K-Pop Star JESSICA on Life as a Boss
At first glance, JESSICA is a doe-eyed K-Pop star whose solo success has evolved significantly in her post-girl band era. (Yeah, she’s that JESSICA from Girls’ Generation, Korea’s most badass female pop group to date). She’s living proof that life after taking the world’s biggest stages can be just as—if not more—enriching in terms of career sustainability. JESSICA’s entrepreneurial spirit has made way for the success of her own retail brand, BLANC & ECLARE, which boasts merch in dozens of stores worldwide, a flagship brick-and-mortar coming to SoHo next month, and a ton of cool stuff in the pipeline.
Then there’s her music—after 7 years of record-breaking tracks and global stardom, JESSICA branched out on her own, released her first EP, and has no plans of slowing down—in fact, word is (from JESSICA herself), there’s a second album on its way soon. Read on for the full interview and peep the slideshow above.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a daughter, sister, friend, singer, actress, designer, curious, ambitious, always excited!
So many know you from your time with Girls’ Generation, but now you’re branching out into retail with your brand, BLANC & ECLARE. How did you decide to make this kind of transition and how has it been so far?
Unexpectedly, and in a way that was a bit out of my control, I found myself with the time and ability to focus 100% on developing my brand soon after launching. So in 2014, I delved head first into learning everything about designing eyewear, which is where we started. We’ve added categories since then (RTW, cosmetics, accessories) and I picked up a few projects too, including my first solo album and a few acting projects. It’s been a wild few years so the transition has been crazy but exciting the whole way.
How are you balancing your solo career with your new fashion and beauty endeavor?
With a lot of caffeine! It’s just like anyone else juggling a million responsibilities—I make the right commitments, set priorities, get the right support and try to squeeze the most hours out of every day!
What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes when you’re not working on everything you’ve got on your plate?
I love to eat with my friends and family on my down time. Trying different foods, checking out new restaurants, revisiting favorite cafes and bars—that’s how I catch up and reenergize.
How do you divide your time between the U.S., Korea, and anywhere you’re required to travel in between?
Usually work will take me to all those places. Korea is currently my base so I’m there plenty, but as my brand expands and I venture into more and more projects in the states, I’m in NY, LA and my hometown of SF a lot. And then of course, everywhere in Asia too, as I have a lot of amazing fans there.
Tell us more about BLANC & ECLARE.
It’s my baby. The fulfillment of my dream of being a designer. I’ve invested in every single item we’ve released across the categories because I care about the products and the details. Every item in the skincare line, every piece of apparel is created to be something I would personally use and enjoy. BLANC & ECLARE is a real reflection of my style and aesthetic.
What’s the meaning behind the name?
I wanted a name that would reflect the modern classic design aesthetic of what I was trying to create. I gravitated toward BLANC for its clean, crisp imagery, and ECLARE just complemented it with its Latin root of clarity and brightness.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without from the current collection?
I love my comfortable sweatshirts. When I’m home, I like to lounge and be cozy, and my sweatshirts get it just right.
Where do you like to shop when you’re not wearing cool pieces from your own brand?
I enjoy exploring vintage shops. They always have extraordinary pieces that are really special and often unlike what is current and trending.
If you could eat one thing exclusively for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Does wine count as food?
Any other projects on deck that you can tell us about?
My second album! It’s going to be like nothing you’ve seen from me thus far. I’m really proud of it and cannot wait to show it off. We also have new products and categories coming out of the BLANC & ECLARE creative well too. Lots to tease for 2017!
Photos courtesy of Jessica.
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