For Jacqueline Rousseau, Barbies were a sartorial gateway drug. Raised in a small town in Indiana with limited fashion resources, Jacqueline recalls eagerly devouring her mom’s back issues of Cosmo and styling her esteemed dolls, mixing and matching from their abundant wardrobes. “I was obsessed with them,” she confirms matter-of-factly. “I played with them all the time.” By age nine—bolstered by her years of experience doing miniature makeovers—Jacqueline resolved to be a designer and proceeded to paper the walls of her bedroom with sketches.
Her enthusiasm didn’t diminish when she hit college, where she majored in fine art, always thinking about how to apply those color theory and composition courses back to the garment world. A Cambridge study-abroad program revealed another passion—England!—and, after wrapping up her degree and working a string of rent-procuring odd jobs, Jacqueline decided to combine her two infatuations, enrolling at London College of Fashion.
After seven years in the U.K., Jacqueline moved back to this side of the pond in 2010 and began working on her own label in earnest. And while her art background may be the easiest influence to spot in the line’s pattern-driven accessories, that whole anything-goes vibe of the London scene is at its core, too. “There, people aren’t afraid to push limits. They just go for it. In London, I figured out that style is part of your character,” she explains. “It’s part of who you are.” —mattie kahn