Born in Washington, D.C., designer, Jerell Gantt, has always had an artistic eye. Raised by an artistic mother, the appreciation of true art was always a fixture in his household. His mother went to school to obtain an art degree and Graphic Illustration was her subject of study. Jerell would sometimes attend school with her so this was his inspiration for his own artistry. Knowing that fashion was his future, Gantt studied Fashion Design at the esteemed, Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah Ga. It was there he realized his creative look at fashion was far different from the norm. “It was more of a cultural experience. It was my first time around a bunch of artist. I went to school for Fashion Design but my aesthetics and shoe design were self-taught. At one point I was advised to give up, but not as often as you would think! Art or design is always the most affordable thing! There are a lot of naysayers against fashion. I always believed in myself. My family has always been very encouraging.”
Fusing his enormous love for R&B, Pop, and Rap music, with reference of urban culture, Gantt created IMITATION BY JERELL in 2008.The artist choose the name IMITATION because the designs are imitations of songs. In other words the pieces are often named after popular songs. The word imitation means re-inventing something to copy it.
It was merely 2 years later while moving to Atlanta, Ga., and creating a customized heel for a hobby; Gantt had his ultimate “AH HA!” moment. Adorned with spikes, studs, mirrors, sequins, zippers and anything your mind can imagine, Gantt began to put his soul into sneakers and heels to become the ultimate custom creation stop for customized footwear and accessories.
Gantt has worked with celebrities like, Keri Hilson, ShaunieO’neal, Mya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Swizz Beats, and many more. Jerell admits it was not easy to get celebrity exposure because the music industry can be very finicky. The request usually has to go through a string of people. The artist usually loves it after the management finally lets them see the product!
Due to his heavy celebrity exposure IMITATION BY JERELL has become a staple in the new and imaginative fashion community. Since he has gained so much success with IMITATION by Jerell , a children’s line may be on the way. “I try not to limit myself. I would love to inspire the children. When I was a child I loved to see cool clothing and shoes. Iwill also include handbags one day. I am working on a handbag at this moment!”
Within 5 years from now this designer has huge plans for his brand. He wants to market himself with something that can reach the masses. He also wants to go international since his designs are loved overseas. He will start pushing his jewelry line as well and he plans to be in homes across America very soon! Clothing design is going to be incorporated too since that was his field of study. Getting his line in retail stores is also an ultimate goal! However, he won’t stop doing custom made shoes even if his shoes were manufactured he will make custom pairs! With a majority of women having shoe fetishes, IMITATION By Jerell is sure to gain popularity globally. IMITATION is the future of STATEMENT SHOES!
By: Kela B.
Top Image Photography Ahmad Barber