A New Face to New York Fashion: Prajje Jean-Baptiste

By: Cyndi Amaya

The world of fashion is full of young ambitious designers who want to make their mark in fashion; but few ever become known to the greater world. Fashion shows throughout the world feature new designers each year, and this year one young designer will be premiering in New York City during Fashion's Night Out for the first time: Prajje Jean-Baptiste. Prajje is an exceptional designer that has taken his brand, Prajje 1983, and created something wonderful. Originating from Haiti, he let his creative juices take him to America where he graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a degree in Fashion Design in 2009.

His pieces are considered luxurious, as his collection showcases his perfect craftsmanship. You can see his beautiful designs worn by models and celebrities alike. Over the years, his collections have been presented in fashion shows in Miami, Washington, D.C., Boston and now New York. Twenty-seven year old Prajje just moved from Boston to New York City in November and while it takes many years for designer to get anywhere near Lincoln Center to present during Fashion Week, he landed a spot to be featured at our very own Global Food Street Pop-Up Style Meet-and-Greet at Lincoln Center. We asked him a few questions leading up to tonight's big event.

What inspired you to go into fashion?

I've always been into fashion, ever since I can remember. Even as a child I was interested in making clothes and even took classes on how to cut and sew. I've started doing fashion designing professionally since 4-5 years ago and have since been really pushing hard at becoming great at what I do.

What inspired your recent collection?

For this collection (Spring 2012) and the last (Spring 2011) I was really inspired by my home country of Haiti. Because of the earthquake that happened last year that devastated almost the entire country, I really wanted to bring attention to its heritage and styles. What I featured in particular are the popular dress of the farmers and market ladies throughout Haiti. At times, these professions are very looked down upon, but I believe there are so many misconceptions about those roles and even about Haiti in general. My grandmother was a farmer and she raised me, and I'm bothered by the negative thoughts about farmers and market ladies; so I wanted to show who I am and where I come from.

What interested you in collaborating with Marcus for his Global Street Food Pop-up?

Well, I met Marcus at a gala in April and we kept in touch after that. Both he and his wife Maya really liked my designs, so I dressed Maya for one of her events. To me, it's an honor to collaborate with Marcus on his Global Street Food Pop-up since I've just recently moved to New York from Boston, and it's amazing to me to already be showing during Fashion Week in New York, especially in the Lincoln Center. Even if it's not a runway, to be at a style meet-and-greet in the Lincoln Center on Fashion's Night Out is a great honor and I'm very blessed to have been chosen.

It was a bit stressful however, since when Maya contacted me to get involved with the project, I had only three pieces made for my current collection and in a short 2 1/2 weeks, I'm now up to 14 pieces for the collection. So I did a lot of work in a short amount of time, but like I said, I jumped at the opportunity because it is such an accomplishment for me to be a part of this.

What will you be featuring tonight at the Style Meet-and-Greet?

Tonight, I'll feature 14 pieces of my Spring 2012 collection, so it's a sneak peak at what's in store for next year. Like I said earlier, the collection is inspired by Haitian farmers and market ladies, but with a more whimsical and fairy tale approach. Lots of bright colors, various textures and details, and very flowly. I'm showing pieces that can be worn by women of all ages, young and old, and all body types- short to tall. Guests will get a glimpse of all the type of clothes I design, not just dresses, so I've also included shorts, pants, jumpsuits, skirts- everything that a woman might think to wear. I'm excited to see what everyone thinks of my collection!

We wish you much luck tonight, Prajje, in your first showing in New York City! Check out his sneak peek collection tonight at our Global Street Food Pop-up Opening in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Prajje Jean-Baptiste's full collection will be featured in Boston's fashion week on September 25th. Check out his website for more details on him and his future events:  www.prajje1983.com.

Photos: Prajje Jean-Baptiste