Name: Jontea’ Luckett
Profession/title: Business Owner, Fashion Designer
Name of Company: Page 27 Showroom, Katie Robert Clothing
Hometown: Canton, MS
When thinking of fashion one’s mind automatically goes to fashion capitals such New York, Paris, and Milan. Very rarely, if ever does Mississippi come to mind. But with the rise of entertainers, celebrity photographers and stylists such as David Banner, Derek Blanks and J`Bolin, Mississippi is slowly, but surely making its mark on the fashion industry.
The time couldn’t have been better for Jontea` Luckett to move back to her home state and open the doors to Page 27 Showroom and introduce the Katie Robert Clothing Collection. “I believe that fashion is the beginning of something greater for the state of Mississippi,” said the 28 year-old Canton native. “Not just from myself, but for others that walk similar paths as myself.”
Glamorous though it appears, creating a successful clothing line or a career in fashion is no easy feat. There’s the practicality of having a sense of fashion and being creative, but then there’s another skill set that separates the legends who create to withstand the change of times from the good designers whose creations are hot for the season.
For Luckett, fashion did come naturally, but she wanted to know more about the industry and how to have a successful career.
“I was always told that you could look at the natural talents of your parents and know what talents have been naturally given to you,” Luckett said. “ Majority of my life, I’ve been a musician. I started as a music education major in college and realized after my freshman year that I wasn’t happy with the career path that I chose. So, I looked at the talents that were naturally given to my mother, who is an amazing designer and seamstress, prayed for direction, changed my major to fashion merchandising.”
Since making that change Luckett has never looked back. After receiving a fashion merchandising degree from Mississippi State University, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a graduate degree in apparel manufacturing from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). Determined to learn the ins and outs of the industry, Luckett worked professionally in the fashion industry as a designer and buyer for several years. “That helped me to understand what it takes to build a fashion company, how to operate it, and the level of dedication it takes from a team of people, not just one individual, to be successful,” she recalls.
In 2008 Luckett launched the Katie Robert Clothing Collection, a women’s apparel line. The label has been sold throughout the U.S. and to several clothing stores. She describes Katie Robert as “ classy yet sexy… innovative but marketable. I’m not your cookie-cutter designer.”
While she makes walking away from a secure job with a major fashion company sound easy, it has had its challenges. “There have been some sleepless nights, hours of dedication, and hard work. But it excites me when I see a client’s positive reaction to what I’ve designed. Or, when I walk into a store and I see my collection hanging on the rack and a customer purchases it. I especially love it when my design evolves from a sketch, to pattern, to sewing, then finally a finished look.”
As Luckett prepares to turn the next page of her career, she doesn’t do so without offering a word of advice. “A teacher is a great teacher when constantly learning. For anyone to be great at anything there has to be a level of knowledge and understanding of what it takes in order for greatness to occur. Knowledge and understanding is not a choice when you want to be great, it’s a must.”