• RAW Magazine

CMU alumna Shardae Jefferson "puts her stamp on the world"

Written by India Ambrose

Photographs courtesy of Shardae Jefferson

Mount Pleasant may be a small town, but many talents at one point called the city home, such as Central Michigan University alumna Shardae Jefferson. Muskegon born and Grand Rapids raised, Jefferson graduated from CMU in 2017.She is a true indicator of how hard work and dedication can shape the journey and path that one takes after graduating from college.

Photograph by Autumn Pinkley

RAW Magazine: What was your major at CMU? Why did you pick it?

Shardae Jefferson: My major was fashion merchandising and I picked it because I saw the movie, The Devil Wears Prada. I didn’t know too many others who went to school close to me. I was kind of interested in fashion, and thought I should go study this to have a more financial backing, in hopes that my life could emulate that movie.

RM: What did you want to do with your life after college while in attendance? What did you actually end up doing?

SJ: After college I wanted to move to Chicago and New York and just start working, get my feet wet first. Grand Rapids wasn’t my choice for career stuff, the city feels slow to me. My plan is to work and save money for 2-3 years max and then move. I like fast-paced environments and I am used to having to do a lot at once. But I moved to Detroit and worked as a brand rep [for Avec les Filles], but they ended their partnership. I interned at [Leighs] in college and was super cool with the owner. She had an opening, so now I am [back] in Grand Rapids as a stylist [for Leighs].

RM: What makes you dedicated to your career?

SJ: I think knowing I love what I would do potentially is what makes me dedicated. I’m not saying I’d do anything, but if I gotta work a third shift and do my freelance styling and writing during the day, I am gonna make it happen.

Photograph by Autumn Pinkley

RM: What inspiration does Grand Rapids give you for your style choices?

SJ: Grand Rapids doesn't give me any inspiration for style choices. They aren’t used to someone expressing them stylistically. They think that it is really out of the normal when I cut my hair and dyed it blonde. In Detroit, you can see more people with different hairstyles and expressions. I work around a lot of fabulous outfits and women. I know what brands I like. I see a lot of street style from Fashion Week as well.

RM: What made you start your blog? How did it turn out while being in such a small city like Mount Pleasant?

SJ: I wanted to start blogging as a senior in high school but I never had the access and resources, like a camera or a laptop. I tried to make one my sophomore year, but I didn’t have people taking my pictures or writing my posts. So I just stopped doing it randomly. Then I had to end up making this logo for my visual merchandising class [at CMU] and you had to brand yourself. That logo definitely got me into blogging again. I was far more invested in school with my blogging versus now. I work full time and so do my friends, so finding time to do it is hard.

RM: Any advice for someone wanting to start a blog?

SJ: Go for it. The hardest part is starting it. Honestly, you gotta start it and figure out what part of blogging you want to be in. Do it because you love it and not because you see other people doing it.

RM: What advice would you give anyone in the fashion field who wants to follow in similar footsteps as you?

SJ: It would be hard for me to give advice because I am still in process. A lot of people look at me and don’t think that. I am still climbing my way up a ladder. I am trying to still figure stuff out moving to New York and making noise in the fashion industry. Not only that, but everyone’s life is so different. Everything will come together at some point even if it doesn’t feel like it is right now.

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