[INTERVIEW] Designer Jason Vincent Piperno of JVP Melbourne
Some people find it amazing what a single person can do once he becomes inspired. I am one of them. In the mind of Jason Vincent Piperno, Australia was lacking unique pieces of clothing, so he decided to become the change he wanted to see. He’s been working hard for his label, building a name for his city of Melbourne, Austraila. The proof is in the pudding. He’s defiantly one stylish man and the rest of the world agrees with him. You can spot any of his pieces from rapper The Game, R&B singer Guy Sebastian, to Omarion. He’s very friendly and was nice enough to slide on through and drop off a few keys on how he got his business together.
“I guess designing clothing has always been a dream of mine, so I chased it, did the research and put in the hard work learning to create.”
Did you always know you wanted to design clothing? When did your love for fashion first peak?
I always had passion for fashion since I was young. It’s funny because even before I was a teenager I learned how to stencil and print onto fabric with screens and paint and I was designing prints for clothing. Later on after university, where I studied graphic design, I realised that my love for fashion was something I wanted to make a career out of. I guess designing clothing has always been a dream of mine, so I chased it, did the research and put it the hard work learning to create.
Do you remember a specific moment when you knew JVP Melbourne was going to be a success and would flourish to what it is now?
I already had quite a decent sized network of fashion related people around the globe before finishing my first designs, but there was still that voice in my head wondering if it would go well. When I dropped the first designs for the label and they sold out overnight was a great reassurance and an amazing feeling I guess. After all these years and all the progress, I still feel like there is a lot more I want to improve on and a lot more progress to come, so success for me is a bit of journey in itself.
What inspires your different collections? My favorites are the Rose and Intervention Collections.
My collections are inspired by art and culture. Just things that I think are cool, or things that I can create and really want to work with. The rose collection has a lot of a tattoo kind of influence in the way that it is used. I always wanted to design artistically and do something a little bit different.
Walk me through the process of bringing your designs to life on a shirt or hoodie?
So with my prints, the process starts with an idea. I create the artwork or sample and manipulate an artwork and think about how I can incorporate it into a garment. I try and mock up what I think it will look like to get the vision happening. Next, I have to source a nice fabric that’s going to work with the printing process and look great as a garment. Next is figuring out the shape and cut of the garment, how it’s going to sit on someone. Working closely with a pattern maker we come up with the shape (pattern) and have it sampled (often several times) to make sure it’s looking good. Then with our printers, we can print the fabric with the design and cut and sewn into a finished garment, all Australian made.
“I still remember the moment, I was out with friends at the time having dinner/drinks so I wasn’t even watching the show, but I started getting texts and screenshots sent to me.”
How did you even begin getting the GENESIS sneaker together? They are fire!
Thank you! Well, I approached a friend of mine who is a travelling product designer and Specialist in footwear, Funfere Koroye, to come up with a design we could work with. We tweaked and tailored the design to my likings and sourced a factory who specialise in footwear to help create the vision with some Italian leather colors I picked. Then I designed the unique clear box packaging and other touches to make the product a complete creation for JVP Melbourne.
I can’t help but, compare a few of your pieces to Marcelo Burlon. That’s what caught my eye. JVP Melbourne is the perfect mash of what consumers may already be used to with its own originality. Is he a designer you look up to?
I found out about Marcelo Burlon after I had released a few designs and other people were saying that they saw some similarities too, and I guess it’s definitely true. He’s got some unique designs and his progress has been huge so I definitely look up to him and congratulate him. It’s inspiring to watch.
Who was the first celebrity to wear your designs and what were you doing when you found out they were in your clothing? Like, explain the moment and your emotions.
I’m pretty sure one of the first was Guy Sebastian, an Australian R&B singer. He was a judge on XFactor Australia at the time and his stylist emailed me that day saying he was about to go Live on the semi-finals show wearing one of my designs. I still remember the moment, I was out with friends at the time having dinner/drinks so I wasn’t even watching the show, but I started getting texts and screenshots sent to me. The dinner definitely turned into a celebration. It was a great feeling to have my designs worn in front of millions of viewers and have my brand credited on the show by a great celebrity. Guy ended up wearing another one of my designs on the next finale show and even wore another one of my designs in his video clip with 2 Chainz for the song “Mama Ain’t Proud”. I’m always really grateful when someone like that shows true appreciation for the designs.
What has been you biggest hardship thus far with the brand and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure if they’re hardships, but it’s obviously a lot of hard work. It takes time. It takes a lot of effort, especially when you’re trying to constantly step the game up each time. There’s a lot of people out there and stores who copy designs and rip off your creation, which can be very damaging and sometimes there’s not a lot you can do about it but keep about your business and do your thing better. And then you have to hold the attention of people and not get lost out in the swarm of products constantly getting thrown out to them, and make sure they know the high standard that they’re getting when they invest in your design, and that they’re investing in time, effort, passion and real creation.
What kept you motivated to keep going and not give up during difficult times?
I always try and stay inspired and motivate myself. My passion for this industry is strong and the lack of quality and unique creations from Australia makes me want to keep creating and building a name for Melbourne. The worldwide customer base is always a motivation for me, having customers from countries all around the world (sometimes countries I’ve never heard of) is truly a blessing and I’m grateful for that. It’s definitely motivating to see the support of people out there and I’m constantly wanting to improve and create an experience for the customers with every product. The attention to detail and luxury in our packaging of our products is something that’s very important to me also for this reason.
When you were in the beginning stages of building your business, how were you going about it? Like what were your first couple steps?
Just like many things JVP Melbourne was started small with humble beginnings and is a journey of progression as it goes. When I had learned a little bit about fashion and was ready to start creating I got a very good friend as a business partner on board and set up the business the right way. As we keep going we get smarter and keep building the business as much as possible.
“I always try and stay inspired and motivate myself.”
What do you plan on accomplishing within the next year?
There’s a lot of things I want to accomplish. I want to keep working on more luxury leather goods and also add a lot more accessories and smaller things that the customers love. A lot of new pieces are being worked on and just take the time to perfect. I want to work with some suede leather also and create some nice colorways of hats and even men’s boots. I definitely want to keep creating more womenswear products and designs and also work with a lot more artists and celebrities who appreciate the designs. I guess the possibilities are endless so definitely keep an eye out for the progression of the label.