Jelena Lasic is certainly a special spotlight for us, as she is a huge representation of the HerHattan brand. With her modern, fashionable illustrations that adorn HerHattanNYC.com (as well as our Facebook Page, Twitter Page, Pinterest Page, Google+ Page, and more), Lasic is the epitome of a HerHattan-esque girl.
Originally from Bosnia, Lasic came to New York City to study fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design. It was only a mere two years ago, when I spotted Lasic’s talents, as she started to illustrate fashionable women at a bar one night, in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. With a marker and a slice of paper in hand, in about 20 seconds flat, Lasic had drawn a rendition of a fashionable woman in the nightlife scene. It caught my eye. She caught me eye. From then on, Lasic has been HerHattan’s sole illustrator, bringing a sense of fashion and lifestyle to the brand.
Now, after graduating, falling in love, getting married, and moving to Croatia where Lasic is a proud mother, she has launched her own Jelena Lasic fashion line. When asked how she describes her designs, she explains, “The looks are very romantic and feminine… I really wanted my customer to have choices depending on what she feels like wearing at a certain time, and to dress for a specific occasion.”
So, what inspires this Bosnian beauty? “I enjoy the outdoors especially when taking long walks. When I take a break, I look around and start sketching because there is so much to see and be inspired by, and that’s where I find a lot of inspiration,” she explains. It is no wonder that Lasic is starting to set the tone for Croatia’s fashion scene, all-the-while keeping her roots from Bosnia, and her love for New York, still in tact.
Give us a little history on where you’re from, how you got to NYC, and then finally to Croatia.
I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia. When the war started in 1992, my family and I moved to Germany when I was five-years-old, and then to the U.S. at age 12, when my parents decided that the U.S. would offer my brother and I the opportunity for a strong education and better life.
First, we moved to New Hampshire where I attended high school and started to compete in many art competitions throughout the state. I entered the NH Scholastic Awards annually and won numerous silver and gold key awards for my artwork. I have been painting and drawing since I was 10-years-old, and was mentored by a famous German-based painter, Azra Arapovic. During high school, I became interested in design, specifically clothes.
Fashion design is a great way to express my vision and creativity, which is why I decided to apply to Parsons The New School for Design, and that’s how I got to NYC. I finally ended up in Croatia, right after graduation, because LOVE brought me here! While studying and working in New York, I met my husband who was visiting NYC, and we fell in love. I became pregnant during my senior thesis, and right after graduation I moved to Croatia to give birth to my precious son, Karlo.
What’s one major fashion difference you noticed right away between Croatia and NYC?
Women in both cities, NYC and Zagreb, dress very similar. Yet, in NYC, I could see more women dressed down during the day, than I would in Zagreb, Croatia. It seems that women here are dressed for appearance 24/7. I also must say that the biggest fashion difference I’ve noticed is that for men. Almost all men here wear the man purse, which is very rare in NYC. Here, it’s a must-have for them at all times.
What do you think is the hardest part of studying fashion in NYC, and the most beneficial part?
The hardest part is definitely that the fashion industry is very competitive, and there are a lot of very talented designers in one place. You have to work really hard and be committed, but also stand out. The most beneficial part is that NYC offers endless opportunities for those who want to pursue a career in fashion.
How would you describe the styles/looks of your designs?
The looks are very romantic and feminine. I designed a mini-collection of 10 looks, offering my customer something for the day, to wear to work, and something for the evening, as well as editorial pieces. I really wanted my customer to have choices depending on what she feels like wearing at a certain time, and to dress for a specific occasion.
What was your inspiration behind your designs?
I enjoy the outdoors especially when taking long walks. When I take a break, I look around and start sketching because there is so much to see and be inspired by, and that’s where I find a lot of inspiration. The inspiration behind this specific collection followed the theme of nature, inspired by the flow of water, and tree rings, which is a reoccurring design element throughout the collection. The process of production included a lot of work done by hand.
Describe your personal style. Does your line represent your personal style as well?
Casual Chic. My personal style has changed over time, especially after becoming a mother. I started to move my style towards more comfortable and practical. My line certainly represents my point of view and looks I would wear.
When it comes to fashion, what is one rule by which you live?
It should always be about the overall look no matter what you choose to wear. You should always think about how to put it all together to create that one great look.
Who is your favorite designer?
What is your favorite store to shop at?
What advice can you give to other aspiring fashion designers studying in NYC?
Work hard, believe in yourself and follow your vision.
What can we look for next from you?
I am currently working on a Spring Summer Collection for 2013!
See more stories like this here.