Style Profile: Jahlina Akleh

Meet Jahlina. She is a graduated student of the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising program at the Academy of Design in Toronto, a full time Visual Merchandiser at Urban Planet in Cobourg, and a part time Runway Teacher at Mode Elle in Belleville. Jahlina sure knows how to put together the latest looks on the mannequins, and how to put herself together as well. She not only follows Urban Planet's head office book and suggestions, but she also puts her own personal touch into her work. She is even trusted to head up to the Whitby Urban Planet on a regular basis, to help with their visual merchandising as well. 
Jahlina has been a staff member at Mode Elle for two years now, at the Canadian Model and Talent Convention. She has also been teaching lately; She instructs aspiring models about runway posing, posture, and poise. Jahlina is highly looked up to in this industry, especially by her students. With her sweet personality and years of experience, whoever enters her class is sure to be inspired and taught things they will surely remember.
Being a model on the side, Jahlina sure knew how to strike a pose for me while I was photographing her! Read about her experiences in her lovely interview below.

Mikayla: 

What are some of your favourite pieces in your closet?

Jahlina:

I'd definitely have to start off by saying my shoe collection! (Because you can't just have one favourite heel, the more the better!) My Micheal Kors watch is my favourite accessory, and I do love my oversized t-shirts - they are perfect to pair with a nice pair of jeans and an accent jewelry piece.

Mikayla:

How does your style reflect who you are as a person?

Jahlina:

I love mixing pieces and wearing things that express how I'm feeling that day, I don't necessarily follow trends, I just like being comfortable and would consider myself to be an outgoing person, and like trying new things! I believe that my style matches that exactly.



Mikayla:

What was your favourite thing about the program you took at the Academy of Design?

Jahlina:

At the Academy of Design, I had teachers that were very well known and in the fashion industry. They knew what they were talking about and I learned so much from them and their first hand knowledge.

Mikayla:

Do you think that it prepared you enough for the work force in that area?

Jahlina:

I think so; It was a very hands on program and I had a lot of material/work to do in a short period of time, which helped me cope with the pressure of time management. One class I took was strictly visual merchandising, and that's how I found out what I wanted to do with my career. I have always loved fashion but never knew where to go with it! The school definitely opened up a lot of avenues for me.



Mikayla:

Do you ever feel pressured as a fashion merchandiser? Or are you ever stuck and unsure of what to put together? 

Jahlina:

Very much so, there are always time limits and rules to be followed like every job. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so when something doesn't work out, or I don't have the products to create the beautiful walls head office wants, I get a little frustrated. I simply just walk away and take a break from what I'm doing in order to refresh myself. You can never get anywhere with a frazzled mind!

Mikayla:

When creating an outfit combination for mannequins at work, what do you look for? Colour? Symmetry? Accents? 

Jahlina:

Every wall display I do is always by colour, I then use prints/patterns and bust forms to to create symmetry in the wall so everything is clean and makes sense! (I can be pretty picky.) On the other hand, mannequin displays can go any which way, so it's all depending on what feel I'm going for, I normally choose by what product is in the store and use trendy pieces to create looks I hope will catch the customer's eye.

Mikayla:

Describe the last display you put together. What were the mannequins dressed like? What trends, styles, colours, etc? 

Jahlina:

The most recent visual project I did was a big one...! In 3 days I switched a whole Urban Planet store around to get ready with our fall/back to school products. It consisted of a 6 panel wall of jeans, a sweat pant wall, hoodie wall, yoga pant wall and the list goes on and on. Each of the walls had their own marketing poster/mannequins and stickers to go on the walls and shelves, and specific folds for the pants needed to be followed. The colours in the walls always go from lightest to darkest and by style when dealing with bottoms. 

Mikayla:

What are your future plans? Are you leaning more towards a modeling industry, or visual merchandiser?

Jahlina:

At this point in my life I'm really enjoying both, and multi-tasking between the two. I would like to see within the next year or two where they take me, and decide then!




Mikayla:

What kind of advice would you give to a young, aspiring model?

Jahlina:

BE CONFIDENT. The modeling industry is a tough industry. It may look very glamorous, and can be, but it takes work to get to that stage. You have to be able to take criticism and turn it into something to work on. You are going to hear a lot of "no's" before you hear that one yes, but you need to believe in yourself!

Mikayla:

Being a teacher to young individuals, what do you think is most important that they learn from you and about walking on the runway? (I know that appearance is very strict in the modeling industry, and some younger girls may find it hard to find self confidence. Do you try to help them with that as well?)

Jahlina:

Definitely the number one thing is confidence!! I am very clear with my students that you have to love yourself and be confident in who you are and what you do, in order to succeed. Not only in the modeling industry, but life as well. I teach my students (both male and female) the proper poise and posture for the runway, then I teach them various turns and poses to use on the runway. I always remind them to be confident and not to be scared in my class. They are there to learn and can ask me any questions they like. I'm there to guide them and critique them to help them get to where they need to be, and get them ready for what's to come in the modeling industry.

What Jahlina Wore:

Pants, Bracelet - Garage //
Shoes (wedges) - Spring //
Earrings - Urban Planet //

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