Summer may be coming to a close, but a great swimsuit should always be a part of a woman’s wardrobe. For that, look no further than ShaLaJa’ Swimwear by Shaquoya Jackson. Jackson’s sharp eye for fashion and unique use of textures, colors, and patterns have created beautiful and sophisticated swimsuits with a flirty flare. Wanting to get the inside scoop about these amazing swimsuits, I spoke with the company’s founder, Shaquoya Jackson, to find out how ShaLaJa’ Swimwear was born
Rebel Lifestyle: What made you decide you wanted to create a swimsuit line?
Shaquoya: Well, after I graduated college, I was pretty much working regular jobs. I liked so many different things, but I wasn’t really sure exactly which one I wanted to pursue. I prayed a lot about it, for direction and passion, and a few months later I started designing swimsuits.
Rebel Lifestyle: The name ShaLaJa’ Swimwear, I can only assume that means your name, but can you tell me more about the meaning behind it.
Shaquoya: You are exactly right! Everyone always asks, and you’re clearly the only one that got it. But, yeah, it stands for Shaquoya Lashay Jackson. It’s the first few letters in my name.
Rebel Lifestyle: So did you have any background in designing, sewing, or anything like that?
Shaquoya: No, I went to school for television/radio broadcasting. I got my degree in communications, but I’ve always known how to sketch and draw. That’s been a natural talent. So, I’ve always done that, and I guess it just follows suit with designing, you know? The sketching comes naturally.
Rebel Lifestyle: When you decided, “You know what? I’m going to design my swimwear line,” describe the process of how that all started.
Shaquoya: Well, the process was quite tedious. I had to research everything on my own. I had to figure out everything as far as whose hands to get my product into, and research who had the best prices. After designing the swimsuits and coming up with something that looked nice and glamorous, that I thought everyone would love, the biggest task was finding the manufacturer.
Rebel Lifestyle: Did you have a mentor or a business partner that you worked with during this process?
Shaquoya: I actually didn’t. I had the support of my family. My family was always there when I needed them, if I needed to ask any questions about the business process part. But pretty much, no. I’ve been on my own, and I learned everything from the Internet.
Rebel Lifestyle: How would you describe your style, and how easy or how hard was it for you to merge the two when it comes to your personal style and swimwear?
Shaquoya: Well, it was really easy for me to merge the two because my style pretty much comes into play with my swimwear. I get a lot of inspiration from clothes and shoes and everyday items. So, my style plays a lot into my swimsuits. I have a lot of people tell me, “Oh, your swimsuit is so nice. It doesn’t look like something I’d wear to the beach. I’d actually wear it out.” That’s definitely because my style plays a lot into it.
Rebel Lifestlye: Does your line cater to all women’s shapes and sizes? If so, how important was that for you in designing the swimwear?
Shaquoya: My goal is to cater to all women’s shapes,sizes, and senses of style. Right now, I do not have any plus sizes available. But it is definitely one of my goals.
Rebel Lifestyle: During the off-season, after summer is over, do you have any other designs that you can offer to the consumers or are you working on branching out to designs outside of swimwear?
Shaquoya: I do want to branch outside of swimwear. I want to have beach lounge and exotic wear, and kids and men’s swimwear. However, I do have other stuff during the off-season that’s available for a press pool.
Rebel Lifestyle: Being that we are in a time where you can look on Instagram or Facebook and see a lot of people are branching out into the fashion industry, what sets your style and designs apart from the next swimwear designer?
Shaquoya: I think I’m set apart from other designers because I don’t design what’s popular. A lot of people go off of what’s popular right now, and they make items similar to the same design. I hate designing something similar to everyone else. I just believe firmly in doing your own thing.
Rebel Lifestyle: How do you stay up on the latest fashions even though you don’t want to use someone else’s designs? How do you stay up on what’s popping?
Shaquoya: I think I get a lot of updates from fashion shows that I watch. I watch a lot of fashion shows on YouTube just because it excites me and inspires me to design. I watch a lot of the updated shows and I see the new designs that are being featured.
Rebel Lifestyle: So being that you are a successful woman, how would you encourage any young man or woman to follow their dreams or passions just as you did?
Shaquoya: First of all, I would encourage them to pray specifically for a passion. I prayed for a passion, and a passion was revealed to me. Besides that, follow your dreams. You can’t copy what everyone else is doing. You have to take your own path. But definitely take all of the good that you learned from everyone and make it into your own destination. Never give up. Never lose passion.
Rebel Lifestyle: What would you say motivates you daily when it comes to the fashion industry? When it comes to your designs, do you have to be feeling something or be in a mood to come up with these designs? You have some really creative pieces.
Shaquoya: Not necessarily. Most days I wake up anxious to do something great with the swim line. It’s really just looking at the profile of the woman when I’m doing my sketch, and I just visualize all these different ways that I can create a swimsuit. It’s not really a feeling; it’s a vision. When I look at the silhouette of the body, I see visions and I draw them.
Rebel Lifestyle: Are we able to find your swimwear in stores/boutiques? Where can we find your items outside of your website?
Shaquoya: Right now I only have my swimsuits available in one store. It’s the La Maison de Fashion Boutique on Melrose Avenue in L.A.
Rebel Lifestyle: What should we look for next with Shaquoya?
Shaquoya: As far as swimsuits, I want to come out with my next collection. It’s going to contain more bold, and vibrant colors. For my next move, I am really hoping to open up a store for ShaLaJa Swimwear; that is my dream. I am really working diligent on that project. Slowly but surely I will make it happen!
Rebel Lifestyle: Would that store be here in Atlanta?
Shaquoya: Yes. Definitely. It will be here in Atlanta.
Rebel Lifestyle: How can people get in contact with you?
Shaquoya: You can get in contact with me via social media or email .
Rebel Lifestyle: Being that we are Rebel Lifestyle Magazine, how would you describe yourself as a Rebel?
Shaquoya: To me being a rebel consists of having your own identity, and designing your own path to walk. An example of that shows in the way I choose to design my lines. I research fashion, and study trends making sure that I am unique in my own right. I do not believe in compromising my visions/dreams for rules. I am my own person, with my own path, and my own visions, and I live by that; that is what makes me a true rebel!
You can contact Shaquoya Jackson and see her amazing swimsuits on her website www.shalajaswimwear.com.