Tapping rising stars Sainté, Kim Turnbull and TJ Sawyerr, Tommy Jeans celebrate a new era of icons.
TJ: I am an image maker and story teller, by means of creative direction, styling and fashion/culture journalism. I have always found it to be essential that I am, primarily, doing what I love, so that is a large reason for why I decided to actively forge a career in fashion. That, paired with the potential for the implementation of change, the enlightenment of a younger generation and the elevation of marginalised individuals who come from where I come from, forms the perfect justification for me to continue in this field and work hard everyday.
Sainté: I am a musician/artist from the city of Leicester. I started as a sports student working part time and playing basketball up to early 2020 when I began to test my curiosity on the road with my teammates. Freestyling on the bus and at training, I guess I just decided to release some music - I don’t remember what exactly I was thinking at the time. It all just happened so naturally and organically. I never realised myself that my career was switching up like that. To this moment in my career I feel like I’m still processing it all, as it’s not been that long since the start of it all (Covid-19). I guess I could say one thing I’ve noticed is that each and every milestone has been a healthy small step to the other!
Kim: I’m a DJ - I never intended on doing it as a career I just picked it up when I was 17 as a hobby and my dad taught me and I loved it. After a few years people started asking me to play out and I realised I had something I genuinely loved that was organic that I could do as a job & it just grew from there.
TJ: I have always taken profound interest in Black boundary breakers across industries. Growing up, sports was my avenue, so I frequently looked up to guys like Usain Bolt and Thierry Henry as bench marks for human capability. Then as I developed interests in creative spheres, through my teens, the Virgil's, the Tremaine's, the Sam Ross' were my examples of elevated excellence from humble origin. However, certainly to begin with, the success of these guys didn’t seem immediately attainable, as I had no proximity to them at all, as a 14/15 year old hopeful. It was when I met people like Martine Rose and Nadine Ijewere, Black women at the very top of their field, who showed interest in me at that time, before I knew myself to have value in this space, that really spurred me on to be great and made me believe that I had something to offer in this industry.
Sainté: My family, my friends and all my close ones. That’s first and simple. Of course my environment! My home town plays a part in how I've grown up I believe. Having that underdog mentality and drive for success. It’s just something I’ve always had in me and I pray it never changes.
Kim: My dad and the people I grew up around were a big inspiration, both musically and also skill wise. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do growing up but my love of music was something I was always super sure of. Dj'ing was the first thing I’ve ever done that I genuinely saw myself doing long term in terms of thinking about long term career paths.
TJ: I think, for years, fashion has thrived off of categorising things and people. You are either a designer, or a photographer, or a stylist - it hasn’t really occurred until recent generations that people can branch across numerous disciplines in their careers. I am keen to go a step further and show how it is possible to fulfil numerous roles within the same production, having the ability to work 360 as the talent, director, stylist and producer on any given project, while breaking youth stereotypes as well, as a particularly young creator. Hopefully this will catalyse a new age of ultra versatile, youthful talent and bring a wave of new ideas to the forefront.
Kim: As a women in a mostly male dominated industry, I hope I can inspire other girls around me as so many other women have done for me. It’s all about representation, and I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by boss women who have paved the way for people like me, so I hope I can do the same for others. People are also often quick to judge women and think we just get jobs based on what we look like, or just because they needed a girl on the line up. But some of the sickest DJs I know are women & we’re finally beginning to be taken seriously & get the respect we deserve in the industry through letting out work show for itself.
Sainté: That’s just a question you have to watch unfold itself. I don’t really think of it much or think that way because I feel like I would approach all my work differently. I’ve always been a chill, laidback guy. All about good vibes and others. I hope that’s what everything takes from my music. Community vibes.