By SARAH FYNN
CJAJ09 is a new fashion line that incorporates the beauty of African
fabrics with the elegance of European fashion. An aspiring fashion mogul, a
style icon to many of her friends, fashion blogger and daughter, AJ Taylor, the
proud owner of CJAJ09 allows me to be her protégée for a week for this article.
Born in her homeland Ghana, West Africa, Sophie Taylor better known as Taylor
started CJAJ09 about 2 years ago. With what she described as her last amount of
‘dough’, she purchased a sewing machine that started the revolution. She is a
woman of colour who loves colour. She describes her personal sense of style as
‘ethical and colourful with a little bit of class and quirkiness’ which she
says transcends into her clothing line. Her simple motto ‘if it’s something I
won’t wear, it’s something I won’t make!’
Since its early beginnings in 2009, CJAJ09 has grown from the first dress she
made (of which she still owns), to elaborate pieces oozing with colour, to many
fashion shows and photo shoots. The journey of CJAJ09 has also been a personal
learning experience for the lady herself. In her own words she describes it as
‘a big learning curb’ something she had to learn and learn fast.
SO WHAT IS CJAJ09?
CJAJ09 is a new fashion line. Pieces that complement every shape, size and
colour that make women feel confident, sexy and sassy. It’s also heritage
clothing, something that every woman should own and should not have to break
her purse for. With pieces ranging from £15 to £25, women of every tax bracket
can afford quality handmade clothing that is tailored exclusively for her. Her
talent is displayed when you buy a piece. She cleverly combines African prints
with leather or plain material that really adds the ‘oomph’ to an outfit.
Bright blues, reds, and pinks that complement each other and the person, really
brighten up the outfit. Pieces cut in a specific way that highlights the best
features of the wearer, whatever your shape and size! Dresses cut from quality
African fabric bring out the richness of the fabric and blazers, tailored to
fit the curves of the woman, pieces from CJAJ09 scream heritage and ethnicity.
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF CJAJ09?
Taylor is looking to expand the collection to include bags and shoes. In the
near future she hopes to also include menswear and childrenswear: heritage for
everyone in the family.
When asked who she would like to collaborate with, she answers with a
seriousness that strikes me, ‘any designer who shares her vision and any
designer who is up for it and can take on the task’.
Trend setter or Follower? ‘Setter definitely’. In the near future she hopes to
take her line of clothing to the fore front of fashion: New York Fashion week
after which London, Paris and Tokyo would follow.
As a woman herself, she has learnt that fashion is not just about designing a
beautiful dress or photo shoots, no matter how glamorous they are. This
‘learning curb’ as she calls it, has also taught her a lot about herself.
Reminiscing the days when she didn’t know a thing about retail to now, when she
runs her own online store www.cjaj09.webs.com
AJ Taylor is grateful for this experience.
As I look back at this week, I find that it has also been a learning experience
for me. It has been a chance to sit down with a very interesting woman with a
very bright and promising future. A chance to learn about heritage and fashion
and how these two can be incorporated into our very modern lives now. AJ
Taylor, proud owner of CJAJ09, is remarkable both as a woman and designer and I
do hope after reading this, your hunger for rich heritage clothing is
For a taste of CJAJ09 please see below for some pictures.