Juliana is known and loved around the Elite Office. Working and thriving in the Temporary Beauty division as a resourcer, having been poached from the fashion department within two months of her joining the Elite Team, to say she’s a go-getter somehow still doesn’t cut it. As much as we love her here, the world is poised to love her too as she introduces JPL Atelier – the womenswear line she has been developing in any spare time she has, lunch breaks included, launching this November. We sat down with Juliana to find out more about her background in fashion and her upcoming collection, and if you’re wondering how she fits in with our ‘green’ theme just wait, the answer comes in the form of plastic bottles.
Hailing from Bogota, Colombia, at age 7 Juliana found herself in the very contrasting Vancouver, Canada without a word of the local language under her belt. When asked which after school clubs she wanted to enrol in, her response was anything that did not require her to speak English. She found herself in art class, and this is where her journey into the creative world of fashion and design began. Her sketching skills excelled, along with her new found English vocabulary, and at 14 she spent the summer studying at Palazzo Spinelli in Florence, Italy. The next part of her story is a beautiful series of events that makes you question coincidence, as it was during one of her parent’s visits to Italy whilst the family were visiting Milan that Juliana found herself lost in a foreign city. Perhaps not such an issue in today’s world of technology, but this was before the proliferation of mobile devices. So, at 14, she walked into what she describes as the most beautiful black building and asked for directions, yes she speaks Italian too, to the hotel where her family were staying. Taking a shine to the already stylish young Juliana, they sent her in the right direction but not before bestowing a collection of pamphlets on her. Fast-forward and back in North America, Juliana is set to move to New York to study the very respectable subject of law at college, her parents are also moving house. As she packs up her belongings she comes across the pamphlets she received during her trip to Italy, their contents? Study information for Instituto Marangoni. This was the sign that she needed and though not quite ready to spread her wings to Europe, after applying in secret she found herself with a place at FiDM, LA to study fashion design.
Bachelor’s degree in tow, Juliana continued her studies in Paris at… Instituto Marangoni. During which time she undertook a series of internships that would have any aspiring fashionista fuming with envy. With a resume boasting Dior, Issey Miyake, Carolina Herrera, Rick Owens and even a venture into the couture world with Bouchra Jarrar, graduated and in love she utilised her English heritage and moved to London. From here her impressive curriculum vitae continued to grow across numerous aspects of the fashion industry; spending more time with Dior, moving on to Hunter, Hackett, Grieves & Hawkes, and Kent & Curwen, just listing the companies feels as though you’re somehow diminishing her wealth of accomplishments.
It was after her time at Kent & Curwen came to an end that the idea for her own label, one that had been bubbling in the background throughout her 10 years of experience working in fashion, finally got to see the light. Having already worn so many hats in the industry and with a true grip on the luxury market, it was time to do her own thing. But setting up a brand takes more than a creative flare and good business acumen. Having temped through Elite in between the afore mentioned positions, she came on board a little over a year ago. Sourcing staff by day and creating cads by night.
The name JPL Atelier makes reference to Juliana’s time working in couture in Paris and feeds into the overall concept of the brand, which is couture in its design elements but produced at a ready-to-wear level. It takes its place firmly in the Eco-Luxe fashion movement which, aside from Stella McCartney and a few fellow emerging designers, has been seriously lacking in luxury design. Through her brand, Juliana is looking to prove that beautifully crafted clothes and sustainability are not mutually exclusive categories. In her attempt to achieve this, both fabric production and garment manufacturing will take place in London, heavily reducing any carbon footprint the finished product may incur. She is a keen advocate of eco-friendly fabrics and is incorporating state of the art technology into the design process to ensure the use of natural or recycled materials throughout. Selecting her suppliers scrupulously and working closely with them through the process. Her first collection, a series of 5 intricately made, Edwardian inspired white blouses are being created solely using silk-like fibre made of recycled plastic bottles – see, we said they’d come in somewhere. This strategy will be applied to all future product developments, branching out into a new category each time.
But the sustainable element to the label does not end with the choice of materials. Rejecting the wholly unsustainable concept of fast fashion that has been dominating the industry for some time now, JPL’s drop strategy will emulate a style more characteristic of the street wear sector, carrying limited runs of each category and style, with new pieces available every 4 months following the master collection drop. These pieces are designed to be a statement. A timeless resident in your wardrobe that transcends the constant cycle of trends and will continue to make its wearer look and feel stylish regardless of season. Something we’ve seen luxury brands begin to experiment with again of late. This is exactly Juliana’s intention, citing a focus on female empowerment as another core pillar of her ethical brainchild, “I’ve thought this out down to the last thread on the last button.” And no one can deny her that. Influenced by historical costume, each era she intends to celebrate is meticulously researched and ran by one of her high-powered mentors, of which she claims several including a published fashion historian. JPL Atelier is ready to tell you a story, a journey through time and fashion, and we couldn’t be more excited, or proud of Juliana!
Pieces will be available at selected retailers, ranging from £275-£295. For updates, follow @officialjpl on Instagram.