January 7, 2010
By Sheryl Blasnik

Jess Zaino

Jess Zaino is an emerging force in the world of fashion styling.  She is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable faces on the New York and LA fashion scene. This twenty-something year old co-hosts Style Network’s Modern Girls Guide to Life and is a regular contributor to Fashion Week coverage for E! Entertainment. Jess also has appearances on Style’s How Do I Look, The Look for Less, and Style Court.  In addition she was a contestant on the VH1 reality hit show Glam God with Vivica A. Fox.

I recently sat down with Jess to ask her some questions and see what it takes to break into the world of fashion and on-air styling. Here is what Jess had to say.

When did you first realize you were destined to work in fashion?

I was co-hosting a music television show in New York. I was making the tee-shirts and a lot of my wardrobe, too! When people starting responding to my designs and style, I naturally gravitated toward the industry.

Where did you go to school?

Hunter College on 68th and Lex in NYC. For film.

Any additional training?

For fashion, its the school of life for me!

Who did you intern with?

I jumped right into it as a stylist / designer for Kelly Osbourne

Who do you credit for “mentoring” you?

Style wise? It would have to be Finola Hughes, host of Style Network’s How Do I Look?

Who do you feel gave you your first “big break” that contributed to your success?

Kelly Osbourne.

What was your experience like being on the reality TV show GLAM GOD? Do you feel it helped in any way to advance your styling career? If so, how? Is this an experience you would recommend to other budding Stylists?

It helped my styling as it gave me tips and tricks I didn’t know about like using a maxi-pad to stuff a bra or make a hat fit more snug. While it was seemingly glamourous being on television with celebrities, it was very difficult both physically and mentally.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

The past. I love films and photo books from previous decades. New York City is a big inspiration as is seeing someone else’s art which inspires me to go outside of the box like Lady Gaga.

Who/What is your muse?

My sister, Cailtin. She lives in Geneva, Switzerland and is the smartest, most stylish girl I know. She inspires me to push myself beyond my own limits and our brainstorming sessions are a big part of my art. Also, my boyfriend., Majed. He is seriously hot.

What magazines do you scour for inspiration?

Vanity Fair – the artists they use are incomparable and the stories are always right on trend and intellectually stimulating in an artistic way. Vogue. Old issues of Domino. The New York Times Sunday Style Mag. And of course, I check out the rags like Star Magazine to see who is wearing what on the red carpet.

What Winter 2010 trend are you loving most?

I love Menswear for women. And in no particular order – Lace stockings. Over the knee boots and Military-style Overcoats, Long Black Leather Gloves and Faux-Fur Earmuffs for Winter in New York.

What trend should be banned forever?

Uggs. Ug.

What is in your closet now that you can’t live without?

My Uniqlo Jeans. They are a perfect fit and fabric. I am a superfan of the brand.

Which Fashion Designers do you admire most?

The House of Lanvin, The House of Chanel, I love Shoshanna! And Moschino. A dash of classic with a ton of playfulness.

Which shoe / accessory Designer(s) do you love?

Christian Louboutin, of course! And Kate Spade for classic accessories.

What do you think of Rachel Zoe and her TV show?

I like to watch it when I can. You actually learn something. And while she may not seem “real” all of the time, she created her own life and that should be applauded.

What would you define as your “Signature Style/Look”?

For myself right now I am trying out a Barbarella-inspired punk look complete with skinny black jeans, Chuck Taylors and hoop earrings. Lots of sexy bed-head and swoopy eyeliner. On clients, I work to create a classic American foundation with a New York City edge.

How would you describe your personality type?

A LOT of people use the word ‘Spunky’ to describe me. I would say open and enthusiastic.

Which hi-profile clients have you most enjoyed working with?

Jennifer Tilly is a dream.

What has been your favorite “gig” so far?

I did a tour with Nordstrom where I traveled to their national stores and spoke to an audience of 200+ woman on the accessory trends of the season. It was an incredible experience and they are a class act brand.

What celebrity would win “BEST DRESSED” in 2009?

I am always obsessed with Kate Moss.

Who would you most like to dress?

Tina Fey.

Who would you most like to “lunch” with dead or alive?

Ben Franklin. He was a smarty-pants quirkster.

What is on your IPOD?

Lady Gaga for the gym.

What is on your TIVO/DVR?

Curb Your Enthusiasm. 30 Rock. The Golden Girls.

What are you working on now?

I am consulting with a new menswear line, KSINO(.com), I am writing a style book for the GenY audience, I am working on designing My Boyfriend Shirt(.com), I am writing beauty reviews at StyleCaster and I am doing designer re-sale of celebrity items at A-Red-Carpet-Life.com

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

Overseeing the global brand – Jess Zaino Worldwide, Inc. And eventually moving into directing and producing culturally inspired films and projects

What would be the best advice you would offer to Stylists trying to break into the industry?

Get your materials together – a portfolio, website, etc. Know your signature style and what you’ll bring to each job that is different from the others. Keep up on trends that are emerging, look to the past for your own creations. Stay focused, persistent and open to success AND failure. Never give up!


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  1. Christine Auda on January 10, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Enjoyed this…nice job!

  2. InCog on January 13, 2010 at 2:38 AM

    I believe that one day soon, Jess Zaino will rule the world!

  3. come get up close & personal : Jess Zaino on February 15, 2013 at 5:49 AM

    […] a fun interview with yours truly. […]

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