Graduating from SCAD Atlanta in 2014, JD Noble moved to New York City because she missed her designer friends and wanted to be around people who she knew and inspired her. "I had this naive optimism about the big city. It was an amazing place to be but I also realized it was very hard." Noble loved New York City and her internship where she assisted the designer, Karolyae Ashley. However, working for someone else behind the scenes made her miss producing her own designs. All of her friends from SCAD confided that they hadn't sewn anything since graduation.
"I went to school to sew, to create things. I wanted to be that person who was making clothes again."
Noble left NYC a couple of months later and in just 30 days had developed a complete collection in her uncle's basement in New Jersey. She created 16 luxury lounge wear pieces that could be worn outside. A revelation while still a teenager informed the design of this collection.
"My family is a fashionable group of people, especially my mother." In high school, Noble's mother would buy her really cute pajamas. "I was an athlete as a teenager and would just wear t-shirts and shorts around the house and to bed." One day she noticed how cute her mom's pajamas were and asked for some of her own. Her mother replied, "Go look in your drawer. I've been buying you cute pajamas for years."
That experience opened Noble's eyes. She started wearing luxury pajamas. Her favorite pair was a Ralph Lauren silk set from the department store.
"I liked how these fancy pajamas could look like a nice blouse and pants. You could wear them like actual day and evening wear."
That quality of relaxed opulence characterizes much of her collections today. Noble strives to create garments that tailor to a woman's body and enhance or transform her shape. She balances comfort and an air of luxury in her designs.
She likes to design luxurious dresses that also allow for ease. She suspects that the typical Oscar dress that looks so appealing on the red carpet is actually a very uncomfortable endurance test for the wearer. In contrast, her pieces are fun and wearable while still beautiful in design. It's what she calls multi-functional evening wear. Some of her garments even have pockets!
Noble's love of costume design came to fruition after moving home to Atlanta as well. The film industry is booming there right now and Noble saw this trend as an opportunity to become a costume assistant.
"What you wear underneath your clothes and how it affects the shape and feel of clothing is what I liked about costume design."
Noble had an "Ah ha!" moment. In Atlanta, she could be around her family, a large circle of people where she feels comfortable. This web of support encourages her to continue creating and follow her dream.
Noble employs fabric with a somewhat stiff hand to create shapes that also have movement. She prefers using heavy-weight silk because she can tailor forms with a pin here, a tuck there, and add little details like a dart or a pocket to make a unique garment. She likes to use fabric that can be sculpted to a woman's body to create the best fit.
Another fabric she loves is called Gazar which was invented by Cristobel Balenciaga in the 1960's and is constructed from a high-twist double yarn that is very pliable and smooth. This fabric is a lot like organza and is used frequently in evening gowns - one of Noble's specialties. Like Balenciaga, Noble favors glamorous silhouettes. Using both black with white, as well as bold, brilliant colors.
"My favorite color is royal blue. It is the most vibrant of the blues. I incorporate the color into almost every collection."
Noble creates clothing for women that inspire her.
"The music of Janelle Monae and Solange got me through college. These women were always in my mood boards: strong, powerful, energetic women."
JD Noble is a force to be reckoned with. Check out more of her work at www.byJDNoble.com.
Note: Two Royal blue pantsuit images photographed by Acquille Dunkley; Blue fur image photographed by Elbert Ivory; all other images photographed by Ann Van Epps