Recently, Arrow studio artist and owner of clothing brand Rough Feathers Antonio Jones came across a unique opportunity to put his creative work into play during his full time day job. When he isn't in his studio creating, Antonio works at Central Station. He noticed that the uniforms could use an update, and started reaching out to see how he could be the one to design them. We reached out to him to learn more about this creative endeavor!
How did you come across the opportunity to redesign the Central Station Uniforms?
Well, I came across the opportunity to create apparel for central station in a moment of pivoting. I just experienced one of the worst things that could happen: a car break in, and not only that, my computer bag, my life line, was stolen. So, I had to find a job to create a source of income and found employment at Central Station. After working for like 3 or 4 months I reached out to the HR department on the process of how to pitch the idea and received the details. So, after creating the proposal it landed on the GM's desk and from there a meeting came about.
What went into your creative process when you were designing them? When I'm creating, I try to figure out how I can speak through my design, and how I can make it look cool for people to be comfortable.
How did you come up with it? Did you have guidelines given to you like colors, patterns, etc. or did you have free reign? Walk me through your creative steps.
For the most part, my thought process was to do some research on the history of the hotel. The hotel did have a theme and branding standards, so I wanted to stay in within those, but I did have free reign because they didn't know what I would create and they had never experienced the idea of custom uniform branding.
How did being given this opportunity feel to you? Was it nice to get some say in what you/your peers put on every day?
Being given the opportunity was a great way to give weight to my ability as a designer. I knew I was able, I knew I could create. Just finding the right situation and being patient was my test, and I facilitated the deal on my own. It was like the greatest feeling because they believed in me. As I am doing this whole thing, I'm getting feedback from my coworkers on what they would like to wear, fabric and so on without telling them I'm designing uniforms for them. So when the project was completed everyone was like "dude you made these, these are dope." With this project I felt that I fulfilled a need from both sides, and both sides respected me for what came out of the process. It was definitely cool to put my imprint on something that is needed for a company to grow business and a work ethic at the same time.
How has the change in uniform affected the mood and overall vibe of the staff? As someone who has worked many jobs where I had to wear a uniform, I can attest that what you wear can play a huge part in your mood and happiness at work. Do you feel like you've seen that in play before either for good or for bad?
In today's culture, people come to work and want feel comfortable. It's already enough to perform your job, but if you can look good doing it, it's just a bonus. Now that everyone can include their sneakers with their uniform, you can see that everyone wants to be at work. Their energy of working with others has increased. Speaking and communication has grown. The buzz of being an excellent hotel environment is great for guests, and they have taken notice with customer interaction. I feel I played a part in the culture change at central station, not only in the workplace but outside of the job. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs that I didn't know of, and seeing me design for the hotel and still work with them has pushed them to continue their dream of being their own boss. I never knew designing a uniform would create all of these different storylines.
What does it mean to you to wear clothing items that feel good or represent who you truly are? How do you incorporate this into Rough Feathers?
With my brand, I try to communicate a message or feeling in my designs. So wearing the Rough Feathers brand says something if you know the background of what I represent. I feel whatever you wear you should feel comfortable, you should feel like you, and you can sometimes tell a message or story. Somebody is always watching you, so when they see you, it can inspire someone. It doesn't have to be bold, it can be the simplest thing. You never know what can spark inspiration in a person. When I design, I try to speak through what I create.
How would you describe your personal style?
Born in the 80's, I definitely can say I'm a fan of retro and being simple. I find influences in my trips to different cities and different situations which help tell my creative story. When studying art I love futuristic art, line design and coming up with new creative processes that fit me. I guess if I had to give it a name or title I would say "relatable creative realism." Art and design are always changing, so with adapting I can stay in my lane and remain myself.
Antonio's story showcases the way that creativity and art can impact our personal lives. Something as simple as liking what you wear and having creative expression in your daily life can change the entire atmosphere of a work environment. Creativity has been linked to better overall mental health and happiness. Being surrounded by art, whether it's pieces in your home, exploring a new gallery, or wearing something handmade, can have a positive impact on communities at large.
Arrow offers multiple opportunities to get creative. Swing by to view one of our monthly galleries, meet artists in their studios, or shop for locally made goods that will inspire your inner creative. Want to learn a new skill or brush up on a medium? Sign up for one of our many creative community classes taught by local artists and makers. If you're a more advanced creative, our new labs will be open soon and will feature specialized equipment in painting and drawing, sewing, ceramics, photography, and printmaking.
Antonio's studio, Rough Feathers, is located inside of Arrow Creative. Stop by during his open hours to shop for your own piece of Rough Feathers clothing!