For designer Jay Godfrey, the passion to design turned into a dream that was fulfilled in an unconventional way. Throughout his childhood, his vision was set, but as with many situations in life – working towards a goal doesn’t always consist of a straight and direct path.
As a teenager, Jay had been introduced to the design world as a gofer in a designer’s showroom. But even though he was excited to be around such glitz and glam, he chose a different direction when it was time to head off to college. The Canadian-born designer opted to pursue an education in Finance, in effort to learn the fundamentals of business and accounting. Upon graduating from college, Jay was offered a job on Wall Street, where he worked until he decided to make the goal of becoming a designer a reality. He enrolled as a student at Parson’s School of Design. As a student he interned with Oscar de la Renta and from there set out to design and make his own mark with the Jay Godfrey collection.
Today, the Jay Godfrey collection is loved by women from every day walks of life, to celebrities whom all love his sleek designs that embody modern sophistication. His celebrity fans include Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Gabrielle Union, Eva Longoria, Angie Harmon and many others. In addition, Jay has received well-deserved kudos from top glossies and even made an appearance on America’s Next Top model.
Overall, it’s remarkable how much success Jay Godfrey has had in just a few short years, and his story is one of enlightenment and inspiration. Check out this week’s Q&A With A Style Pooh-Bah featuring fashion designer, Jay Godfrey.
Naima Turner: Jay, it’s really inspirational to know that you decided to enter the world of fashion design as your second career, by way of Wall Street. With a fabulous collection, it’s clear to see that you are a natural. Out of curiosity, I would love to know why you didn’t go straight into the design world, as opposed to working with numbers first?
Jay Godfrey: Growing up I was your typical hockey playing Canadian boy and really fell in love with fashion at the age of 15. That love grew with the amazing opportunity I had when I interned at the Hugo boss showroom, and even though that meant fetching coffee most days, being able to spend my time surrounded by beautiful creations and some of the most talented people was so inspiring. The overall experience reiterated that ultimate feeling I felt inside that I wanted to spend the rest of my life working in this industry.
With my passion in focus, I moved to New York after graduating from Montreal’s McGill University with a finance degree and followed the “safe path” straight to Wall Street. Of course, it didn’t take me long to realize that was not where I belonged. As I was still young in my career and hadn’t built my loving family yet that now includes my wife and two daughters, I was fortunate enough to be able to leave the investment world and follow my dream of going to design school to course correct my career on the right path.
When it’s all said and done, I wouldn’t change a thing. I gained a solid grounding in what it takes to run a successful business and I think that is what has gotten the Jay Godfrey brand to where it is today.