INSPIRING PEOPLE / THE AEST:(H)ET(H)IC WORLD OF JA’NIYA WALKER
Curly hair, big brown fierce eyes, a universe in full bloom.
An endless love affair with fashion and style, and a precious, deep, sweet soul and mind, 100% made in wisdom.
Los Angeles based, she is an incredibly talented, eclectic woman: fashion stylist, trendsetter, style influencer, trend forecaster, journalist, blogger, thought strategist, entrepreneur, businesswoman.
Her world embraces a crea(c)tive bond with innumerable projects and partnerships, working as a celebrity, red carpet, editorial and production stylist, collaborating with worldwide publications, film directors and producers, famous photographers, managers and talents agents.
In 2001, Ja’Niya studied fashion design in Seattle, which leads her to a AA degree, opening the doors to a successful career.
She worked with Australian and Indian ready-to-wear fashion brands and helped them succeed by redeveloping their concepts and collections and creating more suitable access to the LA buying market.
Her unique analytical eye is focused on trend forecasting, with a deep understanding of the time we live in, the current needs of the market and the related marketing strategies, creating new roads towards growth and success for the brands she works with.
From 2009 to 2012, Ja’Niya also launched a jewellery brand, called VII Victory, designing a successful line of hand made body chains and fashion jewellery creations which were sold online.
Her tireless will to explore and to be involved in more projects lead to a 2019 full of new opportunities in the modelling and acting field, plus the rebranding of her business, which is carving new paths towards a more intense shift.
As intense is the beauty of expressive freedom sculped by her strong personality + energetic humanity that draws the magic of inspiration, filling every human being’s soul with pure style, mindful he:art, joy, love.
Hello Ja’Niya! Tell us more about you and your professional world. What is the most exciting part of your job?
Taking an idea from scratch, and building from it. In many ways, I feel like an architect in how I develop a vision. It begins with a blank canvas and as a visual artist, I use fashion to articulate a story.
‘Swan Sittings’ / Photography by Lesa Amoore / 2013
‘Undefined’ / Photography by Bradford Rogne / KODE Magazine / 2013
Which essential items should be in every woman’s closet?
The essential items that should be in every woman’s closet are: a little black dress, a classic blazer, and a perfect pair of jeans (I’m talking luxury denim.)
If a time machine could take you anywhere for a week, where would it be + which fashion period would you love to experience?
I would visit London’s Carnaby Street in the 1960s. I am a huge fan of the Audrey Hepburn decade that broke many fashion traditions, and the heavy influence it had on haute couture is just a dream!
Your greatest accomplishment you are proud of, Ja’Niya.
Following my dream to move to Los Angeles to pursue fashion styling. It eventually flew me around the world to work with clients in countries and continents such as the UK, India, the Caribbean and Africa. Before I moved to Los Angeles, the furthest I’d ever travelled to was across America to Orlando Florida.
‘Glamrocks’ / Photography by Roger Weber / 1968 Magazine / 2014
Would you like to share with us the new projects you are working on?
I have been venturing into new lanes of fashion, and re-branding that has gained me notoriety as a fashion influencer.
I have been working on new exciting campaigns with a lot of skincare brands, which has been opening up doors for modelling, and acting which is so different coming from my background.
Four adjectives that totally describe yourself.
Courageous, intentional (purpose-driven) confident, and spiritual.
What are your biggest passions?
Performance art. Being involved in some kind of performance art is an inspiration driver because I love to inspire, motivate, and encourage creatives to speak their truth, use their voice as a bridge to open up new doors, create opportunities, and always consider the effect our words have on the future.
Close your eyes for a moment. What truly inspires you? And why?
Speaking and doing things directly from the heart, and from a place of intention. In order for me to truly be impactful in my work, and in my practice there has to be a deep level of the intention behind my doing.
I am someone that thinks from a place of mindfulness and how I want to be received, what my message is, and what change I want to influence. I am inspired by creating things of lasting value, and have always found inspiration in following my heart, no matter how crazy, absurd or irrational it may look to anyone else.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are brave women in fashion who have made their mark by breaking barriers, and creating new landmarks in history like American fashion designer Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, who was the first black fashion designer in America, in the late 1940s that opened the first black fashion boutique in America, in New York in 1948, later to design the first Playboy Bunny costumes in the 1960s.
Is there any particular episode you carry in your heart that gifted you with the most important and significant lesson in your life?
Yes, definitely. It is when I learned about my history. Knowing that my father had grown up during “The Jim Crow” era, and from a very small town outside of Little Rock Arkansas called “Tucker Plantation” and although his childhood was very different from mine (me being of mixed ethnicities: German/Irish, American Indian/Black and Choctaw, and born to a White mother and Black father) I had no real identification with racism, not in the ways my father had experienced such as “Black restrooms” and “Whites only” restrooms to “coloured drinking fountains” etc…
I grew up with a boulder of strength on my shoulders knowing where my roots come from and understanding the greatness in my bloodline.
I learned of the importance of carving a place for myself in society that bridges all of these worlds unbound by stereotypes. I learned to write poetry at age twelve, and I’d write screenplays and romance with the idea of being a thought leader in a dull world that needed more colour. I learned one of my greatest strengths in life is not my history but my future, and how I choose to paint it.
The greatest lesson of all is, my past is only a starting place. It is the birth of something that has the potential to change the world. But how I choose to create value out of what I’ve been given, and the ways in which I use these gifts to be of service to humanity is how I tap into my own greatness.
For me, it’s all about inspiration + connection + empathy + love, and without these pillars-words, there’s no meaning in life. Ja’Niya like an incredible human being and an amazing woman with a pure, deep heart, what inspirational words of wisdom you would like to share with us and to the world, for a healthier future and society?
They would have to be based around the philosophy that where we choose to place our thoughts, and the things that we focus on become the primary driver of our success.
The people that we are influenced by, the environments in which we live, and the energies that we surround ourselves with hugely impact our vibration, and it’s important to be conscientious that these things will determine our place in society. If you want to see more positive role models, then become one.
Raise the bar of your expectations of the world by using yourself, your fingerprint, and your passions as a launchpad to shift the paradigm.
We all have the capacity to be great leaders, inventors, entrepreneurs and build ethical businesses, but it takes great discipline to actualize our experiences.
Credits + captions // Ja'Niya Walker shooting:
Photography by Imane Haji / Style, Hair & Makeup by Ja’Niya Walker
> Cover photo:
Maxi Dress with multi-colour print, bell sleeves and ruffles by OTT, www.byott.com
Leather embossed initial belt by Charles and Ron, www.charlesandron.com
Snake earrings by Miranda Konstintinidou, www.mirandakonstintinidou.com
> Set of three photos: (Left) Denim cropped jacket with clear vinyl by WOW Couture, www.wowcouture.com, denim with lace detail by Fashion Nova, www.fashionnova.com, Bra by Victoria’s Secret, www.victoriassecret.com, Earrings by Iris Trends, www.iristrends.com
(Center) Patchwork denim vest by Charles and Ron, www.charlesandron.com, Denim by Sneak Peek, www.sneakpeekdenim.com, patchwork denim boots by Charles and Ron, www.charlesandron.com, choker necklace by Nice and Bella, www.niceandbella.com, cuff bracelet by Nice and Bella, www.niceandbella.com
(Right) Maxi Dress with multi-colour print, bell sleeves and ruffles by OTT, www.byott.com, Leather embossed initial belt by Charles and Ron, www.charlesandron.com, Snake earrings by Miranda Konstintinidou, www.mirandakonstintinidou.com, Leather knee-high boots by JF London, www.jflondon.net
> Closing article black and white photo: Black sequin dress with plunge neckline and flared sleeves by WOW Couture, www.wowcouture.com
Metal beaded cuff bracelets and earrings by Miranda Konstintinidou, www.mirandakonstintinidou.com