When Jessie J took the stage last weekend at the mammoth Rock in Rio festival, she premiered more than a batch of new songs from her forthcoming second album, Alive. The fashion-forward singer also sported a colorful, custom-made “playsuit” created by Zuri Herrera from Mexico.
Herrera was selected by a panel of judges including Jessie J herself as part of a crowdsourced contest sponsored by glacéau vitaminwater and online creative platform Talenthouse. Emerging fashion designers, artisans, stylists and creatives were invited to design a custom playsuit – defined as a one-piece outfit with short or no sleeves and short pants – inspired by the vitaminwater rainbow color palette and Jessie J’s edgy, vibrant style. More than 800 entries were received during the 10-week challenge.
We caught up with the British pop star – who first teamed up with vitaminwater last year on an interactive music video for her single “Laserlight” and an exclusive concert at the Camden Roundhouse during the 2012 London Olympic Games – a few days before her Rock in Rio performance. Here’s what she had to say:
Why did you decide to launch this challenge?
Since day one, I’ve been lucky to have people like Cindy Lauper and Jules Holland hold my hand during a time in my career when I wanted to be showcased. When I was asked by vitaminwater to work with Talenthouse to give this opportunity to a talented designer who may have never had their clothes worn, I thought it was great. And nowhere better than Rock in Rio, one of the biggest music festivals in the world. vitaminwater is associated with bright colors, and I associate bright colors with Carnival and Brazil… it’s a great fit.
What was your reaction to the response you guys saw?
We received more entries than any other artist-hosted competition on Talenthouse – which was mind-blowing to me. It shows how many people would enjoy my body wearing their outfit, which means a lot. And having entries from 50 countries… I didn’t think people in 50 countries knew I existed!
What stood out about Zuri’s design?
Instantly, the colors. They go well with my hair (laughing). I just did a fitting… it’s comfortable, and the shape of it suits my body. It’s fun and young, but sexy. I’m more excited for the designer than anything else. I want to do her proud, so I’m making sure my gig will be great.
Why is fashion such an important part of your live show and who you are as an artist?
For me, fashion is an outlet of creativity. It exudes emotion, as does music. It pushes boundaries, as does music. Before I was a public figure, I was as emotionally involved with the way I dress as I am now. I used to draw musical notes on my face. I had green and blue hair. I wore ripped jeans and fishnets underneath them… because that was cool at the time. I often look back at pictures and think, “Wow, did I really wear that?” or “I like that, I’d like to do it again but better.”
I don’t want any one phase to define me. From my bob, to having short blonde hair, to wearing catsuits… they should all be memorable moments, but none should define me. I want to be able to take risks and evolve. I want people to be as used to me in a while ball gown as they would in a sparkly bra and kickers. Fashion is about movement, as is music, and my fans are on a journey with me. Why should there be any limitation?