Jérôme LaMaar is not your typical kid from the Bronx. Beginning with his internship (aged fifteen) at Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simmons, it was always clear what direction this fashion wunderkind would take. From working as a trend forecaster, to apprenticing at Chado Ralph Rucci at the age of 23, to consulting for a year in Japan, LaMaar has proven to be an unstoppable force in the world of fashion. Now curating his own highly lauded line, 5:31 Jérôme, he has achieved his dream of dressing Beyoncé in his maximalist, fantasy street style, and continues to reach for the stars.
Ever since I was a child I knew I wanted to be in a creative field, so I just pursued it. That’s why I decided to leave Baby Phat and move on to Ralph Rucci, because I wasn’t happy at that point. I like to move at my own pace and create my own space.
My first mentors were the lovely Kimora Lee Simmons and Russell Simmons at Baby Phat—they helped me to become a young businessperson. But my muse was, and still is, my grandmother. She’s extremely glamorous, but she’s also smart, sharp and very strong. She and my grandfather were a seamstress and furrier respectively, so fashion is in my blood.
I was blessed to start at Baby Phat at the tender age of fifteen. That was my ‘boot camp’ for life. I learned how to conduct meetings, forecast deliveries for the market, and interact with and talk to buyers, and I had the opportunity to experience the creative field in a very new light. I got to travel the world, work with celebrities, build ad campaigns, and create marketing strategies, and it was all from my ground roots at Baby Phat.
Trend forecasting is a mix of art and science. You need a trained eye to experience, project and articulate ideas. As a designer, I try not to look at, or get influenced by, other designers. I barely look at archives, because I don’t think it’s relevant to what I’m trying to do.
The numbers “5:31” represent my birthday. To me, it’s a magic number, which my grandmother—my muse—told me to look for every time she’s sending me a message. It’s divine!
I know for a fact that I love Swarovski’s Aurora Borealis finish. That’s always the first thing I reference. Then I try to play with other shapes and new fashion directions as Swarovski introduces them. But to me, anything with an Aurora Borealis is me. Period.
I’m looking forward to opening my first pop-up shop in the South Bronx—which is the new Brooklyn! I’m from the Bronx, so I felt it was the perfect place to express my point of view and introduce the world to South Bronx luxe. There will be art on the walls by artists from around the country. We’re going to have new designers showing there—my good friends and peers, like Harbison, LaQuan Smith and a few others in my circle, and the range will include small products like watches and jewelry.
Designer Jerome Lamaar
Designer's instagram @jeromelamaar
Photos left: Courtesy of 5:31 Jérôme
Photos right: Gabriele Mercadante