A Conversation With Jordan McKay of HENDRIXROE

This week marks Jordan McKay and HENDRIXROE move to their iconic new home at Toronto Fashion Week. As always. Miss McKay managed to dazzle and awe her audience. Earning another standing ovation. Often times when a designer’s star rises, the newfound fame can sometimes overwhelm and change a designer, however, Jordan remains the exact same fashion heroine she was when she started her now famous brand all of those years ago.

Recently Novella sat down with the designer to find out what makes her who she is and how she shaped HENDRIXROE into the powerhouse it is today.

What makes HENDRIXROE different from other contemporary brands in Canada?

Jordan McKay – I’ve always felt like I was the underdog when it came to fashion. Heres this quiet girl from Saskatchewan, designing alongside these veterans in the Canadian fashion game. So it always felt like I had so much to prove for my sake and the brand’s sake. Other than that, I think it really comes down to the clothes themselves. The manufacturers I work with for the brand put quality first just like I do. I think that really makes Hendrix Roe what it is. I love what I do and it has to be perfect. So what we want to give everyone is a brand built on love. Cause that’s what HENDRIXROE is really about. Making something that can bring people together.

Photo: Toronto Fashion Week

So what gives HENDRIXROE it’s iconic look?

JM – People think the brand is just this kind of head-banging heavy metal brand because we play rock music during the runway show, which isn’t completely wrong, but that’s not everything it is. If you really look at the designs and the clothes there’s a ton of references in there that aren’t just rock and roll. I’m super inspired by hip-hop, the 70’s, and the 80’s and think you can really see that in a lot of the collections. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been that girl that listened to Metallica and all that, but that isn’t everything the HENDRIXROE is. It’s really about self-expression, you know? Being able to speak up and be who you are. That’s badass.

Photo: Toronto Fashion Week

What made you into the person you are today?

Jordan McKay – When I was in high school I had no voice. I was super quiet and shy. So that ended with getting bullied and just going through a lot of struggles during that time. But don’t get me wrong, I did go through all of that but at the end of the day, I’m a very privileged girl. Blonde, blue eyes, and white. For all of the things I’ve gone through, I know I have a hell of a lot of privilege compared to so many people out there. I recognize that. I think that’s what really made who I am today. Having to open myself up and find my voice. I think a lot of people think that I’ve just always been this crazy, loud, bubbly girl but it took a hell of a lot of work to get me to open up and be comfortable in my own skin. Even now with everything happening so fast and the brand getting so much recognition, it feels like barely have any time do just like sit down, take a breath, and say “you’ve got this kid.” Cause I’m not used to this sort of thing, even after being around for a few seasons. I still sometimes feel like that quiet girl I was back then. Cause I won’t lie, it can get overwhelming really quickly. I think another really big part of what shaped me as a person is that I really am inspired by the people who fight for love. I like to call them the warriors of love. It’s all of these people around the world that are trans, gay, bi, LGBT, people of colour, minorities, all of these oppressed people who have to fight every day to just earn the right to love who they want. Like that’s my real inspiration, if that makes any sense. The people who fight for love and a voice in this world.

Photo: Toronto Fashion Week

What message do you think HENDRIXROE sends to the Canadian fashion audience?

Jordan McKay – Honestly it’s about acceptance. There are so many people who just get beaten down every day. They’re marginalized and singled out for just trying to live their lives. For me, and I can only hope this is what comes across with me and the brand is that I get you. I get the pain and the silence. I get you and I hear and I love. When I was bullied in high school I didn’t have that opportunity to have someone give me that chance to find my voice and be completely transparent. So I need to make sure that the people around me who feel like they can’t speak up or say what they truly need to say have an outlet for that. It really comes down to HENDRIXROE being an outlet for those who don’t feel accepted to find that acceptance. To feel like they have a safe space and that they have a tribe and they have a family. I never want to speak for someone, but with the brand, I can truly feel like I can speak for you when times are hard, if you need that support, until you finally feel ready to let your voice be heard. I think that’s so important. To fight for those people. I hope that’s what everyone really sees when they see HENDRIXROE.

Photos: Toronto Fashion Week

What direction do you see HENDRIXROE taking in the near future?

Jordan McKay – International. Definitely international. You know, sometimes I find myself getting messages from all of these amazing people saying they love the brand and they love what I’m doing and I just sit there thinking “holy crap, how the hell do they even know who I am?” But for sure international. And I know everything is going online now, but I think another really big step I’d love to take is having a store. Like an actual HENDRIXROE store. I love people. So I still feel like we as people need that human touch. I think that’s what makes the brand so different too. It’s not unapproachable, I’m not unapproachable. I want to have that personable experience, you know what I mean. And I think you can really get that in a store. A nice stand-alone store. Not in a mall… No, never a mall. They weird me out. I’ve never been a mall girl.

A big congratulations to Jordan for another stunning show. We know Canada and the world are dying to see what you’ll do next. With all our love from Novella magazine!

Photo: Toronto Fashion Week