In Their Own Fashionable Words ....CJAJ09.COM - My African Closet


Hello my lovelies !!

Here is finally the very overdue interview of one of my favorite brand,
I have bought a few garments as you can see below from the African-British designer and I am a very happy customer.
I then wanted to know more about the vision of the designer and what motivated her and sharing it with you.

Outfit1                                            Outfit 2                                                Outfit 3

You can have a look HERE and HERE at previous designer interviews of our "In Their Own Fashionable Words" series.

Are you a designer and would also like to feature on the blog and tell us more about your brand ?
Do not hesitate to contact me by email:

Thank you for reading and do not hesitate to comment !!

1.     Could you introduce yourself to the readers.

Hello guys, my name is AJ Taylor.

 I design for and run CJAJ09, an online clothing store.

 The brand specializes in African print clothing, 
and making it easily accessible and affordable

2.     Please describe your journey to fashion design.

I have always been interested in fashion and clothing growing up.
 I really got the bug in my late teens years when I started to read and 
research a lot more into fashion.
 It was just  a hobby and also started reading a lot of fashion blogs. 
It all culminated in me buying my first sewing machine at age 20 
and teaching myself to sew and design. 
The rest, I guess, is history in the making.

3.     What are your main sources of inspirations ?

I mainly find inspiration from the people I want to see wearing my clothes.
 I look to design clothes that enhance the personality of the wearer 
whilst allowing them to represent Africa in a bold and obvious way. 
So I’m always looking at people everywhere 
and trying to pick up on the vibes they give off 
and then trying to decide what would fit them. 
That’s where most of my designs start.

4.     Five words to describe your creations.

Bold African Print Pieces that tell Stories. 
(sorry, I know that’s six words)

5.     For you a creative day starts with …

Any day for me always starts with prayer and some time to be just quiet. 
I then plan and prioritize my day, then hit the studio. 
Once I’m in the studio however, there is no set routine.
 I can be doing anything from answering emails
 to setting up photo shoots 
to making post office runs to client consultations 
to blogging and social media stuff or whatever comes up.

6.     Which aspects of your activity do you enjoy the most? 
The least?

I would have to say I’m not a big fan of editing photos,
 it’s very long process that mostly involves hours sitting at a desk, 
staring at a computer screen. 
I do however enjoy looking back over the photos once they are done and look good. 
Apart from that, the rest is pretty fun. 
Custom making dresses for individual clients is a fun challenge, 
especially when it comes to merging their ideas with what will work best for them 
and what can be done.

7.     Do you have any other passions outside of fashion ?

Outside of fashion, I sing, I dance, I edit a Christian youth magazine.
 I’m also an avid reader amongst many others.
 Actually, I just realised I may have a few too many interests, lol

8.     What’s you hidden talent ?

I don’t think I have any hidden talents, 
and if I do, then its very well hidden, even from me. lol (I know, lame joke) 
but I can speak in a helium voice, without any helium.

9.     Which celebrity would you love to design for ?
( Present or past )

I would have to say Tilda Swinton. 
Her sense of style is very hard and androgynous and
 she tends to favor a clean palette of mostly neutral colours.
 I actually really love her sense of style and her boldness
 but I would love the challenge of making her fall in love 
with something feminine, printed and colourful.

10.  Describe your “perfect” customer ?

I don’t think I have a perfect customer, just be experimental 
and ready to have some fun with clothes  and you’re ok with me.

11.  How do you select your fabric and materials ?

I always start with the African prints.
 I mostly go for stuff that catches my eye, bold, beautiful and universally appealing.
 I especially love it if it has a story behind it or if it’s something I remember my grandmother wearing. 
Then I pick other fabrics and materials to complement that. 
Sometimes, mostly when I’m working on a particular collection, 
I’ll go with a theme and a colour palette and pick fabrics based on that.

12.  Describe the birth of one of your creations ?

My creative process starts in different ways. 
Sometimes, I come up with a concept and design from there and sometimes, 
I see something that gets me going or I find a print that immediately makes me think of a style that will be perfect. 
Once the style is finalized in my head, I try to write it down as descriptively as possible and then I have to sew I as soon as possible because I don’t sketch and I may forget. 
Once I get sewing or picking fabrics, I may make tweaks or changes.

13.  Do you remember your very first customer ?

The first piece I ever made was a skirt for my roommate back in university. 
It was a mini skirt made from a pink fabric with a burgundy shell print and it had a bow on the back. 
She didn’t pay for it so strictly speaking, I guess she’s not a customer. 
She’s now one of my closest friends. 
She still has the skirt and she says she will sell it when I become famous.

14.  How do you promote your brand ?

Our promotion is mainly online. 
Via Facebook, Twitter, my blog, My African Closet,I keep in touch with my customers through emails and our Facebook page
We also have a regularly updated Youtube channel and are working on a quarterly online magazine/catalogue, called Ankara Lifeshowcasing not just our stuff 
but the stuff of other designers using African prints that we are loving. 
We’ve done one issue so far and the next issue should be out soon.

15.  What do you think of the emergence of African designers and African –inspired fashion ?

I love this emergence as far as designers and showcases for African fashion goes, 
a mark is definitely being made in the mainstream. 
There are more and more designers and platforms, both in Africa and abroad. 
I think the only problem is making the clothes easily accessible, and getting African fashion out there in such a way that it can compete with high street brands and shops. 
I think that after supporting our designers and getting them out there, it’s now time to establish out shops and get our clothes into the big high street shops and make them available to anyone at all who wants them, especially outside Africa.

16.  What advice could you give to someone who wants to launch his own fashion brand ?

I would say go for it but understand that it’s a lot of hard work. Also, have a personal sense of style and a design ethos. Know what your style is and who you are designing for. You don’t just have to know about design, but also about business and marketing. You have to be ready to network and put yourself out there and you have to be on it and stay innovative 24/7 and that’s not always easy. 
But the rewards are so worth it.

 To get AJ's wonderful garments and accessories, please visit her website HERE.
You can also contact her by email at

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16 commentaires

  1. This is amazing. I loved the interview and her fashion designing skills is amazing.

  2. Très jolis looks!
    Deltrey de deltreylicious blog mode et beauté

  3. Love the look doll!!! You look gorgeous!
    Check out my page for similar looks! I think you’d love it! <3

    -xoxo, Jessi

  4. Les looks sont magnifiques !
    Bonne soirée
    Maria de

  5. Les Robes sont magnifique

    New post on my blog:
    IG @chachartsy

  6. Wonderful!!! I invite you to my giveaway here

  7. so gorgeous and chic!
    what do you think about following each other? follow me and I'll follow you inmediately back!!!

  8. J'adore


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