What do suede, triangles and bleached flannels all have in common? They’re all elements of design for graphic communication senior Jeanette Gialketsis.
Gialketsis, known as Jenny Rose to close friends, is a member and designer of the creative collective SubSessions and has now grown into her own clothing label, J. Rose.
“I look at SubSessions as this little diamond,” Gialketsis said. “Everyone has their little slivers of perspective of what they want out of it. For me, I want to do clothing, and I kind of have learned how it works and how to start a label using SubSessions as a concept label.”
SubSessions represents the creatives of San Luis Obispo that provide platforms for artists and musicians through events, such as music festivals Life’s a Peach in May 2018 and most recently Nightlife Savings in November 2018.
“They knew I was just messing around with printing my own designs and I would ask them, ‘Do you want me to make a shirt that says SubSessions for this event?’ and they were like, ‘We don’t really care, we’re just going to have an event for everyone to come and meet each other and form relationships to collaborate,” Gialketsis said. “This is more so just a fun thing, a renegade out of the mineshaft. And none of us really had any intention of it turning into what it turned into.”
After that conversation Gialketsis downloaded some fonts and started playing with the word Subsessions. From that came the original design. Eighty shirts were made to sell at the event, and all sold out. Students began to walk around campus in her designs.
After the first batch’s success, Gialketsis made approximately 600 prints of the shirt, making Subsessions a ubiquitous concept label within the San Luis Obispo community.
Gialketsis has always been interested in fashion and debated fashion school when applying for college before choosing to study graphic communications at Cal Poly.
“There’s value in a GRC degree in the fashion world,” Gialketsis said. “I am really good at finding a way in GRC to make the things I’m learning applicable to what I want to do [in fashion]. Printing on textiles and the textile industry is such an up and coming thing that is kind of overlooked.”
As a sophomore, Gialketsis studied abroad in Florence and took a Decoration of Textiles class where she learned to screen print by hand.
“There’s this little market I would ride my bike to and I would find really cheap flannels that this guy would sell and he just had piles of them,” Gialketsis said. “I started printing the repeating pattern on the backs of these flannels. I would post pictures of them on Instagram and everyone from home was like, ‘Oh my god, these are so cool. Bring one home for me.’ So I just made a ton of them.”
Gialketsis called these designs “iTprints”, a concept label encouraging others to find their “it” — the thing that makes the individual innately creative.
After returning to San Luis Obispo, Gialketsis wanted to find a way to apply what she had learned abroad. She found work at a local print shop and now uses a direct-to-garment printer to produce her designs.
“It’s nice because it’s a little better for the environment,” Gialketsis said. “With screen printing, there’s a lot of chemicals involved.”
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, which is why Gialketsis emphasizes thrifting and repurposing old textiles into her designs. While rummaging through the Goodwill bins, Gialketsis tends to gravitate toward large suede pants for fabric and flannels to bleach dye by hand. Then, she cuts the thrifted items apart and sews them together in various patterns, creating the signature look of J. Rose.
Gialketsis’ focus on her clothing label stemmed from an unfortunate car accident a year and a half ago that left her with a serious head injury.
“I had to take a lot of time off of school, and so my art was kind of the only thing I was allowed to do,” Gialketsis said. “I couldn’t really read, I couldn’t really focus, I couldn’t go to school and take a test and retain that information. I could do my art and I could print. That was kind of therapeutic for me during that time.”
Gialketsis used art and her business as a form of expression to cope with the repercussions of her accident. One specific art project, which is displayed in her studio/bedroom, tells the story of her accident: a mirror with a photograph of the flowers from her desk.
“Being lucky enough, to stand there looking at my mirror, seeing those flowers on my desk versus those flowers sitting on my grave. Being able to see all that love in my life and turn it positively. It is a year and a half later and not a day goes by where I’m not affected by this. Being a college student, part of my weekly schedule is going to brain therapy twice a week and I see my neurologist once a month. This is something I live with every single day, and trying to cope with it in a positive way has just been a huge part of my story and my art,” said Gialketsis.
Although being a student, running her business, and caring for her health can be a lot to juggle, Gialketsis has found solace within her friendships and the Subsessions community. With screen-heavy classes during the day, Gialketsis has learned to balance school and designing by taking it day-by-day.
“Accepting that it’s OK to not try and expand super fast right now if I can’t handle that,” Gialketsis said. “Right now I’m just finding a way and finding the right people to help me do those things because at the end of the day is because it’s art and it’s therapeutic.”
Currently, her business is being run on Instagram, @j.rose.official, where she showcases her new designs and artwork.