IKEMEN #36: Jérôme LaMaar

November 27, 2017 12:00 PM

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang

"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"

Name: Jérôme LaMaar

Occupation: "Cultivator of Culture"

 

Jérôme LaMaar's INTERVIEW

Jérôme LaMaar is the founder of the 9J boutique, has a fashion label 5:31 Jérôme, and even dabbles in music under the moniker DJ Jreamer. This fall, the up-and-coming creative graced the cover of the New York Times Style section with high hopes of shedding light on the beauty of the Bronx and inspiring his peers to feel empowered through creativity. TWELV sat down with LaMaar to discuss his roots, his ambitions, and some of the exciting things on the horizon for the self-proclaimed “cultivator of culture.”

  

You’re involved in so many different endeavors! How would you describe your occupation?

I’m a cultivator of culture! From owning a retail store, to being able to do fashion and working with designers, I think it’s important to cultivate as a person, and to cultivate different people, cultivate concept, color, everything! Tell a story! Cultivate!

What brought about your interest in design?

It started when I was a kid. My grandma, who has passed away, was the most stylish, and my granddad too; I still own a lot of his old pieces. A lot of my style comes from my grandparents and my parents. And I think that’s how I discovered that fashion can really, really work for me. I think around age 8 or 9, I really starting pursuing it, but it was before then– like 5 years old– when I saw this movie called “The Wiz” with Diana Ross. I didn’t really care about the storyline itself, it was more about the power of the wizard, and how he was telling people what colors are in, how the music changes, and he was basically showing people how to live, and I like that idea.

You often wear a lot of kimonos and garments inspired by the silhouette. What inspires you?

I love Japanese culture! When I was in Japan, the people were so welcoming toward my sense of style. And I also love hip-hop, so between the two of them, they create me! I grew up watching some really cool music videos on BET and MTV. Seeing great visuals from Puff Daddy, Missy Elliot, Jay Z, Beyoncé. The way they created those music videos back in the day was really cool, and it inspired me a lot. Also, I’m from the Bronx, so it’s a cool twist.

Does the Bronx have a lot of influence on your designs?

Absolutely! I call my look “South Bronx Luxe” and it describes the way I see myself, the way I carry myself, the way I design and decorate. It all describes this idea of what luxury could be in the Bronx and I think I’m a representation of that. 

Do you think the Bronx is changing?

Yes, definitely. The Bronx will be changing very very soon. After I got the New York Times cover, I realized it’s going to really shift everything. Lots of new developments are happening, lots of people are moving here, and my space lends itself to this change.

If you weren’t working in fashion, what might you be doing?

I feel like whatever I do, I’ll be good at it as long as my heart’s in it. I got into Brown University to study physics, so I love the idea of the universe. I think that’s what makes me happy. Maybe if I didn’t do fashion, I’d be doing philosophy. I love philosophy. I love physics. I think I use them everyday.

So why did you decide to change course after college?

When I was taking courses for the summer program in college, I realized how boring it was; I wasn’t stimulated. And I was already working at Baby Phat before I got into college which basically started my whole career. I figured, why change it when I’m already building something cool and new for myself. Fashion kept growing and my career kept blossoming. Of course, it’s hard to find really good or fun jobs, so why not start from the beginning and do what you love? Even sometimes I don’t have money, but I wake up and I know I love what I’m doing. I think if you keep making new ideas and pushing things forward, you will always create your own universe.

When did you decide to open your own store, 9J in the Bronx?

In 2015, I started to build out the store, and we opened by April 2016. And it was a perfect timing because I was ready for something new, and I was ready to show my perspective on retail and create an environment where other creatives can come hang out and work. It just made total sense for me.

What about your new career, DJ Jreamer?

Grandmaster Caz who is really well-known in hip-hop became my DJ mentor. And he showed me some cool ideas, techniques, and some great music which inspired me to keep going as a DJ. First, it was just a hobby. I started last year in Art Basel. I didn’t realize that I loved playing music so much, and people kept saying how great it was, so I thought maybe I should pursue DJing on the side. Recently, I did Jonathan Adler for fashion week which was great, and there’s other things popping up now. It’s kind of showing this idea that you can do it if you really want to.

As a fashion designer, what is your proudest accomplishment?

I think my best accomplishment was– I did Beyoncé, I did Rihanna– but the best was being on the cover of the New York Times for Thursday Style. I think that was the best because it showcased my world of The Bronx and that’s all I’ve always done. I’ve done everything to shine a light on what’s happening in the Bronx and how beautiful it is.

How do you see 5:31 Jérôme growing in the next 5 or 10 years?

In 5 years, hopefully the store and the brand will be significant. Hopefully, I can have more people working for me and other shops around the world. In 10 years, I want to eventually create some kind of design or creative incubator to use all the resources to empower the next generation to be creative and to be free, because sometimes we’re stuck in norms and we can’t be free. So, hopefully I can empower some people… and travel a lot!

Is there anything else exciting that you’re working on?

For now, I’m going to focus on skincare, beauty and fragrance. I think beauty and skincare will be the next chapter for me, for guys and girls.

Is there anything about yourself that people might find surprising?

Well, the funny thing about me is that I’m actually quite shy. I’m a Gemini, so I can be two people. I’m very introverted, I’m pensive, and I like to be by myself, but who I am as a person doesn’t really allow that. So, I’m larger than life! People who know me know that I just want to be by myself. I don’t go out, I don’t go party, but sometimes I pull out the other person so I can be out and can be seen. I pull strength out of my shyness to become the life of the party. But it’s hard sometimes. I’m very shy!

Do you have any advice for other young creatives?

Having ambition is attractive. That’s so important. I think sacrifice always pays off, and I know if you visualize what you really want, it will always come to you. 

What is your life-long dream?

Wow, it’s deep! My life-long dream is to create balance in the world. Everyone deserves opportunity. Everyone deserves freedom. Everyone deserves to be loved. There is so much hate in the world that we forget we’re all the same race, the human race. If we don’t learn to empower and support one another, it’s going to continue to be a disastrous planet. We all want the same things. I think that’s my big purpose– to show that hard work and being kind to people– it’ll really achieve a lot.

 

 

INTERVIEW BY YU WATANABE

EDITED BY HOLLIS DE LANEY

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: CHIAKI KATO

 

related posts

Silvia Mella (right) with Thomas De Bruyne for "House of Molteni"

Branding in the Worlds of Art and Commerce According to Silvia Mella

Branding is everything. For an entrepreneur, it is the difference between viability and bankruptcy. On social media, we are all our own brands.

May 21, 2018 4:00 PM  |  People
Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker. Video Still.

Interview: Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker

TWELV sat down with Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker, in the brand’s New York City...

May 21, 2018 2:00 PM  |  People
Krystal and Marilyn Lavoie

New Type #31: Angela Mitchell – Krystal and Marilyn Lavoie Interview

We are living in the age of fast fashion, and even Europe’s most storied luxury brands have been moving their factories to Asia to reduce costs.

May 17, 2018 3:00 PM  |  People

Ikemen #37: Dominik Halas

Helmut Lang rang in the new year with an unseen Re-Edition campaign and collaboration with Photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek (of the ...

May 03, 2018 12:00 PM  |  People
Bianca Allen, Carolina Sarria, and Samantha Deller

New Type #30: Carolina Sarria & Bianca Allen Interview

Both Carolina Sarria and Bianca Allen knew they wanted to become fashion designers from a young age.

April 16, 2018 5:00 PM  |  People

Interview & Backstage: Christian Siriano Celebrates 10 Years in Fashion

After the successful launch of his book Dresses to Dream About, a decade-anniversary celebration on the runway, and a whirlwind of striking celebrity looks on the red carpet of...

March 09, 2018 11:00 AM  |  People
Jackie Astier. Photo: BFA.

New Type #29: Jackie Astier Interview

Astier places its identity within the advanced adaptation skills of the modern New York woman.

February 24, 2018 11:00 AM  |  People

INTERVIEW: Meet Kiko Arai, Miss Japan-turned Face of Balmain and Zara

Kiko Arai hails from Osaka, Japan, and after winning the title of Miss Japan 2012, the now 27-year old is captivating a new audience– the fashion world.

February 06, 2018 12:11 AM  |  People

Interview: Parisian Designer Frédéric Robert's Debut Shoe Collection "ME.LAND"

A vibrant brand of Italian-made shoes for men is emerging this year as one-to-watch.

January 26, 2018 10:00 AM  |  People
Maxime Tiliouine and Quentin Hernandez

New Type #28: the Design Duo Behind Maxime Hernandez Interview

The streetwear phenomenon in the fashion establishment is not slowing down anytime soon.

January 12, 2018 2:00 PM  |  People

MICHEL NAFZIGER INTERVIEW

With a wealth of experience shooting some for some of fashion's most renowned clients (Yves Saint Laurent, Guy Laroche), ...

December 29, 2017 2:00 PM  |  People

IKEMEN #36: Jérôme LaMaar

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang

"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"

November 27, 2017 12:00 PM  |  People
Alcone Backstage Set Designed by Roger Padilha. Photo: Santiago Felipe.

Alcone 65th Anniversary @Capitale: Interview with CEO Maria Stewart

No make-up company has a more storied history firmly ensconced in New York showbiz.

November 13, 2017 4:00 PM  |  People

Ikemen #35: Zaher Saleh

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang

"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"

October 31, 2017 5:00 PM  |  People
Keith Kattner

Interview: Neurosurgeon-turned-Artist Keith Kattner on the Surgery of Classical Painting

Dr. Keith Kattner does not have the typical background one would expect of a successful neurosurgeon.

October 25, 2017 4:00 PM  |  People

New Type #27: Nika Tang Interview

San Fransisco-based designer Nika Tang has emerged as boldly committed to her ideology as to her pieces. Her namesake brand centers...

October 06, 2017 11:00 AM  |  People

TWELV ARCHIVE JOE McKenna INTERVIEW "Call Me Joe"

CALL ME JOE

October 04, 2017 4:00 PM  |  People

Interview: Becky Donnelly's Fashion Creatures

Quirky girl from Dublin with a penchant for drawing fantasy creatures relocates to London after art school.

October 02, 2017 12:00 PM  |  People

New Type #26: Herman – Raif Adelberg Interview

Authenticity.

September 29, 2017 11:00 AM  |  People
Brooke Candy & Kaimin. Photo: Mark Hunter

Kaimin Interview & S/S18 "Slut from the Future" Presentation @ the Top of the Standard

Pulsing with a heavy beat and hazy with a deep rouge glow, the Top of the Standard is as glamorous a place to be as ever. And tonight it is packed with partygoers.

September 28, 2017 10:00 AM  |  People

Yasmina Alaoui Interview & Opera Gallery Exhibition

Yasmina Alaoui burst onto the international arts scene in 2003 with "Tales of Beauty," a collection of nude...

September 11, 2017 5:00 PM  |  People
Søren Solkær

Søren Solkær Interview

Stepping out of a cab into the urban symphony of Midtown, the entryway to The Quin Hotel was easy to spot— with classic architecture and...

September 11, 2017 10:00 AM  |  People

Kyra Ross of Mona Liza Studios Interview

TWELV sat down with the charismatic Kyra Ross, founder of Mona Liza Studios which falls under his larger moniker "...

August 28, 2017 11:00 AM  |  People
Photo by Giorgio Codazzi for Gioia Magazine

Ira Sumbaeva Interview

TWELV sits down with model Ira Sumbaeva to give a glimpse into the story of the cutest Belarusian...

August 25, 2017 8:00 AM  |  People

Benjamin Shine Interview: Master of Tulle

Benjamin Shine is an award-winning international artist whose work stretches across industries from fashion...

August 16, 2017 4:00 PM  |  People
Sarah LeBlanc

New Type #25: Mémère – Sarah LeBlanc Interview

Upon arriving to the Mémère studio, it felt like stepping from the bustle of New York City...

July 26, 2017 10:00 AM  |  People

NEW TYPE #24: JOHNA STONE INTERVIEW

July 21, 2017 11:00 AM  |  People

IKEMEN #34: GABRIEL LIBERTY

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang

"REALLY, REALLY, RIDICULOUSLY GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE"

July 03, 2017 3:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #23: ANE AMOUR – IYALA ANNE INTERVIEW

“Introducing a talented designer giving sophisticated femininity an edge”

June 23, 2017 1:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #22: Allina Liu INTERVIEW

Born and raised in New York City– we could also add, "in love with”– Allina Liu is a refreshing womenswear designer, who questions the...

June 14, 2017 2:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #21: Kendall Miles INTERVIEW

“My passion is shoes. Kendall Miles shoes are beautiful, alluring and handcrafted in Italy: the perfect pair for the woman who knows who she is and where she wants to go.”

May 23, 2017 3:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #20: Shahista Lalani INTERVIEW

"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."

February 03, 2017 3:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #19: PAMPLEMOUSSE - Danica Zheng Interview

“Introducing a dedicated, innovative designer to awaken every woman’s inner voice.”

January 10, 2017 10:00 AM  |  People
Shot by Bernadette Baksa

NEW TYPE #18: BOOM DONE SHOP - LIAM BERGIN INTERVIEW

“Introducing the new hot British ethical apparel brand BOOM DONE SHOP” 

December 02, 2016 10:00 AM  |  People

NEW TYPE #17: NAMILA - NAN LI AND EMILIA PFOHL INTERVIEW

NAMILIA was founded in 2015 by Berlin based designers Nan Li and Emilia Pfohl. The duo met while attending University of the Arts Berlin.

November 29, 2016 2:00 PM  |  People

Isabel Dupre Interview

Isabel Dupre Interview is now available!

Check inside for the Full Page Interview.

October 13, 2016 3:00 PM  |  People

Pages

SITE BY: monocomplex©Marbles & Marbles International Inc. Drupal Development by: DivDiv, NYC
▲ back to top ▲