Jonathan Benjamin Parker
I sketched constantly. I drew sports cars, women, stilettos, architecture and everything that had sharp elegant lines. By the time I finished high school I had takin many art classes. In the late nineties I was into sketching the beautiful lines of the female form. In 1999 I had an epiphany that changed my life and pushed me into the world of fashion. One afternoon I was in a bookstore paging through a book about Givenchy. As I paged through the beautiful pictures of elegant women in Hubert De Givenchy's Beautiful creations I found a picture of one of his croquis. In that moment knew exactly what I wanted to do. I was going to be a designer.
I became obsessed with contoured lines and how to create them with fabric on a woman. I began taking many art and sewing classes at the Baum school of art. My mother and my best friend were very supportive and encouraged me to go to school. In 2003 I started classes at The Fashion Institute of Technology. One of my first projects at school was to come up with my own brand name that best described and represented my designs. One night I took a walk through uptown manhattan. I wanted to come up with a name that described the elegant contoured lines of a woman. The further I walked uptown I was inspired by the architecture and the window displays. The Bergdorf window caught my attention over everything else around. The window was a very extravagant scene of mannequins and elegant fall ensembles. I stared up at the perfectly lit window of faceless entities, beautiful lines and colors. The idea of a name came to me instantly. I knew exactly what my brand would be. I am Mannequin.
During my time at F.I.T. I did several internships and made some very valuable friends. I worked with Pamela Ptak in assisting with her own collection. She taught me many intricate hand sewing techniques and seam finishes. I then went to New York to apprentice for the couturier Ralph Rucci on his very exclusive couture collection. I learned a lot about how an Atelier works and did many hours of intricate handwork. I also apprenticed for the designer Misha Tzar. He taught me how to streamline my patterns for production and a lot about the business of fashion. He also taught me where to find good fabric in the big city. In 2007 and 2008 I worked at Saks Fifth Ave in Greenwich Ct doing Visual Merchandising. Saks taught me a lot about merchandising and how women shop. After graduating from F.I.T. I went to work for Neiman Marcus in the Alterations department. I was sent to Neiman Marcus central where I apprenticed with some very fine Italian tailors. I learned many very valuable tailoring techniques that sharpened every part of my work. After many years of education and hard work I brought my dream into reality.