Colors change with seasons, yes of course, but in places like Uppsala, Sweden, living room wallpaper is stripped, pillows are tossed, closet hangers are cleared, and the swirled Kosta Boda glassware are pushed to the back of the cabinets making way for the seasonal hue-WHITE! I remember one fall years back, the twin sets, rugs, and paint rolled on the walls were plum. Some places in the Bayou, there are those people who prefer to wear the same faded overalls daily throughout the years, “SJU-sans rien underneath,” to go gator huntin.’ Then, there are those who realize Vans have changed their sneaker platform and find that girl clothes ‘suck.’ Most of us fall somewhere in between, somewhere in line with Jomina Joseph. I’ve been acquainted with this statuesque woman a few times before. She is solid and confident when she walks in with a for the interview today. She’s wearing a simple cotton beige dress accented with oversized gold and pearls dripping from her neck and wrist. Jomina is the go to girl if you want to be dazzling. Simply fascinating! Quite frankly, girlie girl and loving it! She’s is the latest trendsetter to top off the scene, bringing with her today a sneak preview of her Fascinator collection! Fascinators? Those captivating, conversation starting head pieces we saw at the Royal wedding.Mahalia: “How are you? I have coffee or bubbles? What are you in the mood for?” Jomina: “I’m always in the mood for bubbles.” Mahalia: “I love what you’re wearing!” I point to the gold and black swirled piece on her head. Jomina: “Thank you, I made this last night.”I invite her to sit down and get comfortable. She sits, crosses her ankles to one side, and places one hand in the other off the other side of her body, making visible the unexpected lavender polish coating her nails and on her toes peeking out from her animal print heels. She sits, poised, throughout the interview.Mahalia: “Do share, what is your brand name?” Jomina: “Jomina Paris Designs. I have a logo too that I could show you. I just got it last night.” Mahalia: “How did you get started in this?” Jomina: “Recently, I needed a change in my life, so I left my job as a case worker for personal reasons, and needed to put my imagination to great use.” Mahalia: “Was this a spin off of your educational background?” Jomina: “Not at all, my background is in marketing.”She’s a contemplator, with thoughtful pauses between questions with open and humble retorts such as, ‘oh I am new to this, so…or, I need clarification on what you mean?” She has an easy, even demeanor-one wouldn’t guess her age. She is young, as in, I could probably be her mother.Mahalia: “I’ve noticed you’ve done some modeling, have you always been into fashion?” Jomina: “I’ve always enjoyed fashion. But, with that, someone just came up to me, asked, and I said, ‘yeah!’” Mahalia: “What was your ‘aha’ moment?” Jomina: “When I saw my logo. I mean, I knew I was pursuing this and had some pieces finished, but when I saw my logo…” she pauses reflectively, “it was very much me.” Mahalia: “I hear you will be traveling to London soon, tell me about that trip, what is the purpose?” Jomina: She laughs, and flicks her wrist before settling back into the other palm. “I’m actually helping a friend move and the trip was planned since November. I will use the trip to visit hat makers, some designers and attend a fashion show if I can.” Mahalia: “Who are your favorite top five designers?” Jomina? “This is a hard question. I like Chanel, but vintage Chanel. Yves St. Laurent, Philip Tracey, Ralph Lauren-I just like that all American, tweed, preppy look. Oh, and Alexander McQueen-he just understood a woman’s body.” Mahalia: “I totally agree. I loved Mr. McQueen. Do you follow seasonal color palettes or do you go with what inspires you?” Jomina: “What inspires me. Maybe in the future I will go by a seasonal palette, but I can’t really draw, so I need to be hands on with my projects and go with what I feel.” Mahalia: “What does inspire you?” Jomina: “Nature. Colors of the rainbow have such special effects. They speak to you.” Mahalia: “Am I to assume you take on custom orders for the ladies who have the fabulous luncheon or church function to attend?” Jomina: “Yes, custom orders for now. I do have a few pret-a-porter pieces. Women and men, hey you never know, all want to be unique, so customizing their own pieces allows them to do that.” Mahalia: “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Jomina: “First,” she holds her finger up, “I want to say in the next two years I want to see Michelle Obama wearing one of my hats at her husband’s second inauguration-yes, I will put that on the record. I’m looking into the Kentucky Derby for next year. I want to be established. I don’t want a brick and mortar store, but I want my website up and running. Be out there,” she pauses, “established.” Mahalia: “I understand it’s your birthday today, how will you celebrate?” Jomina: “It’s tomorrow. I’m trying to keep it simple with friends and great people in my life.” Mahalia: “May I ask your age?” Jomina: “Since we’re among ladies,” she laughs, “twenty-four. Next year is the quarter century birthday, so this year will be simple.” Mahalia: “Oh gosh, I can be your mother! So why do you want women to wear your Fascinators? Are you trying to bring elegance back? What message are you trying to convey?” Jomina: “I want women to wear my hats and feel confident. Be trendsetters. Whatever you have on your head represents you. I want people to express themselves and feel empowered.” Mahalia: “Well, thank you Jomina for your time. May I peek at your other pieces and take a few shots? Where can someone reach you?” Jomina: “Well, my cell number is 786-487-3001 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
about the author
Mahalia Solages is the author of two children’s picture books. Her fiction has appeared at WritingRaw, WWOHD and she contributes regularly to Haitianista. Upcoming projects include a story in an anthology, and a story in L4K. Her ongoing projects include two women’s fiction novels, and a middle grade novel. Mahalia received her degree at the New York School of Interior Design, attended FIT and FIU, worked as a flight attendant for over a decade, became a pilot and a Flight Instructor. She settled into the literary world and creative writing via various courses including Gotham Writers Workshop, New York.Mahalia continues her life in Florida with her family and roommates Misha and Mr. Nelson—the cats.