NYU look of the day: Jissa Ann Vennat

‘I’ve become a lot more comfortable with mess’

Location Chinatown

Name Jissa Ann Vennat

Age 18

School Stern

Major B.S. in Business (Finance & Marketing)

Hometown Orange County, California
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Tell me about when you first started getting into fashion

It’s been a really long time since it was an active external interest. I definitely had a few media-fueled, industry-wielded phases growing up, but I think everyone does.

I’m sure my clothes were the first thing that I felt full ownership of – before I had my own room or got to plan my own day. Even when I got hand-me-downs, once they outgrew my siblings they were mine. With ownership, comes choice. I taught myself to sew, knit, and crochet in elementary school. In that way, I could cater to my own demands and really have things that were a fit for me, in both a literal and metaphorical way.

And of course, it’s routine. I get up, get dressed, maybe twice in a day granted how often I spill things on myself, or maybe not at all for a few days if I’m pretending that it’s cute to not shower. Regardless, you get dressed a lot of times in your life and you start to develop certain patterns – whether or not you want to call that my style is a whole other concept.

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Jessica Simpson belt, Marshalls bralette

How has your style evolved since being in college and moving to New York?

I’ve become a lot more comfortable with mess. This city has a way of making you feel like you need a shower, but in the best, restless, sweaty kind of way. A little stain or a rip isn’t a big deal, and honestly, I kind of love how human an odd spot can be.

I tend to hoard a lot of old stuff, but I am more selective when purchasing new pieces in New York because real estate here doesn’t entail a lot of spare apartment space. Thrift shops here can be a real lesson in anthropology, and although they lean more towards vintage/antique store curation and higher prices than your typical small town Goodwill, it’s a lot more bang for your buck when you get to collect a little story, or a bit of character, or a fragment of time, with a thrifted garment.

If I’m home, I am probably naked; if I’m out, I am also probably kind of naked. Attire codes are only really relevant when I’m on the clock, or when New York decides she’ll burn or storm. Otherwise, I tend to reach for convenience above all else. I think I’m pretty transparent in that I tend to present myself in a manner reflective of how I’m feeling – whether I’m having a sloppy day or a neat day or am being overly dramatic.

Have you worked with anything fashion-related recently?

An old friend and I used to run an online clothing store for charity. We designed and hand-made clothing and jewelry, comprised collections into mission-focused campaigns related to local nonprofits, and sold items with proceeds benefiting those nonprofits.

I’ve also been modeling for about half a year now, and although I am aiming for more commercial work than brand work, I get to be involved with artists from a variety of creative sectors involved in fashion marketing through print and runway. The joke among my friends is that I only date artists, but there’s some truth in that I tend to connect well with creative people.

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What inspires your style? Do you follow any artists or creators?

Human experience! My experiences. Things I see, people I meet, art I admire, stories I learn, places I go, everything from casual city style to elaborate characters on the street. I don’t stay too relevant. I don’t subscribe to many contemporary influences. We’ll all be vintage one day anyway, and I’m happy to romanticize the outdated. I think I’ll appreciate the nostalgia when I’m older.

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Describe your style vibes.

A really good, bad game of dress-up. Messy.

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Repurposed waist tie as necklace

What’s your favorite piece in your current wardrobe?

A pair of old, third generation hand-me-down, high-waisted Adidas shorts that aren’t made anymore.They honestly look awful and I’m really into it.

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Hand-me-down silk slip

Do you plan to work with modeling in the future, either on the side or as a career?

It’s a hobby for me, not something I would put a long-term price tag on. Modeling has provided a great context for me to take ownership of and make choices regarding my body and its physical expression. It reminds me a lot of dance and other forms of performance art, except in a very public context.

It’s a wild concept to be able to profit off of a proprietorship of my own body, especially in an industry that holds constrictive double standards and normally would make claims of authority over a person’s body, and capitalize on it. Of course, this is most relevant for freelance work, which rarely affects signed, full-time models. For now, I feel very connected to the work, but it’s not something that I came into specifically for fashion or something that I would continue for that purpose.

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Any fashion advice you would give someone trying to grow their own personal sense of style?

It’s not the healthiest advice, but hoard! And remember that it’s all just material. If you don’t like something, alter it yourself.

Featuring @jissaann

Photography by @matthew.babcox

@ellcasado

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