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Carolina Fashion Awards: The influential Jasmine Rhodes


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When it comes to designers they are a dime a dozen, everyone is fighting to become the next Simone Rocha. The overly saturated field rarely makes room for newcomers, while only the most creative and talented creators slip through the cracks. This is precisely what happened with North Carolina-based Jasmine Rhodes who won this year’s Emerging Designer award at the Carolina Fashion Awards. While the Carolina Fashion Awards are primarily a celebration of the most prominent individuals in the North and south Carolina fashion scene, Miss Rhodes has the potential to become more than a Carolina name. 

“They might as well get to know me now because I’m not going anywhere”

After her win on April 24th, Rhodes pointed out how as an adult winning awards isn’t something that just happens. 

‘You know at a certain age you aren’t getting certificates like in high school anymore, it’s nice to be recognized for doing your job”

The emerging designer award truly recognizes Rhodes’ hard work and the brand that she has created for herself within the fashion community. Like any up and coming artist, Rhodes has done everything, everywhere, and is now using her impressive knowledge of the fashion industry to grow her own brand, Kitty & Rhodes. Kitty & Rhodes is the out-of-the-box fashion company that truly encapsulates Rhodes’ unconventional creative process. While the young designer often focuses on creating collections, she finds that inspiration can be brought on by anything anywhere. Often influenced by other art, Rhodes pointed out that something as insignificant as a song lyric, color, or even New York City will spark a creative match. While finding inspiration from the dirty streets of New York might seem impossible, dedicated creators like Rhodes find the challenge inviting.

Kitty and Rhodes design

‘It can be very aspartic at times, inspiration can come from something completely random”

Sketching designs on the back of receipts and napkins in restaurants has led to some of Rhodes’ most challenging yet creative designs. Despite Rhodes’ tendency to be the master of her own creative endeavors, her recent collaboration with Shein forced her to relinquish some control over the production of her clothing. Because Jasmine Rhodes can do everything from CAD to hand sewing, she has been working as an individual designer for the majority of her career. Making her partnership with SHEIN a very unique opportunity for her which led to more exposure. However, as many small artists have recognized, working with a big brand can be difficult as she did indicate that it put her in somewhat of a creative box. 

“I feel like there was creative freedom to design what I wanted to, but not so much because I couldn’t choose the materials I wanted” 

Rhodes Design for Shein

While Rhodes has no problems working with limitations and created an outstanding line for SHEIN, her most alluring work comes when she, like most artists, can have full creative control over the project. 

Rhodes brings energy to everything she creates, she rejects the old-fashioned values of big fashion houses and embraces nuanced looks through obscure designs. The soon-to-be fashion powerhouse puts her mind, body, and soul into what she creates. 

“ I actually sew and touch the fabric, sometimes I don’t even want to give it away” 

Although Rhodes’ uncommon desire to hold onto what she creates might not be the best business move, it most definitely demonstrates the confidence she has in her brand. I mean if the designer loves it, why wouldn’t I? 


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