Q&A: Jahna Peloquin

Fashion director is just another title to add to Jahna Peloquin’s resume
Jahna Peloquin sitting in a chair, with a dotted collared shirt and a black blazer

Rebecca Slater

Rosedale Center’s been really working toward redefining its identity these past few years. An $80 million remodel included interior and exterior renovations plus the opening of SeaQuest and stores like Von Maur and Rose & Loon. Revolution Food Hall came and went. The infamous Haunted Basement is going to be a pop-up event in the basement of the old Herberger’s. Now, the shopping mall has hired one more person to help bring its look together: fashion director, Jahna Peloquin.

Her new position will include conceiving and directing photoshoots; consulting on other imagery used in ads, signage, and social media; and having a hand in relevant mall events. In short, all things fashion.

“I wasn’t really looking for something like this, but it’s been great to have more of a fashion-geared role where it’s more than just being a fashion stylist,” Peloquin says. “[The draw is] being able to offer some more creative direction and be tapped for my experience.”

And she has a lot of experience to offer. Peloquin is known both by those in the fashion world and those who simply appreciate it. Four years ago, she co-founded the semiannual Fashion Week MN, but she has been an ever-growing presence on the local fashion scene long before that as a writer, stylist, and editor for publications like Minnesota Monthly. Even as she is taking on this new role, she’s still working as a freelancer and helping advise the upcoming fall Fashion Week MN. No matter how many things she’s juggling, it seems, if she can dive deeper into the fashion world, she will.

How did this opportunity with Rosedale come about?

I actually was approached by Rosedale’s new director of marketing and experience, Sarah Fossen, earlier this spring about styling the spring campaign, and I helped connect her with photographers and which is the best modeling agency for this kind of shoot, makeup, and location and everything. After that experience, she invited me, or offered me, this newly created role. In the past, we had worked together on various creative projects over the years, like a fashion shoot at Union Depot in St. Paul about six years ago, which she produced and I offered creative direction and styling—kind of that relationship and trust already at that point. So it was a really organic process.

A woman in a hijab for Rosedale Center's spring campaign
An image from Rosedale Center’s spring campaign

Lauren Krysti

How are you hoping to affect Rosedale’s brand and story?

One of the things I know we like to tell is we are the closest mall to Minneapolis. Even though we’re in the suburbs, we’re kind of Minneapolis’ mall in a sense, and we really want to speak to the communities around us and represent our community, so in our spring campaign, it was really important to us to have diverse model casting.

We had everything from a black, Muslim model with a hijab to an older woman in her 60s to a range of sizes and different ethnicities. We also had a trans model, and actually, we did a mini campaign around her for Pride which was really cool. It’s really special experiencing the black Muslim model looking amazing at a spot in the mall and having Muslim families come and to have little girls see that. It’s trying to be more intentional and thoughtful about doing things in a different way and a way that’s inclusive and speaks to the community and it feels like this is our mall, the community’s mall.

As far as styling, you still want to make fashion feel fun and engaging, and finding that balance between inspiring and approachable. Fashion can be a little intimidating, so to show the joy and fun that can go into shopping and putting on a really fun outfit, the personal expression that comes out of that—I want to showcase individuality and personality with these looks and not just outfits that look straight out of the catalogue.

Jahna Peloquin with peacock accents and a poodle

Jessica Zerby

You’ve worn so many hats in the Twin Cities fashion scene. Do you have an end goal?

I’m not really sure there’s ever been an end goal. It’s kind of been a very organic process. I went to school for journalism and thought I was going to be a music writer. Then I started getting involved in the local fashion scene, and I fell in love with vintage fashion, and basically the fashion styling and writing kind of converged. It’s been everything that’s drawn me: being able to collaborate with interesting, creative people on fashion content and also just staying within and supporting the local fashion community.

Do you have a key to success that’s allowed you to do all of this?

I mean it’s been just little things over the span of 15 years, I would say. Just getting involved as a volunteer on the fashion show, and through that, meeting people that wanted to collaborate and using the different skills we could combine. … Showing you’re a supporter of the community and being a part of the community genuinely—I think that’s part of it.

This interview has been edited for style, length, and clarity.

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