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Arjuna Durrant

 

1. Who is Arjuna Durrant?  

I'm the founder and designer of Jytte Designs, an ethically made luxury leather brand based in Detroit. I launched Jytte Designs in December of 2020 after loosing my day job due to COVID lockdowns. I found myself at home with my 2 year old son unsure of when I would be able to find safe childcare or return to work. So I decided to build my own business, working from home and caring for my son. I spent the summer of 2020 designing my first collection of leather handbags and launched the collection that December. The mission of Jytte Designs is to create ethically made, luxury handbags made entirely in Detroit; from the first sketch to the final product.  

2. How do you define fashion and or style?

I would define style as the unique combinations of color, pattern, and shapes that a person chooses to wear when they step out into the world. Whether its super ornate and attention grabbing or very plain and minimal, whatever makes you feel comfortable in your own skin is your personal style.  

3. What influences your style? ie travel, work, movies, magazines, social media trends, celebrities, color, etc.  

My personal style is a mix of thrifted items, vintage treasures, independent designers and homemade pieces. I’ve always been more inspired by the past than the present and I try not to follow trends but rather stay true to my personal style. I love looking through old photographs of my parents for inspiration. My mom had a really unique look that’s inspired me since high school. I still have several of her pieces in my closet today: a custom leather jacket, a silk top and summer dress she made with fabric she screen-printed herself. I even have some of my great-grandmothers fireside skirts and a fur  coat. I love mixing these heirloom pieces in with more modern items.  

I also get a lot of inspiration from people watching. Detroit is a great place for this. There are so many people here who rock a really unique individual style rather than conforming to the latest trends. It’s really sweet to just go to a cafe and watch the people come and go. 

4. How has your style evolved?  

It has definitely simplified, and I am much more conscious of material than I used to be. I prefer to wear 100% natural fiber: silk, cotton, linen, bamboo. I think my style used to be more whimsical and romanic. Now its a little more mature. I like dramatic silhouettes, luxurious fabrics, clean lines, effortlessly chic looks.  

5. What does your dream wardrobe consist of?  

A nice selection of perfectly fitted vintage denim and silk tops (T’s and blouses) several black bodysuits with dramatic necklines, an assortment of jackets and bold statement pieces from independent designers. 

6. If you were to give fashion advice to your younger self what would it be?  

Don’t shop at Forever Twenty One! it’s cheap because it’s cheap. And the environmental and humanitarian impacts are abysmal.  

7. How important is it to be body positive and to appreciate the skin that you're in?   

Incredibly. I spent so many years judging my body and wishing it would change. After having my son I gained a new appreciation, both because of what my body was able to do in creating him, and because I saw new value in myself as his mother and it made me so grateful to be here to care for him. My mindset kind of shifted from judgment to deep appreciation. My body created this incredible little human and now it is enabling me to run and climb and swim with him, to pick him up and comfort him. Our bodies carry us through all the great experiences of living. Looking back I wonder how I could have looked at my legs and judged them for their size, rather than appreciated them for their strength.  

8. What do you love about jewelry? What is your absolute favorite is it earrings, necklaces, etc.   

Rings. I wear my rings everywhere, even to the climbing gym. Which is not fair to the rings, I know. But when I put on a ring I really love, it will be years before I take it off again. After that, earrings. They can be really powerful and completely change an outfit. 

9. How do you incorporate accessories and jewelry into your daily looks?  

As I mentioned before, rings are an everyday must have. I have a beautiful selection of necklaces and earrings that I wear when I want to feel really good. And I also have pretty heavily tattooed arms which I think is like a permanent accessory. As a handbag designer, it goes without saying that a bag can make or break an outfit.  

10. What are your non-negotiables... What must you have / wear / do? and what are your, “I’m  never ever doing or wearing that”?  

For me, being a conscious consumer is a must. The environmental impact of the fast fashion industry is tremendous. I try to be conscious of this in my business and in my personal style. For my personal style that means buying thrifted or vintage items, or new items that are ethically made by small, environmentally conscious brands. The latter can be really expensive but mixing in thrifted items balances it out.  

As for things I’d never wear: Head to toe pink! My closet has a lot of black and neutrals but I also love adding pops of color. I don’t mind making a bold statement in a floor length yellow dress or vibrant red, but you’ll never catch me in pink.  

11. Tell us why you choose fashion and style. So what we mean by that is, we don’t have to dress up, we don’t have to adorn ourselves with jewels and embellish with accessories, but we do, we choose to… why do you?  

I’m a really creative, visual person all around. Its hard for me to feel at ease in a space that’s not visually pleasing. I think that carries over to fashion as well. Dressing in an outfit I like makes me feel at ease. Its not that the outfit has to be fancy or special, it can literally just be jeans and a T. Dressing in things that make me feel confident and comfortable frees up that brain space that would otherwise be full of self doubt, and lets it find something else to stress about.  

12. What’s your favorite fashion/style quote or mantra?  

Dress for yourself, not anyone else!  

13. How and where can people connect with you? 

I’d love to connect! You can find me on

Instagram: @jyttedesigns

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/jytte-designs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jyttedesigns/  

Or of course on my website: www.jyttedesigns.com

 

Thanks for telling us more about your story, Juna! We think you and your style are effortlessly chic. 

XoXo 

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