied and clubbed out. When it came to making her move to the windy city, it was all about business and focus.
“I had done so much partying so when I moved here, I was just ready to focus on my career and I was so mindset on that that it reflected in the clothes that I made. And that’s why the clothes are what they are because I’m the person that I am right now,” she shares honestly.
“I’m not the person who goes out to clubs. I’m a person who goes out to events and I want to dress and look nice and I want people to notice what I’m wearing and I want to feel a certain way while I’m wearing it. That’s why I cater to this market.”
J’Vieve by Tamra Ellingson is claiming its presence with an even brighter future.
“My goal for my company is, when I have a store, to branch into a ready-to-wear, it will still be a bit pricey – $100-200 but still reaching the people that want to spend money to go out. I’ll still be doing the custom pieces for my upscale clientele and I want to eventually reach out to celebrities at some point and I’ll eventually branch out to menswear, shoes, and handbags.
She laughs, “I’ve thought this out from the very beginning. I have a big concept and dream for my future.”