Here at Growing in Jersey City, we love strong women business owners that take initiative and share who they are with us. Joi-Louise Greenwood is one of these women. She makes clothing that is on trend, fresh, and fun. She designs for women, is proud of her Jersey City roots, and is passionate about fashion and design. What stood out to us was her dedication to helping women and being a proud example of what women can and will do. With a smile, powerful graphic tees, and knowledge she is changing the world.
We sat down with Greenwood to talk about her business, her life in Jersey City, and what is next.
Where in JC do you live now and where did you grow up?
I live in the Bergen Hill area “The Hill” just blocks away from New Jersey City University (NJCU) and I grew up one block away from NJCU on Broadman Parkway. I am still very close to my roots and have so many great memories growing up in Jersey City.
What is special about Jersey City to you?
Jersey City has so many cool sections, from downtown to Heights; you can turn any corner and be in a whole new Jersey City. I also love our diversity and how loving Jersey City is; our culture is celebratory and proud.
What are your favorite places in JC?
I love the Lincoln Park fountain. The fountain was recently renovated and it looks phenomenal. I can remember playing there as a child and it feels as though nothing has changed. I love the Loew’s Theatre in Journal Square and I can remember taking my Nana to the PATH transportation hub every evening. She worked in Manhattan and would often point out certain buildings in the area. Jersey City is a bit magical.
How did the label start?
I started designing when I was in high school. I used to watch Project Runway (we did too) and pretend to be on the show (I know right…embarrassing!). From there, design was an everyday thing - recreating pieces I bought in stores and adding or removing elements to make them my own. I created my first clothing label in 2009 called Joi-Louise Collection; it was my first stab at designing with the knowledge I received in fashion school. Today, my first collection of designs has turned into Joi-Louise The Label.
Does Jersey City inspire your fashion and design?
I think the girl that lives in Jersey City inspires my designs more so than the city itself. She’s a city girl: non-stop, fashionista with ambition and goals to achieve! She cares about how she looks but also knows she needs to be comfortable. Jersey City is colorful, historic and yet still so…now!
I love your Feminist clothes - how do you decide to do fashion or feminism?
Women are so powerful and I am so proud to be one! Fashion and feminism are one in the same for me and I wanted to celebrate female power through my clothing line. A woman can be anyone she wants to be when she dresses for it. While feminism is my way of life, I live my life, not defined by my gender, but defined by my capabilities. I also believe that I am someone who has been placed here to help all women.
I was visiting a friend in the hospital and on my way out I saw a young girl, but before I saw her, I felt her energy. I turned around to see her standing in the corner almost backed into it, like she wanted to blend in with the steel walls. The feeling was too familiar. Her shoulders were slumped over and she was looking down at the floor so as not to make eye contact with anyone. I looked at her and said “Hello.” She looked up for a moment and I saw a glimpse of a smile, but before she could respond her head went back down to the floor. My heart hurts when young women are not confident; when they can’t see their value. That is why I created Turbo Feminist. Graphic tees are an easy way to get messages across and it’s often easier to read the message than it is to listen to it.
What are the next steps for Joi Louise?
My next steps involve building awareness around my brand and creating a movement for young girls with Turbo Feminist. I see so many businesses that I am already passionate about building, I see myself forever evolving. Social media is a huge platform and for creative people it is our wind to success.
Are you purely online or can people come to your studio or find you at the markets?
Right now, I am currently only online. I would love to have a studio in the future - a place to work from - somewhere that people can not only come to look at my designs but also come out to see who I am a person. I also hope to create a positive environment for female designers that want to have a head start in the fashion world. I do attend local events and fashion markets in Jersey City, most recently was at the ChicPeaJCTurns3 event down at Harborside.
To learn more and receive current updates from the Joi-Louise The Label Brand, subscribe to her newsletter at www.JoiLouiseTheLabel.com.
Additional photos provided by Joi-Louise the Label and DailyFashionista.com