This episode features a truly incredible woman: Taylor Jay, who has an eponymous collection of beautifully-designed, sustainable women’s clothing. She’s based in Oakland, California, and her designs are elevated, refined but relaxed, comfortable but chic.
“Urban” is not a word you would use to describe her clothing. There are no logo hoodies, no graphic t-shirts. But Taylor repeatedly came up against buyers who rejected her clothing because they said it was too urban. She quickly figured out that was code for a black fashion designer who uses black and brown models.
Racism isn’t the only adversity Taylor has faced. She suffered sexual abuse as a child and was only 14 when she gave birth to her daughter. But with the help of family and friends, she raised a beautiful girl who is now in her 20s and Taylor’s business partner. In March, they signed a lease on a space for a flagship store in Oakland.
The timing wasn’t great—the shop opened just in time to be closed by the pandemic and will remain closed for the summer. But in the meantime they’re leaning into online sales, and have curated a work-from-home collection that will be just as relevant if we ever start working in offices again.
In our conversation, Taylor shares her experience with racism in the fashion industry, how she has pivoted to stay afloat during the pandemic, sleeping in her shop post-divorce, and so much more.
Audio editing by Sofija Jovanov.
Taylor Jay on Instagram
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)