From trending in stats on the court to curating trends in streetwear, Justin Leon has designed his life in a unique and proud way, creating his own clothing brand, JayeMade. 

 

Originally from Conway, Arkansans might recognize Leon’s name from his time playing at the University of Florida or his time within the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. Growing up on the court, Leon’s personal style was influenced early on, mimicking the styles of his favorite players. 

 

“When I was five years old, I remember asking my mom for braids because my favorite player had braids,” Leon said, explaining how he has been influenced by others but now influences others. 

 

JayeMade

 

Participating in a team sport allowed Leon to grow not only as a player but also in his position of becoming a well-rounded individual. For Leon, Basketball taught him invaluable lessons and skills, which now help him in his own brand. 

 

“I think that a lot of the skills I learned from basketball carried me through breaking into the fashion industry,” Leon said. “Basketball taught me to have attention to detail, to pick up on things quickly, and most importantly, work ethic. In the game, you might get a new play the day before a game and you have to learn it. In my work ethic, it’s helped me create new styles of pieces in a timely manner.” 

 

In 2020, Leon returned to his hometown and shortly after purchased his first sewing machine, a Singer. During quarantine, Leon fell into his hobby, creating custom pieces that would eventually lead him to create an entire collection. His first creation was a denim wallet, and from there he began to sew bigger pieces. With a little under a year of practice, Leon launched JayeMade on Jan.1, 2021. 

 

JayeMade

 

“When everything was shut down and there was nothing to do, I tapped into the artsy things that I wanted to do. I would paint custom shoes, open up a drawing book and later I would visit a lot of art museums,” Leon said. “When I was busy with basketball, I never really had the time to explore. I was constantly on the road, and it was a great experience, but I was excited to explore these other areas of life that I was interested in.” 

 

While traveling did limit his time spent in other endeavors, Leon found his time spent in other areas really helped his ability to stretch his own sense of style. Leaving the south and leaving the midwest, Leon was able to surround himself with art and culture outside of his own, broadening his sense of style. This was particularly noticeable in his time spent playing for Medipolis SC Jena in Germany. 

 

JayeMade

 

As a ‘90s baby, Leon loves the look of colorful, baggy, oversized clothes and a healthy amount of denim.

 

“I really love that today, Y2K fashion is so popular. I love that almost every decade is present in our current fashion world. For example, someone wearing a ‘70s or ‘80s statement piece is viewed as normal,” Leon said. 

 

Most of Leon’s pieces include references to pop culture and basketball culture. As a designer, Leon has created JayeMade as a way to showcase these pieces, with something new always in the works. Looking up to designers such as Jeff Hamilton  – the designer behind the infamous 2000 NBA leather jackets, Leon hopes to follow in the footsteps of those who have paved the way as Black designers.  

 

Every stitch Leon makes is intentional, with custom pieces curated to perfection in this era of streetwear. In his process, Leon finds himself creating from his previous creations, designing from his previous designs. 

 

JayeMade

 

“My brand shows a little bit of myself, and shines a light on a side of myself that I’ve always wanted to express. People understand the basketball side of me, but I’m not a one dimensional person,” Leon said. “In 2020, I decided that I didn’t want to wait too late to do it. I wanted to start designing.” 

 

The JayeMade ‘22 collection is now made-to-order for the whole year. Pieces from this collection can be viewed and purchased online. 

 

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