Jessica Reid, Fashion Designer

Her fashion label, s t e e l e. might now be a favourite among the likes of Bambi Northwood-Blyth and Pia Miller, but for Jessica Reid, the sartorial path was one that found her, not the other way around. After a seven-year stint in fashion buying and wholesale, the surprising desire to design began to niggle at her until she couldn't ignore the niche in the fashion market she believed she could fill. That is, comfortable glamour, with a touch of boheme. Her 'accidental' label has cemented itself as a formidable force rebelling against fast-fashion; instead, staple pieces, with quality fabrics and stylish cuts. Jessica recently opened the doors to her humble abode, dishing out some nifty beauty tips, the one skincare brand she won't stray from, and how Steele has been the making of a dream she never knew she had.

 
Jess wears an off-the-shoulder dress from her own label

Jess wears an off-the-shoulder dress from her own label

“Steele was born from a crazy dream to create brazenly feminine clothing...

... that embraced relaxed glamour for the urban boheme. Looking back, I had no idea what I was in for! I was born and raised in Melbourne, starting out in my career as a buyer for a small boutique in the city and then moving into wholesaling. After seven years of industry experience, the transition into actually creating the product and designs myself was a very natural progression. 

 
The bubbly blonde loves creating beautiful pieces for her fashion label Steele

The bubbly blonde loves creating beautiful pieces for her fashion label Steele

I started s t e e l e. when I was young...

... and had no fear of failure, which looking back was brilliant – I’m not sure I’d have had the same guts and determination later in life. s t e e l e. has challenged me in countless ways and helped me grow immensely, both personally and professionally, whilst creating opportunities I had never dreamed of. I love the journey and that’s my driver.

 
It's all about that base: Jess believes a great base is the answer to beautiful skin

It's all about that base: Jess believes a great base is the answer to beautiful skin

I don't drop the ball on my [beauty] routine, ever. I don't believe in making an effort [just] 5 out of 7 days. 

For me, it’s all about the base health of your skin. Skincare is my number one focus when it comes to beauty. If you don’t have a great base, the end result is harder to achieve. I have a consistent approach to beauty, I feel better about myself when I put the effort in, as it shows! I think you should treat yourself well every day.

 
In her beauty cupboard: Hourglass, NARS, Too Faced and Chantecaille

In her beauty cupboard: Hourglass, NARS, Too Faced and Chantecaille

My makeup philosophy is natural tones with a focus on radiance and luminosity. These items are my everyday basics:

My days are often long and busy so Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is a must, followed by a light coverage of Nars Sheer Glow in Punjab, and concealer. I’m obsessed with the smell of the Too Faced Bronzing Powder. I love blush, and for that healthy flushed look I use Nars Orgasm. The Hourglass Limited Edition Ambient Lighting Edit Surreal Light is phenomenal and provides the perfect highlight for day or a night out. I team this look with Chantecaille Lip Stick in Agave. Focus on creating a healthy glow and working with your natural features, for me that means blush and highlighter. Soft brown tones on the eyes are key for a natural look.

 
Jess is a devout fan of Perricone MD

Jess is a devout fan of Perricone MD

I use Perricone MD religiously.

My daily routine consists of cleansing my skin with Perricone MD Hypoallergic Gentle Cleanser and locking in moisture with their Hypoallergenic Nourishing Moisturiser, twice a day. I love that the cleanser is fragrance-free and thoroughly removes my make up. The moisturiser just glides across the skin and is the perfect finishing touch. I’ve tried and tested other products but nothing comes close.

 
The fashion designer swears by Joey Scandizzo in South Yarra to keep her hair in check

The fashion designer swears by Joey Scandizzo in South Yarra to keep her hair in check

I have a low maintenance approach in my every day look... 

... I either keep my hair straight and down, or let my natural waves come through for a more relaxed look. A slightly messy bun is a summer staple. I use Argan oil and heat protectant religiously to keep my hair nourished. If I have a special event, I’ll have a salon blow dry as I’m terrible at styling my own hair. For hair here in Melbourne, you can’t go past Joey Scandizzo in South Yarra.

 
The entrepreneur's wardrobe includes a mix of feminine and gritty pieces 

The entrepreneur's wardrobe includes a mix of feminine and gritty pieces 

In my personal style I try to channel a sense of nonchalance, with a balance between feminine and edgy pieces.

I love grounding feminine items with blend of tough luxe styling like leather and hardware details. Ease of wear is important to me; I always look for pieces I can wear casually during the day then switch it up with heels and a jacket for nighttime – and I love a statement print.”

 
Steele is now stocked in myer stores nationally

Steele is now stocked in myer stores nationally

s t e e l e . and my design approach is heavily inspired by a '70s nostalgia, and transforming that into something modern.

My designs evoke a sense of femininity, strength and glamour whilst being versatile and luxurious. 2016 has been a major highlight year. My team has doubled, and I have some amazing women by my side. We’ve partnered with MYER this year, and launched in the USA with major retailers such as REVOLVE. Such incredible career achievements.

 
Byredo Gypsy Water is an olfactory favourite

Byredo Gypsy Water is an olfactory favourite

Byredo Gypsy Water is my signature scent.

I originally bought this for my sister as a present, but loved it so much I purchased it the next day for myself! And I always turn to Chanel for a special night out.

 
When it comes to heath and fitness, Jessica believes balance is key

When it comes to heath and fitness, Jessica believes balance is key

I love eating healthy and enjoying clean meals, but I do indulge when I feel like it - I’m an absolute foodie.

My exercise routine is a mix of yoga and jogging. I try to incorporate activities that I can do with my daughter, Asher. It’s really important to me that I set a good example for her and show her that being active is a great way to have fun together. I’ll jog to day care with her as she rides her scooter alongside me. Our family has a home in Alpine Victoria which is one of my favourite places to clear my mind and escape from the city.

 
Jess' home reflects her eclectic, unique style

Jess' home reflects her eclectic, unique style

I like to decorate with pieces that are meaningful or I fall in love with.

I travel to Bali 3-4 times a year, and so many pieces have been collected on trips there or abroad. My absolute favourite home wares store in Bali is Kim Soo Home. It's insane.

 
As a successful entrepreneur, jess knows a thing or two about running your own business

As a successful entrepreneur, jess knows a thing or two about running your own business

My advice for other aspiring fashion designers is…

... trust your intuition and understand that it takes time to establish a solid business. It can happen overnight, but it will most likely involve long hours and pushing your boundaries. Be prepared for a fast-paced industry with very little room for complacency. It's crucial to constantly strive for growth, innovation and to constantly educate yourself in all areas of business and design."

 
Story by Stephanie Russo; Photography by Neiyo Sun