時尚工作者

“Jillian Mercado 專訪-「受夠時尚」的感覺從來沒消失過,但我知道繼續堅持下去,我能為時尚產業帶來一些只有我才能做得到的改變”


Elise Ay

2020-5-15

|Wazaiii專訪|「我有一個任務要完成,沒有人能夠阻止我。」紐約非典型模特兒Jillian Mercado

  (文末附上英文訪談內容/ English version of this interview is down below.)  

2020春夏的紐約時裝週上,講究多元性以及包容性的泳裝品牌 Chromat,剛結束了一場讓場內觀眾群情鼓舞的大秀,Chromat 以跨性別、大尺碼、孕婦、孩童、身心障礙等各種溢出一般「伸展台模特兒」想像的人來展示他們的最新設計。大秀結束後,我看著 Jillian Mercado 一個人安安靜靜地自己操縱著輪椅離開。少了嘻笑、拍照、蹭熱度等大多數跑秀人士的標配,她的非典型在紐約時尚圈裡獨樹一幟。

身體上的障礙並未阻止 Jillian Mercado 勇敢追求自己的夢想。

今年33歲的 Jillian Mercado,是知名模特兒經紀公司IMG旗下的模特兒之一,同時也是演員、意見領袖與時尚多元性的倡議者。她跟一般的模特兒有點不一樣——由於肌肉萎縮症,從小就坐著輪椅長大,然而身體上的障礙並未阻止她勇敢追求自己的夢想,她曾被《Vogue》、《Glamour》、《Cosmopolitan》、《CR Fashion Book》等各大時尚雜誌報導過,甚至登上《Posture》雜誌的封面。身體、種族以及年齡,都不能阻止她追求她想做的事。

Jillian Mercado 是個多明尼哥裔、土生土長的紐約客,爸爸是鞋廠業務,媽媽則是裁縫。Jillian 的媽媽常常會把工作帶回家,小 Jillian 不和兩個妹妹們一起看卡通,反倒選擇坐在媽媽身旁,看著她變魔術般將布料變成立體的衣服,小 Jillian 也會提出許多問題,像是「這是什麼布料?」、「為什麼會選擇這個顏色?」Jillian 對於時尚的熱忱彷彿從小小年紀就由那一針一線織就。

2006年她進入了紐約知名時尚學院 FIT(Fashion Institute of Technology)的時尚商品管理(Fashion Merchandising)學系就讀,學習商業層面的知識,在學期間,她也盡可能藉由不同部門的實習,更進一步了解時尚產業究竟在做些什麼,而 Jillian 對於時尚史以及時尚雜誌百科全書式的理解與認識,讓她的同學鼓勵她開始寫部落格,除了分享她所知道的時尚故事,也紀錄她個人大膽前衛的穿搭風格。

Jillian 人生中的第一個企劃,是和一個名為《We The Urban》的線上雜誌合作,在一次《We The Urban》的活動中,她遇到了義大利知名牛仔褲品牌 Diesel 的創意總監,而那次的相遇是她在時尚產業裡的轉捩點,引領了她在2014年通過 Diesel 的選秀,成為品牌當期廣告企劃的模特兒之一,那是 Jillian Mercado 第一次大型的廣告拍攝。這個企劃也讓旗下有著許多知名超模,如 Gigi Hadid、Bella Hadid、Hailey Bieber、Cara Delevingne 的 IMG 模特兒公司在隔年簽下她,並於2016年成為 Beyoncé 官方網站企劃中唯三模特兒中的其中一人。2018年,她參與了保養品牌 Olay 的 Face Anything 廣告,有著她的人像的大型廣告看板而後被刊登在曼哈頓最熱鬧繁華的時代廣場。

Jillian Mercado 的故事向世界證明,時尚不分種族、性別、身體、信仰,時尚屬於所有人。

 通往時尚產業的曲徑 

「接受專業的時尚教育對於妳進入時尚產業有幫助嗎?是否可以分享一下妳在 FIT 的就學經驗?」

『每個人的經驗不同,我只能分享我自己的經驗。只能說,FIT 的學習經驗對我往後在時尚產業發展的幫助極大。受時尚學院的教育讓你能不用置身其中就可以窺見時尚產業的樣貌,也讓你知道如果你真的想投身時尚行業,會是什麼樣子。在 FIT 就讀的四年,我學到了各種需要知道的時尚商業面的知識,而 FIT 絕大多數的教授都身經時尚產業槍林彈雨的洗禮,他們的第一手經驗分享,也將時尚產業渲染上了一些個人經驗,甚至是人情味。簡單來說,我覺得專業的時尚教育對我幫助很大。』

「在過去的訪問裡,妳曾多次提到,妳對於追求自己的理想和得到自己想要的東西很有策略性。請問妳會怎麼形容妳的策略,或是妳認為妳有哪些重要的特質幫助了妳達到自己的夢想?」

『我的策略很個人,從很小的時候,我就知道我想做什麼、想達成什麼。大概是我真的滿了解自己的吧,我知道我能帶給這個產業甚至這個世界的價值,無論是透過模特兒、演員還是時尚多元性倡議者的角色,我把我的熱情投注在學習以及更深入了解這個產業上,我也透過服裝的選擇,讓我在不同場合都能適得其所。策略會因人而異,重點是你要很了解自己,徹頭徹尾、由裡到外了解自己的個人品牌能為世界帶來什麼價值。』

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


「妳從很小就對時尚有興趣,並立定志向要進時尚產業。有點好奇是否有哪些時刻,妳真的覺得妳受夠時尚了?如果有的話,妳是怎麼消化自己的情緒的?時尚產業常常會消磨人的熱情、吞噬人的夢想,妳怎麼知道時尚就是妳人生中那件『對』的事情?」

『這種「受夠時尚」的感覺從來沒消失過,打從一開始踏進這個圈子就不停出現,很多時候我會想就這樣放棄時尚算了。不過話說回來,有這樣的感受很正常,每個人的人生都會經歷那些很想任性地丟下一句「我不做了」就頭也不回離開的階段,但對我來說,我知道我個人的價值,也知道如果我繼續堅持下去的話,我能為時尚產業帶來一些只有我才能做得到的改變。當然有些時候事情不會如我所料,我就靜靜地看著它發生、崩落,然後接受。


我對於我所有的情緒都大方接受,我不壓抑自己,我讓自己去感受那些最原初的情緒,但之後會將我自己一片片重新拾起、再次拼湊起來,也會尋求那些一直鼓舞我的人的意見。我很幸運,有一個很強大的家人朋友支持網。

時尚產業有時候真的讓人感受到它會吞噬一個人的熱情與夢想,不過我嘗試不去看這一面,越往深淵下望,越不可能達到你想去的地方。這個產業給了我很多難得的機會,並提供了一個我能展現創意的舞台。我無法想出有另外哪一個產業能更完美地讓我呈現我的創意,真的只有時尚產業,才能讓各種有才華、有能力的人,以他們自己的方式展露頭角。和你一起工作的人和團隊真的很重要,我有一群非常相信、支持我的後盾,他們總是會推促我盡可能地呈現我的創意,並且將我的夢想和熱情再往前推得更遠一點。』

「可以請妳分享在時尚產業裡工作最好和最壞的各一件事嗎?」

『我曾經跟一些最有創意、最有才華也最投入的人一起工作過,能遇見那些美好的人們大概是在時尚產業工作最好的一件事。最壞的一件事,大概是大多數人缺乏對於像我這樣的身心障礙人士應該要能自在地在時尚產業工作以及被更多人看見的理解。』

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


Jillian Mercado 曾經跟一些最有創意、最有才華也最投入的人一起工作過,他覺得能遇見那些美好的人們大概是在時尚產業工作最好的一件事。

 多元與包容不是假議題,而該是發自內心的接納,真不真誠時間久了大家都看得出來 

「妳是否會覺得,當今許多接納多元性與包容性的品牌,只是將這些當成行銷的噱頭以及獲得關注的手段?妳會如何解讀當今時尚產業對於多元性與包容性的作法?」

『我完全可以理解妳的這個提問,但我也得說,我們都得從某些地方開始。有很大的可能,品牌只是知道包容和多元不僅在時尚產業,在整個社會也逐漸被重視,跟上這波趨勢能讓品牌與時俱進,因此展開其多元性的參與。但即使如此,我們(身心障礙等非典型的時尚工作者)還是得繼續用這個「行銷手段」來讓更多人關注這個議題。不過時間一久,品牌是否真心希望能創造一個更平等、更友善的環境,大家都看得出來,沒有人喜歡不真誠的品牌。』

「從妳的角度出發,什麼是一個比較理想的多元、包容性的論述與實踐?」

『這非常簡單,只要傾聽就好,認真、用心地傾聽一直以來被忽視的群體怎麼說。如果你想達到真正的包容與多元,你需要好好聽聽別人在說些什麼,提供他們被世界看到的舞台,更重要的是,給予他們幕後工作的機會,並且真心相信將這群人納入團隊,是做這件事最好的方式。不只要在廣告裡呈現,也要反映在員工的雇用上。』

「身為在時尚產業裡提倡多元包容性的先鋒,這件事對妳而言的意義為何?」

『這表示我擁有很多人沒能擁有的獨特的觀點,我很努力推促時尚產業更接納像我這樣的身心障礙者。身體上的殘疾不該是任何一個人追求在時尚產業工作的障礙,從來不是。』

|主角級的穿衣哲學|恨比較容易痊癒,但愛才能讓人釋懷

|主角級的穿衣哲學| 「做衣如做人」,要學會穿什麼衣,得先學會什麼人穿什麼衣。 我不追逐流行,不遵循趨勢,我相信人是用個性在穿衣服,而完整的性格展露,全在電影服裝裡。 用三分歷史,七分想像,在找尋個人風格的路上,Yutopia跟你,一起看電影。 恨比較容易痊癒,但愛才能讓人釋懷 上

別用膚色束縛我站上伸展台的權利

別用膚色束縛我站上伸展台的權利 「我們是一群自然捲髮的有色模特兒,不到一個小時就要上台,但整個後台沒有半個工作人員願意過來幫我們處理妝髮,有幾個女孩去跟指揮者反應,但都被趕了回來;等到幾乎所有白色皮膚模特都安排妥當,最後二十分鐘才有幾個助手接近我們,但透過他們遲疑的眼神、粗魯的動作,你絕對能感受到他們的不屑一顧。

 身為一個各方面都非主流的人士,需要兩倍、三倍、十倍的努力 

「作為一位拉丁裔的身心障礙模特兒,妳會怎麼鼓勵和妳有類似背景的人,在時尚產業裡找到屬於自己的位置?」

『要努力,同時不斷學習、不停精進,並且再更努力一點,所以當你得到一個夢寐以求的面試甚至工作機會時,那些掌權的人就沒有藉口不雇用你,繼續將你排除在這個產業之外。但我必須說,身為一個少數族裔的身心障礙人士,需要雙倍的努力。有色人種的創意以及能力常常被忽略,但我們每天都在向世界證明我們的能力、證明我們值得這個產業好好珍惜我們,而身為一位身體有殘疾的女性,真的需要更多倍的努力,才能讓這些非主流的標籤不再是一個問題。』

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


「妳如何面對網路言語霸凌?可以請問妳對於實際生活中與網路上霸凌的看法嗎?」

『我沒有時間處理那些負面言論,也不想置身其中,讓那些負面情緒纏身,所以如果是直接找上我的個人頁面的,我會直接刪除並且封鎖,我年紀已經夠大了,不想讓這些負面的言論擾亂我平靜的一天。我有一個任務要完成,沒有人可以阻止我。

在現實生活中,我的確遇過很多不同的霸凌,其實那些霸凌者只是將恐懼以及不安施加在我身上,說真的,無論是生活中還是網路上的霸凌都應該要停止。』

「身為一位紐約客,妳如何看待紐約這座城市?妳會怎麼向沒來過紐約的人介紹它?」

『紐約是我的家,也是一個像避難所甚至聖殿一般的存在,一座乘載了我出生、成長的城市,他在我的心裡有著非常獨特的位置。我會說,紐約像一個自成一格的世界,世界上沒有任何一個地方能像紐約一樣,有各式各樣不同膚色、族裔、宗教以及能力的人口組成,一個你可以在半夜三點還能找到一家開著的衣索比亞餐廳的地方。』

多明尼哥裔、在紐約土生土長的 Jillian Mercado。

「妳會如何定義時尚?時尚對妳來說是什麼呢?」

『時尚是個和創意的世界接軌、並聯繫上世界所有有創意的人們的出口,它是一門自成一格、但每個人都能親近的語言。對我來說,時尚就跟呼吸、吃飯、睡覺一樣,是生活中正常存在而不可或缺的東西。』

後記

疫情當前,加之紐約又是重災區,很遺憾沒能和 Jillian 親自見面,面對面聊聊她在時尚產業闖蕩的歷程,然而透過幾次的信件往返,Jillian 的自信流露在她的字裡行間。她相信自己的獨一無二,相信自己與身俱來被賦予了任務——一個讓時尚產業更多元、更包容的使命。她希望透過她的努力、她的聲音,讓像她一般對時尚有憧憬但身體有障礙的人士,也能毫不保留地透過時尚展現個人的想法與創意。

2020年,病毒的肆虐讓整個時尚產業瞬間傾頹,Dries van Notan 夥同其他設計師,要求時尚產業重新正視時尚已經發展得過於快速的事實,他提出讓時尚的季節與真實的季節接軌,而這樣一來也可以推遲各大百貨、通路的季末折扣,進而提高品牌的利潤。2020年的這場災難或許會是整個時尚產業重組的好時機,也或許,產業裡多元性與包容性的課題,能因此再被落實得更徹底一些。

(English Version)

After the curtain fell and the cheering of Chromat’s Spring Summer 2020 show faded, I saw Jillian Mercado quietly wheeling herself out of Spring Studio. She didn’t gather around with other influencer friends to continuously take selfies and chit chat like most of the show-goers did. She just came to the show to support the brand embracing inclusivity and diversity. Fame and titles were not what she looked for when she decided to devote herself into fashion. She puts herself in the fashion frontline because she loves it, and because she knows she can make a difference in how the industry perceives disability.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


The 33-year-old model, actress and activist is different from the models we intuitively picture. Due to muscular dystrophy, Jillian Mercado grew up with her wheelchair, but her disability didn’t stop her from pursuing what she always wanted: participate in fashion. She has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, CR Fashion Book and more. She was once the face of Posture Magazine. In 2014, she landed on her first commercial campaign with Italian denim brand Diesel. The next year, she was signed by IMG Models, the international major model agency also managing all the big names: Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Cara Delevingne, the list goes on. In 2016, Mercado was announced one of the three models to be featured in the campaign of Beyoncé’s official website. She was on a gigantic billboard in Times Square in Olay’s Face Anything campaign in 2018. Not to mention she has starred in several campaigns for Nordstrom and other major players in the fashion and beauty industry.

How did she achieve all these?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


Jillian Mercado is a born and raised New Yorker with Dominican ancestry. Mercado’s father is a shoe salesman in Lower Manhattan, while her mother is a seamstress. Unlike her two sisters who would go on to watch cartoons, Mercado instead would sit beside her mother to watch her sew, asking questions like “What is the fabric? Why did you pick the color?” Her passion for fashion has been sewn into her blood in her upbringing.

Mercado attended FIT in the Fashion Merchandising program in 2006 learning everything business-related, while interning in various departments and teams in the fashion industry to familiarize herself with the real world of the industry. She also started her blog writing about fashion and documenting her personal style with the encouragement of her friends in FIT. She scored her first project with an online magazine called WE THE URBAN. During an event of the magazine, Mercado met the creative director of the Italian denim brand Diesel, which was the turning point for her in her career. One thing leads to another. And the rest is history.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


Mercado’s story proves to the world that fashion indeed belongs to everyone, no matter one’s race, ethnicity, age, body and gender, as long as you work hard enough.

 The Path to Fashion 

Do you think fashion education helps you get into the fashion industry? What’s your experience at FIT?

“I can only speak for myself, but it absolutely did. Studying in a fashion school enables you to be in the scene and peak into the industry without actually being in it. It also gives you a glimpse of what it would be like if you actually work in the industry. Going to FIT taught me all the tools about the business side of fashion. All the professors were actually people who have worked in the industry before and retired, so that gave me a different perspective when seeing fashion, a more personal one.”

You’ve mentioned multiple times in previous interviews that you’re very strategic in pursuing your dream and achieving what you want. How will you describe your strategy, or say, what’s the most important trait/personality that helps you achieve where you are right now?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


“My strategies are very personal. They are curated to make me achieve what I want in life, which I knew at a very young age. But I think that I just truly understand my value and worth in the world as a model, an actress or an advocate. I use that energy to study and become familiar with the industry, and then I dress accordingly to where I need to go. It's all about knowing your personal brand inside and out.”

As we know, you have been falling in love with fashion since very little and have been devoting yourself into it for years. Is there any point in life that you feel like fashion fails you? If so, how do you cope with that feeling? How do you know fashion is “the thing” for you while the reality of the industry somehow devours people of their passion and dreams?

“Absolutely all the time. There are times when I just want to quit, but that's just normal. Everybody goes through stages where they just want to throw in the towel. But as I said in my previous answer, I know my personal value and know what I can bring to the industry, which is unique and one-of-a-kind. So when things fail, which they will, I cope with a feeling by letting it happen. Whatever I am feeling, I allow myself to feel. It's only human to do so. But I pick myself up, and I talk to the people who inspire me the most to give me advice. I am lucky enough to have an amazing support system of family and friends.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


Sometimes the fashion industry can absolutely feel like it devours people's hopes and dreams. But I do my best not to look at it in a negative light so much or I’ll never succeed. The industry has given me so many amazing opportunities and platforms where I can express my creativity. I'm a creative person and there's nothing more creative that I can think of than the industry of fashion. It's all about the team that you surround yourself with. I personally have a team of people who believe in my craft and push me forward to allow me to be as creative as possible, to push my dreams and passions forward.”

What’s the best and worst thing you’ve ever encountered working in fashion?

“The best thing is definitely the people who work in fashion. The people I have had the privilege to work with are the most dedicated and creative people I know. They see way outside of the box where many have trouble accessing. The worst thing probably has to be the lack of understanding of how people like myself who have disabilities should be able to comfortably work and be seen in the industry where we also take a part as consumers.”


 Diversity and Inclusivity Within the Fashion Industry 

Do you feel like nowadays inclusivity and diversity has become a trendy and even a marketing tool for brands to win people’s attention? How will you interpret the current climate of diversity and inclusion in fashion?

“I can absolutely see how anybody can see that. But I also have to acknowledge that we have to start somewhere. So even though it may seem like this, it might be the one thing we can work on right now. Brands and companies actually understand that inclusivity and diversity is important not only for the industry, but for everyone. We'll have to continue to use this ‘marketing tool’ to get more people’s attention. But in the long run, if this is just a trend for brands to do so, then people (the public) will see it. Nobody likes an unauthentic brand.”

From your perspective, what’s a better narrative and execution to address inclusivity and diversity in fashion?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


“It's extremely simple. Just to listen, listen to the communities that need to be highlighted which have been invisible for the longest time. If you actually want to be diverse and include everyone, you have to listen to others, give them the platform in front of the scenes, but most importantly the positions behind the scenes, and truly understand that it is the way to go. If you are a company for the public, it should reflect in your advertising. Listen to the communities being affected the most and hire them. Everything starts just by listening.”

What does it mean to you as a pioneer in bringing diversity into fashion?

“It means that I have a unique perspective that many if not all people have. Understanding that I use it to push forward the idea that people like myself who have disabilities should be able to work in the industry, that disability should never stand in the way of that.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


 Some Personal Touches 

As a disabled  Latina model, what will you tell people of color and people with disabilities to do to score their spot in the ever-evolving yet hierarchical fashion industry?

“Work, study, and work some more, so that when you get the opportunity of that interview or job of your dream, there will be no excuse for them not to hire you and involve you in the industry. With that said, I do have to warn that we will always have to work twice as hard as any other individual. And once you understand that, you can beat their lack of acknowledgment for the disability community. People of color already get undermined by their excellence, but yet we prove everyone every single day how intelligent and worth we are to the industry. Adding disability to the Miss is just another layer of working hard until this question is no longer one to ask.”

How do you deal with hate comments and messages? What’s your take on physical bullying and online bullying? Do you have any experience you could share with us?


“I don't have time for that, so I don't involve or engage in any hate comments. Also if it's directly on my profile, I just delete and block. I'm too old to fall for negative comments to ruin my day. I'm on a mission and no one can stop that. There are many experiences, unfortunately. I've been in this situation, but it all came down to people projecting their fears and insecurities towards me. They saw that I was absolutely okay to be someone who has a visible physical disability and their fears and insecurities took over. Bullying altogether should stop.”

As a New Yorker, how do you feel about New York City? How would you describe the city to people who’ve never been here before?

“New York is my home, my Sanctuary, where I was born and raised. He holds such a special heart to me. I would describe the city as being a world of its own. There is no place in the world like New York where you can find every single type of race, ethnicity, religion, ability living on one island, a place where you can find an Ethiopian restaurant at 3 in the morning.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

jillian mercado(@jillianmercado)分享的貼文 張貼


How do you define fashion? What does fashion mean to you?

“Fashion is an outlet to a world of creativity where it connects to people around the world. It's a language of its own that we all have access to. fashion is what I breathe, eat and sleep every single day.”

Jillian Mercado is indeed one of a kind - she’s confident, characteristic and she believes she has a mission to accomplish, a mission to push the fashion industry to be more inclusive and diverse. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging the whole world and crippling the fashion industry, it is perhaps a great time to rethink fashion and realign the whole system. Inclusivity and diversity might be core to the redefinition of the fashion industry.

 

◎Photo Via:INSTAGRAM, Jillian Mercado


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