Chenique Jones: Cut out for couture
When Chenique Jones designs a garment for you, your body becomes the canvas.
The artist looks beyond societal pressures and image issues and focuses on highlighting the beauty of your body, regardless of shape or size.
“A woman’s body to me is very beautiful,” she told EASY magazine. “When you look at a female’s figure, doesn’t matter the shape or size, there is something beautiful about it. And this is something I learnt at school. It is your canvas and there is a level of appreciation for it.
“A lot of body shaming comes from society. Women may choose to hide their bodies because of what the public may think and I don’t ascribe to that. So when I design and make pieces for women, I like to make them look flattering and highlight the features of their figure to make them confident.”
Chenique recently graduated from the London College of Fashion with first class honours. She specialises in swimwear and lingerie design and construction. The name of her lingerie line is called Roséauxx and her swimwear line is called J’ainique Couture.
This fashion diva, who pays extra attention to design quality in her work, was convinced she was destined to be a paediatrician while attending secondary school. Although she had a keen interest in pageantry, won Best Design Miss Fashion Intellectual 2011 in one of the beauty shows she competed in and debuted her swimwear line at BMEX 2012, she strongly believed her professional career would have been grounded in paediatrics.
“When I used to model and did pageantry at Combermere, I didn’t know I actually wanted to pursue a career in design until I started. Fashion started off as being a side thing, but it became something I fell in love with.”
How did you learn to sew?
My mother had a sewing machine in a barrel and my friend and I took it out and set it up using YouTube videos as a guide. We had no idea what we were doing, but we attempted to do something. My first garment was a netball skirt and though I was proud when I made it and posted a picture on Facebook, let’s just say that would never see the light of day again.
When did your love for fashion develop?
“I didn’t do art at school but I liked drawing. I didn’t want to buy clothes in town because I didn’t want to wear the same clothing as other people. So I would draw things and get someone to make them. But then over time, I wanted to learn how to make clothing for myself and I got really interested in making swimsuits when I was 18 years old. Two designers, Carla Layne and Angela Goring, took me under their wings and taught me the ropes and I became confident enough to enter BMEX.”
Did your parents support your profession change?
My parents are very supportive of me. They told me that if I believed in something and gave it my all they would support me. But my support system is far and wide. Family members and friends have been pushing me from the beginning. At school, my teacher told me my career would be in fashion and that I would not be a paediatrician. So when I decided I wanted to do fashion and I told her, she was like ‘I knew this, I was just waiting for you to catch up’. So I guess people see strengths you may not see in yourself.”
How would you describe your designs?
“During my experience in London, I took a lot of my inspiration from Barbados. I liked to play on things from our history. Over time, my design concepts broadened and I liked playing with prints, and recently I started creating my own prints.
I describe my work as very chic, it can be seductive at times but obviously, that is the vision for lingerie pieces. But I try to make it classy because there are lines that can be drawn and I don’t want to cross them.
When it comes to swimwear, I like to be edgy and incorporate different textures of mesh and play with bigger holes and or smaller holes and bounce them off of each other.”
Is it easy to draw on a woman’s sex appeal when designing swimsuits and lingerie?
“Women have different shapes and sizes and I consider that in my designs. Some full figured women like to show off their curves and other assets, so I would cover the areas they may not be comfortable showing and highlight the areas they want to expose.”
“There are ways to expose without being too revealing. That is why I like using mesh and doing cut-outs. There is a lot you can do with the body; it is about embracing what you have and working with it.” (SB)