Jenna started her brand, Jenna Gagnier, in 2019. She has been sewing since around 2008, when she was ten years old. Throughout her childhood, she was captivated by design in all its facets. Her overwhelming collection of sketchbooks from this time is a testament to her love for fashion, they can be found filled with doodley croquis and many very wild original designs. At age eight, Jenna literally “wrote the book” on fashion. A compilation of types of sleeves, skirt lengths, and even her own fashion criticism. She enjoyed participating in camps every summer at the Memorial Art Gallery, in Rochester, her hometown in upstate New York. As well as art, she studied ballet and piano, and as she grew into a young adult she dove into the world of voice. She took every appropriate class, elective, and after-school activity she could from ages 16 on, learning about music theory, solo and ensemble performance, and was even a part of her school’s brass section, on trombone. All the while her sewing skills were slowly developing.
As the prospect of college came onto her horizon, Jenna went back to her first passion: design. Her physical art once again became an obsession. Much of her most prized work from this time is still on display in her current studio space. Working primarily in ink and watercolor, she felt like she was back where she belonged. As the self-inflicted pressure and stress of doing well in her academics began to weigh on her more and more. During this period she bounced around a slew of different health professionals’ offices. Inevitably she incurred a partial hospitalization. As her hobbies, like sewing, became evermore necessary, her motivation seemed to fade altogether. After about three years of physical and social isolation, things began to look promising.
Through a friend of a friend, Jenna (left the house and) secured a six month internship at a local high-end brand. This experience brought with it a great deal of transformation for her. Her mentor, the founder of the brand, pushed her to do many new things, with awesome success. One of those things was a promise, on her twenty-first birthday she committed to the task of embarking upon a journey which would bring her to where she is today. The design-heavy work she did at her first job prepared her for some of what she was going to encounter. But truly the confidence and business knowledge instilled her by her mentorship are what paved so much of the way. In August of 2019, after 4 months of designing and sewing, she brought forth her Debut collection. From the beginning the Jenna Gagnier brand mission included sustainability as a key value. All of the materials for that premier line of clothing were purchased at Sew Green, in Rochester. This place became everything to her, sourcing beautiful fabrics which were often vintage and always secondhand was a breeze with Sew Green. The people working there have given and continue to give so much support to this day.