We had the good fortune of connecting with Xania Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Xania, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I like to think of risks as necessary decisions that can only propel you forward. Whatever risk you decide to take will either bring you closer to achieving your goals or it will teach you a valuable lesson that can be applied to future situations. Taking risks has played a BIG part in my career! Upon graduating college, I took a risk and moved 800 miles away from home to New York City. Once I got there, I would only accept jobs or gigs that I felt aligned with my passion for fashion and being creative. I consider myself a strategical risk taker who intentionally thinks about all possible outcomes before taking risks. But, when it’s time for me to jump I’m ALL in. That approach has lead me to some amazing opportunities, such as pursuing my dream career in costumes for TV & Film. I even recently relocated back to Georgia and although this is my home state, it was risky for me to leave everything I had built over the last three years in NYC and start fresh here.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is visual story telling. Since I can remember I’ve always expressed myself through my personal style and through drawing. I always knew I wanted to work in fashion, but it wasn’t until I moved to NYC and started pursuing my career that I figured out my dream job is to be a Costume Designer for TV & Film. Upon moving to NYC I started my summer internship and after 10 weeks of being there I fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the city. I decided to stay long term and I started to assist Fashion Stylists on editorial shoots and during fashion shows. I even worked a corporate job at a Buying Office and was a Project Manger for a Creative Agency at one point. It wasn’t until September 2018 at a fashion week event hosted by Costume Designer Ruth Carter that it finally clicked — “I’m going to be a Costume Designer one day.” Hearing her talk about the research and design process for Black Panther truly intrigued me. Without Costume Design, a character is just words on a script. It is the job of the Costume Designer and their department to visually bring that character to life so that the audience believes that their story is real. As a natural born story teller and lover of fashion, this career path seemed destined for me to pursue. By October 2018, I got my first gig as a Costume Production Assistant and since then I’ve worked on shows such as Instinct on CBS, The Duece on HBO, and Power Book II: GHOST on Starz just to name a few. After two years as a Costume Production Assistant, I’ve moved up to Costume Buyer. My younger self would be proud that I actually get to shop for a living haha! What sets me apart from others is that I truly believe no job is too big or too small, as long as I have an opportunity to learn I’m down to do it! It amazes me how I’ve only showed my resume twice in the past 3 years and I believe it’s because my work ethic speaks for itself. My journey thus far has not been easy, but I always keep my “Why?” at the forefront of my mind to help me persevere. The sooner you define your “Why?”, the better off you’ll be because you’ll be able to recognize when an opportunity is aligned with your goal. I’ve learned that just because an opportunity may sound good, does not mean it’s the right opportunity for you. I’m excited to continue cultivating my skills and finding new ways to express my creative ideas! My best friend Devyn Rogers and I have been working on a passion project where we’ve taken and iconic childhood film and redesigned the costumes according to the story we want to tell. He’s an amazing fashion illustrator and all around creative and together we always make magic. We are treating it like a real film and have had numerous meetings discussing historical research, our ideal cast, as well as costume concepts for each character. I can’t wait until it’s finalized and we can release it to the world! I am my brand and that’s why I refer to it as The X Lifestyle — it’s more than a brand it’s literally my life. I don’t follow trends and I don’t claim to create them either. I just move to the beat of my own drum while putting my passion and creative energy into things that truly resonate with me. Outside of my day job as a Costume Buyer, I also offer personal styling and closet organization services. I’ve also been diving deeper into researching veganism and Naturopathic medicine. My “Why?” doesn’t just stop at helping people look good, but it is something that I believe will holistically benefit anyone that I encounter along this journey.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve only been living here for 6 months. but I’ve definitely developed a list of favorite spots! Restaurants: Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen & Bar – an authentic taste of the Gullah Geechee culture I grew up in! Carrot Dog ATL – As a flexitarian, I love delicious vegan food! Juicy Crab – seafood … need I say more?! Pasha – a Mediterranean spot with great food, drinks, music and good vibes! Little Trouble – An intimate eatery with delicious Asian street food. Activities: East Palisades Indian Trail – There’s a bamboo forest at the top that is a must see! Roswell Mill – I love the sight and sound of waterfalls and how peaceful it is out there. Ponce City Market- They have a beautiful view of the city and good food and drinks. SCAD Fashion Museum- I love the history of fashion! Shopping: Atlanta has some nice malls, but I prefer going to thrift stores and antique shops. I could spend hours looking for one of a kind pieces and old books to add to my growing fashion library! Here are some of the places I’ve found hidden gems: Desperate Housewares Goodwill (Buckhead and Marietta) My Favorite Place Little Five Points
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Aside from God, I could not have gotten this far in my career without the guidance of my mentor Rebecca Force and her organization Style and Lead. Through Style and Lead I was able to learn a wealth of knowledge that allowed me to truly stand out once I was able to get my foot in the door. Beyond that, Style and Lead has become a community for me to lean on full of likeminded individuals who also work in my field of costumes and fashion.