College Times: View full article here: http://www.ecollegetimes.com/the-future-is-female-jenesis-laforcarde-promotes-feminism-through-fashion
When people ask Jenesis Laforcarde what she does, she thinks about it for a moment and replies stoically: “I’m a hustler.”
By trade, she is a fashion designer, stylist, brand consultant and entrepreneur. She is the CEO of her own clothing brand, Woman’s Touch Apparel and provides styling services under the name Love Jenesis Styles. She is also the co-founder of Brave Wings Fashion Show, a benefit show that supports local charities, and the creative director of a clothing line called Mabella Chic. But the 23-year-old ASU alumna says her most important job is standing up for what she believes in and empowering other women to do the same.
“I love to prove a point, like you can wear whatever you want to wear,” she says. “It’s all about your confidence and how you feel. With Woman’s Touch Apparel, the messages are just so empowering that when you wear the brand, you’re sending a message to yourself and everyone else seeing it. I think I am a confidence-builder.”
Laforcarde graduated from ASU in 2015 with a degree in communications. She says she picked a broad area of study because she didn’t want to limit herself.
“Communication is used in every single thing,” she explains. “In communications, you learn so many different things about body language and how to best speak your mind.”
“Why not make the clothes that you’re wearing purposeful and showcase what you believe in?”
Laforcarde dedicated her free time to immersing herself in the fashion industry through internships and working with designers during Phoenix Fashion Week.
She says her communications degree lent itself well to her career in fashion. Not only because style is everywhere, but because it is also a form of expression.
“Fashion is in everything. It’s in art, it’s in music, it’s in sports. It’s all about what you wear. Everything you do is all about what you’re wearing,” she says. “We’re judged before we even talk, based on how we look. “Why not make the clothes that you’re wearing purposeful and showcase what you believe in?”
Laforcarde believes in feminism. She believes in self-respect, and she believes in respecting other women. She believes fashion is the ideal medium to promote that message.
“I like girls that turn heads. Anyone doing something different inspires me,” she says. “Like girls that are a size 20 wearing a crop top or Rihanna going outside naked or Lady Gaga wearing stripper heels with some Daisy Dukes. I think it’s important to have women that dress like that and don’t care what anybody thinks. Why can’t we be confident, conceited and all about ourselves? No one’s asking why. We have to support other women, because if we don’t do it, no one else will, and our men are going to talk bad about us in rap songs still.”
Laforcarde has always been fiercely independent and ambitious. When she started Woman’s Touch Apparel at the end of 2012, it was a one-woman show.
“I literally faked it until I made it, and I’m still doing it sometimes,” she admits.
She now has a small team helping her with her brand, which she says is taking on a new identity this year. She just launched a new line called WTA Vintage.
“It’s is all vintage clothing that we find from all over the U.S.,” she says. “People send me vintage clothing and then I print on top of it. It’s all one-of-a-kind. You can get a blazer that says ‘High heels only’ and you’re the only girl in the world that has that blazer.”
For the past four years, she focused chiefly on shirts and dresses emblazoned with empowering catchphrases like “Bad ass chick” and “It’s okay to be bootylicious.”
“We’re transitioning, and not doing T-shirts anymore because everyone’s doing T-shirts now,” Laforcarde says. “As a business, to stay in business, you have to be completely different.”
Part of that transition included deleting more than 100 items from her online shop. She admits it felt like she was breaking up with her brand, but she’s wise enough to know that fashion is all about evolution and taking risks.
If that’s true, Woman’s Touch is on the verge of something big.
In fact, Laforcarde says the brand profited more than it ever has in 2016, the same year she almost threw in the towel.
“I was going quit last year because the entire time I’ve been empowering women and I felt like they weren’t empowering my business, they were supporting Forever 21 and H&M,” she says. “I had to pay for everything: photo shoots, hair and makeup and it’s still hard sometimes…but we’re no longer breaking even, we’re getting there. I’m glad I didn’t give up.”
Laforcarde says she has her “hustler mentality” to thank for her success. Part of that mindset includes outlining her values and staying true to them no matter what.
“One thing I refuse to do to is pay anybody to wear Woman’s Touch Apparel. I don’t care who you are, I will not pay you $300 to write a blog post about my brand,” she laughs. “You either like it and support it, or you don’t.”