Wardrobe stylist and producer Jessica Wu became interested in fashion when she was 11 years old. “I come from a really beachy, laidback town, where everyone’s always in flip flops, boardshorts and T-shirts,” she says. “I wanted to be more adventurous with the way I dressed.” She pored over her aunt’s copies of Vogue, experimented with the powersuits and platforms in her mom’s closet, started her own fashion blog at 14, and was featured in Teen Vogue at 15. Now 24, her list of clients includes 3.1 Phillip Lim, Interview magazine and Nike. “Editorially, I try to keep things minimal,” she explains. “I focus on the garment and the way it looks on a person and play around with volume and texture and color occasionally.’’ Her own look — dewy skin, winged black eyeliner and bleach-blonde hair — has also landed her work as model, appearing in campaigns for Glossier and Apple, among others. Continue reading to learn more about Jessica.
On Growing Up:
I grew up in Southern California, where the beach/surf culture is really strong and fashion was an uncommon interest for most people. My family immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, and I visited the country often as a child. In Taiwan, we would eat hot food from street carts every day and roam around the lively night markets at midnight. My time spent there still holds some of my most cherished memories.
On Her Personal Style & Where She Shops:
I like to prioritize comfort and convenience when I dress. I would say I’m definitely an outerwear girl and love my shearling jackets and wool coats. T-shirts, jeans and sneakers are common items in my wardrobe because my life involves me running around a lot! Most of my closet is vintage or thrifted items; the best secondhand is in California, where you can sift through warehouses of cheap, used clothing for hours!
On Her Signature Look:
I’ve been living in my beige curly longhair coat, black trousers, giant canvas tote and white sneakers for the last few months!
Her Fashion Icon:
My mom, she definitely inspired my interest in fashion growing up and has an affinity for well-made clothing and accessories.
On Becoming a Stylist:
I interned every semester of college and began “styling” in my freshman year. It took years of emailing, assisting and physically and emotionally toiling work to develop myself as a stylist. The behind the scenes are the times that no one ever sees but are the most integral to the job.
On Her Experience as a Model:
I have been fortunate enough to work with fantastic brands and companies that I believe in and admire. Being on both sides of the camera has given me valuable insight and experience on how to be a pleasant client to work with as well as an attentive subject that is receptive to client needs.
On Diversity in the Industry:
It’s been unreal to see the industry change quite drastically over the last few years since I first moved to NYC. Six years ago, when I was volunteering for fashion shows (when they were still at Lincoln Center in the tents!), there was little-to-no diversity in the casting. It is really reassuring to know that companies are opening up to all sorts of faces, body types and skin color to represent their brands. We can always do with more progress, of course.
On Menstrual Health:
On my Instagram, I constantly share (if not complain) about what's happening with my body every month, and to my surprise, countless individuals would message me and ask me about my menstrual experiences or share their similar experiences, and we would have a intimate conversation about our periods over the internet, as complete strangers. The more I realized that people weren't talking about it as openly as I did (took a lot of time to get there), the more I wished for a community where talking about periods wasn't taboo or stigmatized. Period Space was the answer to what I was looking for, and now we regularly share essays, articles and researchthat various individuals contribute to for the site! We also host monthly events (panels, menstrual hygiene product-packing for shelters, casual store events and donation drives) and my goal with Period Space is to maximize local community outreach right in our backyard.
What She’s Most Proud Of:
Starting a company (Peter Do) with my close friends.
What Brings Her Joy:
If you know me, you know that food is one of my greatest joys in life, as I love to cook at home as much as I love to go out and try new restaurants. I love to cook three-course meals and home-baked desserts while entertaining guests, and I love bringing together groups of people to get dim sum together on the weekends. I have too many favorite restaurants to list!
The Album She Could Listen to Forever:
Honestly, channel ORANGE by Frank Ocean.
Her Dream for the Future:
My dream for the future is for kindness, tolerance, acceptance and understanding to be the grounds for everything we do as a society.