New York Fashion Week recently concluded its weeklong fashion extravaganza, and one of those displaying their wares was rising designer Jamaica Craft, who unveiled her new collection which just debuted online. She may be new to the fashion world, but Craft is certainly no stranger to the world of entertainment or business. Having worked with some of the biggest names in music, acclaimed choreographer Craft’s résumé boasts a long list of stellar accomplishments.
A self-taught dancer, Craft has been creating her own path, since she left her hometown, Kansas City, Missouri, to pursue her dreams of dancing. That passion launched her into the burgeoning mecca of early ’90s hip-hop and R&B scene in Atlanta. Her love for dance paved the way for her to audition for MC Hammer, which rapidly developed into a job as Hammer’s closest adviser and choreographer. From there, Jamaica went on to work with 3LW, TLC, Ciara, Usher, Keri Hilson, Justin Beiber, Neyo, Nicki Minaj, and a host of others.
Craft began directing entire tours and projects for main acts like Ciara, Usher, Justin Bieber and Ne-Yo, and she has directed dance routines for hit TV shows such as Fox’s “Empire” and movies like Fist Fight starring Ice Cube, Charlie Day and Tracy Morgan.
As a creative in this industry staying current and ahead of the curve as it pertains to trends, innovation, and branding oneself is key. “I’m inspired by the millennials and how fearless their generation is,” says Craft when talking about some of her current motivations. Craft, who now regularly gets hired just to be a “swag coach” and help artists discover or enhance their inner flavor, is known for her personal style. Over the past three years, she’s been “crafting” her apparel line, Jam Session Gear. In 2016, Craft released the first collection of parka styled jackets that quickly sold out. She also debuted a limited edition capsule collection with a positive message embedded within the branding of the jacket.
This season, the inspiration behind the entire brand is found within the company’s tagline and serves as the theme for The 1:11 Project, which is “nurturing positivity in your mind, body and soul.” “I care about the message and want people to feel empowered when they are in a Jam Session piece,” she says.
For the campaign’s shoot, Jamaica tapped male supermodel and recording artist Shawn “Erock” Sutton, who is a singer/songwriter; Motown recording artist Malachiae Warren; Kobie Johnson one-third of girl group Levi Johnson; Ezama Lo’i, movement artist; and talented newcomer, dancer-singer T Jay Lamar. To capture the gritty and organic feel she was going for, Craft used her go-to photographer, the notable Allen Cooley to deliver the essence of The 1:11 Project on film.
When queried about her biggest inspiration, she gushed over being a new mom. “I want to create an empire for myself and a legacy for him,” she says.
Other major inspirations have also been her clients, who in many ways have become family pushing her to follow her gift of being able to create. “ ‘You should do your own clothes. I love the way you dress — you should focus on yourself sometimes,’ I remember Usher saying, ‘you know you can do both, right?’ ” Craft recalls of being encouraged by the crooner.
From working on multiple creative projects to taking her company to the next level, and being a new mom plus mentor to the next generation, superwoman can appropriately be added as her newest title. For more information, updates, and to shop for The 1:11 Project collection, visit www.jamsessiongear.com.
Photo gallery credit: Allen Cooley