By Jacob Galvin
For Jazmin Zayas, there’s no settling for contemporary. The real estate of looking fierce is all in the eyes and, let’s face it, space is limited. Avant-Garde artist, designer and eyelash stylist, Zayas, brought bleeding edge designs to the Fall 2016 Emerging Designers Exhibition Gauntlet (E.D.G.E) and took home the title.
The question of denim versus leather nightwear was answered, but no one was listening. They were too concerned with the eyes, better yet the eyelashes. Textures, brought to life with fabrics, feathers, flowers—on features blended, molded and contoured to elicit fierce ‘70s looks were controlled on Zayas’ models but had an inspiration and inventiveness that was as bright and dazzling as tropical birds or exotic sea corals.
“A reaction I get is people ask ‘Did you make that? Where did you get that?’ and they’re blown away that I hand craft each piece, every detail on the eye and eyelash,” she said.
Zayas won the 2016 Fall Fashion E.D.G.E competition held at GILT nightclub. Her unique eyelash art captured the crowd, despite the fierce competition and differences between Fashion E.D.G.E and other exhibitions Zayas had competed in the past.
“I was given a theme versus ‘I use whatever,’ so it was slightly challenging. It was challenging not having adequate lighting, I had to work with club lighting. So I had all the girls hold up their phones like flashlights. All I was thinking was I will make this work,” Zayas said.
“That and the fact that I had to go against other artists that weren’t doing the same thing I was doing. I was thinking, is it gonna be good? Am I gonna stand out? Or am I going to get lost in the background because they’re going to be looking at the clothes and the bigger stuff. That was the biggest difference.”
Her style has to be as meticulous as is it visual. It’s more than a first impression. Her specialty is eyelashes; in a polite conversation the eyes are all the other person should be looking at.
“I want people to understand anything can be considered art and anything can be considered beauty, what it takes is bringing out that beauty. Everything is a little piece and I want to bring out the art in it.”
As for what inspires Zayas most and where she finds her little pieces to bring the beauty out of, she said, “It’s the weird stuff, working on all the details.”
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Clermont, an early life with three brothers saw a younger Zayas playing outside and exploring the woods near their home. When she wasn’t in her room experimenting with an arts and craft glue gun.
She studied skincare and electrology at the Florida College of Natural Health. Then she would receive tutelage directly under Kit Stephenson of iLashWorks.
Zayas had designs in Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week in 2014 and won the Lash Wars Fantasy Lash Art competition. She was a finalist the following year in Lash Inc. Magazine’s Lash Artist of the Year competition, as well as showcasing designs for the Runway to Hope charity event.
Zayas has been active with the St. Pete Fashion Week and Nude Night Orlando, in addition to her victory at Fashion E.D.G.E.
As far as her goals, traveling is important, but at the end of the day what’s most important is her art. “I wanna go to Japan—that’s one of the big ones, and I want to go to Paris. All over the world. Everywhere I go I want to collaborate with the biggest designer there, whether it’s handbags, clothes, accessories, whatever. I want to collaborate with them and make some art with them.”
With respect to her process, when Zayas is working at home, you can bet Lil’ Wayne will be playing the background,
“I don’t normally listen to it, but when I’m working I just love trap music,” she said.
And you can bet she will have an odd assortment of tools and materials at her disposal.
“Everything. Everything from straws to toothpicks, anything. It’s mostly tweezers, I’ve ruined so many tweezers with glue, when things get stuck on it. But anything. Just like my materials, my tools are anything.”
Zayas’ selection of tools and materials may seem odd but is, in fact, very intentional.
“My art is taking what is ‘every day’ and pushing those boundaries.”
The work, however, can be bittersweet.
“Because everything I make, I pride myself on this, they are all one of a kind. I’m never going to recreate this one look again. I might do something similar with some of the stuff I use, but it’s never, ever, gonna be the same look. They go home with that on their face and they can’t take it off and reuse it. Once it’s off it’s ruined. It makes me very sad. So I take as many pictures as I can.”
While it can be doleful to letting go of her completed projects, the process is a liberating one for her.
“I feel in the zone. I feel free, because it’s my time to do what I want without anybody’s directions, instructions, restrictions. Whatever I’ve got in my crazy art vomit brain. It’s whatever I have up there, I can do it. So it’s very freeing.”
What comes next? Zayas is planning for the RAX showcase and has the grand opening of her Thornton Park studio on the horizon.
On the subject of the upcoming Fashion E.D.G.E, Zayas had some words of advice for the competitors.
“I’m gonna pass on the same advice that was given to me because I actually asked David President, the winner of the last Fashion E.D.G.E competition. I went on Instagram and I found him I said, ‘I plan on winning the E.D.G.E competition, so do you have any tips for me?’
He said, ‘stick to what you know and let your light shine through.’
And I took that and held onto it and that is exactly what I did. I stuck to what I know, which is the funky, crazy, weird lashes, and I let me shine through. What you see is me and I think that is why I won. Because I stuck to what is real to me. And if anybody asks me, I’m gonna tell them the exact same thing.”
She said you anything can be put on the eyes, which is a task she learned the hard way when she put too much on the eyes of the “poor girls.”
For more information about Orlando International Fashion Week, please visit orlandointernationalfashionweek.com. Mark your calendars for the 2017 shows!