“I went to college at UCLA,” says Vanek. Her parents were helping to pay for her education, but they urged her to get a job. With an already established online presence through social media usage in high school, Vanek thought of ways to harness her strong followings. She ended up being inspired by charm bracelets.
“I thought it would be really fun to make more of a statement with them,” she said. “I took these big rubber bracelets and put different words on them. I posted them on MySpace, got money through PayPal…it was super sketchy!”
Her modest roots blossomed though. “It kind of just started from there,” Vanek said. “I did the bracelets for a while, gained some momentum, and then started doing t-shirts, and from there it just slowly expanded.”
While the rubber bracelets came from overseas, this momentum has increased Vanek’s recognition and has changed the way she makes her products. “Everything we do now is local in downtown L.A.” says Vanek.
It’s safe to say Vanek’s unique sense of design makes every Jac Vanek item a conversation starter. With clever references to various aspects of pop culture that influence Vanek directly, each design has a personal message and story behind it that forms an intimate connection with customers, some of whom who have known Vanek for nearly a decade through her online presence.
“Everything I do is very tongue-in-cheek,” Vanek said. Everything I create is just a different aspect of my personality. I never take myself seriously.”
Jac Vanek represents the weirdos, the outcasts and the ones who are brave enough to be unapologetically themselves. “I make stuff that I want to wear,” Vanek explained.
Jac Vanek embodies the movers, the shakers and the ones who are brave enough to jump blindly into the unknown in the name of desire.
“I don’t know much about fashion,” Vanek said. “I just know the way I want to live my life and the stuff I’m interested in and I’m just doing my own thing.”
By Kylie Jenkins for Clarissa International Media