Interviews

Interview with Jamaican swimwear and fashion designer Keva J

Written by Denise Lee
Keva J is a fresh force in the design industry. Her swimwear and fashion designs are influenced by her life in New York City and Miami, and her Jamaican heritage. Designing from a young age, her talent has been appreciated by the likes of Ungaro and Baby Phat, and dozens of fashion-minded media including BRAVO TV’s Project Runway. With an aptitude for unit ing vivid hues, resilient texture and elaborately cut shapes, the bold and luxurious pieces of KEVA by Keva J are the preference of style-setters and can be found in boutiques nation wide. Here is our conversation with Keva J.
 
Q: Tell us what is the meaning of your name, Keva?
A: The name Keva means- gentle, beautiful, and precious! Which I believe is a true representation of me!
 
Q: What inspired you to create the Keva swim line?
A: The name was actually Kaos Designs when I first started. Kaos meaning different styles coming together to become one. I changed it to KEVA By Keva J because my brand represents my life and my style. This is my baby so why not name it after myself!
Q: Describe your swimwear?
A: Our swimwear is unique, chic, and edgy. These suits are for the true fashionista!
Q: What was your first reaction when you learned the Kardashian’s wanted you to design a suit for them?
A: Well they did’nt ask me to design a suit for them…I actually got the request from their stylists. They had shoots and the stylist loved the brand so she asked for specific suits. We sent them, they worked and they loved them!!
 
Q: What other celebrities have been wearing Keva swim wear?
A: Our celebrity list has grown since then! Nicki Minaj, Adriana De Moura, Mashonda, Kat De Luna, Jojo and Janina Gavankar….and the list is still growing!
 
Q: How many lines of swimwear do you currently have under the Keva label?
A: We only have one line under that name but I do plan to expand into a less expensive line. Something that can be carried in H&M or Target.
 
Q: When did you first fall in love with fashion?
A:  I think I fell in love with fashion at an early age. My mom and aunts always tell me I loved jewelry when I was growing up. I always had to have bracelets and the matching earrings! Once I got to highschool, it blossomed and from there I found love!!
 
Q: How are you connected to Jamaica?
A: My whole family is Jamaican. Only me, my brother and my cousin were born in New York. Everyone else is from Kingston. And my grandmother is from Mandeville. So Jamaica plays a big part in my life and background, and I am very much proud of that!
 
Q: How would you describe your own personal style?
A: My style is different…with an edgy flair. I love accessories and I believe they can make or break your outifit! So I a always accessorized from head to toe.
 
Q: Which designers do you love right now?
A: This is a hard one…there are so many!!! I love Zac Posen, Victoria Beckham, Herve Leger( Max Azria),Preen, and Gottex! These brands are so fashion forward, yet edgy!! Absolutely love their design aesthetic.
 
Q: What item of clothing (if any) do you wish that more of us wore?
A:  I dont think anything!! There are items I wish people did not wear!!! I love the blazer and it has become a staple item now..its everywhere! So thats a good thing!
 
Q: Any plans to start a male swim line?
A: Not yet!! Everyone has asked that question. I love designing womens wear because you push the envelope! In mens wear it becomes at bit tricky. But who knows, maybe in a couple years you all will see a mens line!
 
Q: Anything we should look out for from you in the coming weeks/months/year?
A:  Yes, look out for the new collection to debut at Miami Swim Week in July this year. Also our swimsuits will be in boutiques hopefully by summer!
 
Q: A phrase you use far too often?
A: Haha…omg and wth!
 
Q: What food brings your comfort when you are disappointed?
A: Well I do have a love for food!! Any type of candy will bring me joy!! Especially peanut m&m’s.
 
Q: Fashion tip for the season?
A: Colors, colors, colors!!! Bright colors are in!! A lot of deisgners are mixing bright colors..even neons!! Just be careful when you are mixing, because too much can end up looking like an 80’s disaster!!
 
Q: In a nutshell, your philosophy is?
A: My Philosophy is its all about the fit of a garment!! If something doesnt fit great, its of no use!!
 
Q:  Thanks for the interview. Any closing thoughts?
A: Tthank you so much for taking the time out to interview me, and I look forward to bringing these deisgns to all the boutiques in the islands!!
 

About the author

Denise Lee