How Designer Jasmine Rosales Makes it Work in Mexico

Meeting interesting women is one of the best parts of traveling and it’s fascinating to discover their personal processes through career, home, or life in general. Naturally, my favorite question to ask is, How do you do what you do? There’s always a little nugget of inspiration to take home. A piece of wisdom you can use in your own life. So, each month an interview with one such lady will be featured here!

This month is Jasmine Rosales, a Mexican fashion designer for a clothing line called Jazz Ro. She creates beautiful and flattering swimwear, as well as sundresses perfect for traveling, twirling, or all the above.

I was first introduced to Jasmine while shopping at the farmer’s market* in the little town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle on the edge of Bahia de Banderas.

A one-piece bathing suit caught my eye, so I quickly detoured into her tent. But her dresses really stole my heart. With a simple neckline and an open back, I later discovered they fall on the body in such a way that it doesn’t hug you too tight but still gives you shape. (A.k.a. You can eat as many tacos as you like and still feel like a girl.)

That day, I bought one.

I came back the next week and bought another.

The following Saturday, I found her at the Sayulita market and bought three more. Plus, a swimsuit.

And I noticed I wasn’t the only one scooping up her designs.

Each time I stopped by, new patterns of dresses and swimsuits were out replacing the sold.

Her label was obviously kicking ass, and I had to learn more:

Designer Jasmine Rosales at the Sayulita market in one of her designs. I saw three women buy that dress that day, not including me.

Jasmine Rosales of Jazz Ro

Where are you from?

I was born in Tepic, but I’ve been living in the bay (Banderas Bay) since I was three-years-old. (Note: Tepic is the capital of Nayarit state, in western Mexico. About four hours northwest of Puerto Vallarta.)

When did you first realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I never thought about becoming a fashion designer, it wasn’t in my plans until I had to choose a career when I was in high school. I always wanted something to do with design, but I wasn’t sure which way to go. So, I took half a year to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

Quality, handmade suits with designs that flatter many body types. This bikini top could also be rocked with a maxi skirt or wide-leg pant.

One day, I was bored at my house and saw a dress I had but never used. I made a top out of it, sewing it by hand. I had no idea what I was doing but I finished it and loved it and I (wore) it as much as I could.

My parents saw I was interested in making clothing so they bought me my first sewing machine. I took a few classes to learn how to use it and started making things for myself. I was very excited with the idea of using the imagination to make something out of a piece of cloth. So, I applied for a school in Guadalajara and started in January 2010.

Can you share again the story about your sisters requesting you to design for them?

When I finished my studies, I was kind of disgusted with the whole fashion industry and how it can be very cruel, mean, and shallow.

I came back to Bahia de Banderas and not knowing what to do next, I opened a clothing store. (I sold) normal day dresses but I wasn’t designing, I was importing them.

At that same time, my sisters went to University, both studying to become professional dancers. They asked me to make them leotards and that’s how I started, making leotards for dancers. Their friends started ordering leotards then teachers ordered for dance presentations and I was very happy with this new side of fashion I hadn’t work before.

Since Jasmine formerly designed and sewed dancers leotards, she’s mastered the flattering cut seen here.
Also, the palm leaf pattern was custom printed on fabric in Columbia, and the suit was handsewn in Mexico. I bought this one.

I was working from 9 am to 8 pm at my store and would come home and make leotards. I didn’t care because I was very happy.

So, after almost 3 years, I decided to close the store and start full time with my new project, Jazz Ro. I first started as an activewear brand and then moved to beachwear.

I’ve met very cool people in this industry, very different from the idea I had when I was (at school). And that’s why I decided to pursue (this side of the industry).

These are the sundresses I’m talking about. Jasmine’s background in dance wear can be seen here as the dresses drape effortlessly on the body. (Also, they are not too short!) I own both colors. Photo by Terezo Esqueda

How long have you designed full-time?

Almost 3 years.

How would you describe your style?

Comfortable and multifunctional for active people.

What does your workday look like?

I like when things flow, so I don’t have a schedule (although, I should).

Which means sometimes, I take things very light and other times I overwork. But I kinda like this balance.

After we sold the sailboat in Mexico, we road tripped back to California and passed through Palm Springs. I wore this dress three days in a row, taking it to nice restaurants and hiking mountains. Fashion meets function!

I don’t have a season to design. Most of the time I get ideas for new bikinis when I’m going to bed. So, I grab my phone, draw on it, and the next day work on the patterns.

And when I work at the workshop, I have a seamstress who helps me. She works around 3-4 days a week from 9 am to 5 pm. Depending on how much work we have, I cut all the bikinis a day before so everything is ready for her to sew.

And (while she sews), I’ll cut for the next day, make patterns for new bikinis or dresses, test new designs, or work on custom orders.

The computer stuff I do mostly at night. I grab a cup of tea to prepare and either edit pictures, work on my online store by uploading new bikinis, updating photos, and responding to emails.

In Guanajuato, Mexico, happily strutting in a Jazz Ro maxi dress.

How many markets do you work in a week?

I did two markets last year, but now I only do one, the La Cruz market. Since I’m already selling in a few stores in the bay, I didn’t want to overwork.

What stores do you sell in?

I sell in Tron-x, Wildmex in La Lancha, Moana in San Pancho and Stand Up in Sayulita.

What is your greatest dream for work and life?

I would like to work full-time in the high season; start producing and have things ready by November. That means I’d work from mid-September to April and have the rest of the year to travel.

I want to sell in more stores around Mexico and export while still being able to take a few months off to know other countries.

Me “fangirling” with Jasmine at the Sayulita market. I’m wearing the first dress I bought from her just a few weeks ago.

But, I love Bahia de Banderas. I want this place to be my home. I love the vibe of this place and its surroundings.

About my personal life, I don’t have a goal in mind. I don’t know if I want children. I’m a dreamer so I’m always changing my ideas and what I want in life. But, I think so far it’s taking me on the right path.

See Jazz Ro on Instagram:

(*)Author’s note: This farmer’s market is pretty amazing. It lines the edge of the La Cruz marina where Chris and I were docked at the time and every Sunday, over two-hundred vendors sell incredible food, handmade cheeses, fresh vegetables, handcrafted jewelry, clothes, and large-scale art to name a few. There’s also live music and performances, too.)

Meet last month’s inspiring woman HERE: Emily Bargeron

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Goodbye #boatlife: Selling a boat in Mexico Part 1

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