Jenna Yankun is the contemporary embodiment of a Renaissance Woman. Although her formal training includes merchandising and fabric styling at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the spectrum of her talent is much broader – she is an accomplished fashion designer and magazine art director.
Jenna approaches fashion with a whimsical outcome in mind. Especially pronounced in her knitwear designs, her playful, colorful aesthetic reveals a childlike quality that defies the constrictions of minimalism. Geometric, eccentric patterns reminiscent of the 1950s are often found in Jenna’s designs, such as those in her recent collaborations with Anthropologie and Target.
“Fashion should be an opportunity to play with your inner child,” Jenna states. “Have fun with it; wear that weird ring you got when you were twelve. Personal style is about wearing things that empower you as an individual.”
Lighthearted as Jenna’s sense of style may be, she is all business when it comes to her fashion projects, for which she has global ambitions. It is this pragmatism that sets her apart from other designers. Much of her fashion work requires her to accurately interpret a client’s needs and requirements and to engage with and source artists, which can present a host of logistics and communication challenges. Jenna, however, has an intuitive ability to fully comprehend others’ creative proclivities and to work within them; this is truly the sine qua non of her success.
In addition to fashion design, Jenna oversees the artistic direction of her New York-based craft and curio print publication, Atlas (atlasmag.com). Geared towards those with a touch of nostalgia, the magazine provides highly stylized photographs shot entirely on film, resulting in a vintage aesthetic. This tone is complemented by the stories, many of which focus on indigenous customs and crafts. In the “Atlas Currents” issue, for instance, one article recounts the experience of salt harvesting along the Oregon coast, while in “The Voyages,” another narrates how a woman’s trans-American road trip inspired her to begin quilting.
Through all facets of Jenna’s work runs a current of idealism, a sensual richness that reflects an aesthetically romanticized perception of the world. As a fashion designer and an artistic director, Jenna produces a celebration of style, texture, composition, and color – a constant dialogue between visual and tactile elements.