Jacquelyne Craig Talks Fashion Production And The Vibrant Arts Community In St. Louis
Chances are if you have been to an independent fashion show or visited the vibrant roster of art galleries in Old North, you have run into Jacquelyne Craig, one of the leaders in the St. Louis arts community who is playing a big role in the empowerment of emerging artists and designers.
Her production company, BLAQ Séance, produces fashion shows that feature under-the-radar, up-and-coming talent (like her next showcase, which takes place on July 23) as well as the First Friday Art Walks in North St. Louis along the revived 14th Street development adjacent to Crown Candy. The busy mother of three seems to be everywhere at once, so we were eager to sit down with her to hear about her journey and passion for empowering the creative St. Louis community and beyond.
What inspired you to create BLAQ Séance and put on events around the St. Louis area?
When in college I took up fashion design—which soon I found out not to be my lane in the fashion industry after barely passing my design classes at Lindenwood University. But my professor suggested I look into fashion production and marketing. I was always good at helping put together the productions and market them. At that time, I didn’t realize how that passion was me developing my essential purpose for the rest of my life.
How do you decide what designers and talent to feature in your productions?
I usually think around the concept of the production and scout designers throughout the city. I may have a designer call, but I like to personally research them myself and reach out.
How do you hope your events will help progress the growth of the arts and fashion community in St. Louis?
My purpose with BLAQ Séance is to create a solid foundation for local designers to spiral off globally in giving their designs essential exposure to possible buyers and more. I want to help elevate their craft and creativity. Taking design classes and being a hands-on witness to that kind of creativity and hard work allowed me to understand what it really takes to be a designer and understand that their perspective is far deeper then just sewing clothing. It’s a lifestyle for them. They will lock themselves in the studio for hours and hours forgetting to eat or drink because they were so full of creating and perfecting what they were creating.
How do you balance your life as a mom and your career in the arts?
To be honest, when you become a mother you become almost immortal—sometimes I honestly don’t know how I’m able to manage so many different tasks all at one time. But passion drives me.
What are a few of your favorite event series in STL that highlight local artists and designers?
Of course, my other brand—along with an amazing team ARTC—hosts First Friday Art Walks in Old North every first Friday of each month. September will be our one-year anniversary, so big plans are in store for that. Saint Louis Fashion Week and Lindenwood University productions are always lavish, as well as the different art exhibits at Urb Arts, CAM, Zuka Gallery, Mad Art Gallery, SOHA Gallery and many more.
In your opinion, what is the best way for people to support the arts in St. Louis?
Come out to the events and connect with amazing people! The energy and love is abound.
Support Craig and an impressive group of local talent at their next fashion production, Three Pentacles Fall 2016, which will take place on July 23 at 6pm. The show will be held at Old Post Office Plaza in Downtown St. Louis, and will feature collections by Afton Johnson, Marcel Coleman Jr. and Ron Lewis, as well as a visual art exhibit by Vaughn Davis and Sean Peterman. Tickets available on the web.