Jacquelyn Brooks is a professionally accredited fashion designer with a Bachelors of Science in Apparel Design and Technology from The Florida State University. She recently was honored as being named one of Home Magazines “Forty under 40”.
After graduating from FSU Jacquelyn returned home to Gainesville where she opened a fashion design studio across from the University of Florida. Bringing one of a kind style to the community, Jacquelyn Brooks has used her talents as a fashion designer to tailor new opportunities in the area. Brooks never doubted that with a little extra work, she could be successful at whatever she wanted. Her dreams of bringing high fashion to Gainesville came true on Feb. 5, 2007 with the opening of her own design and tailoring business on University Avenue. “It was a real sense of accomplishment and achievement,” Brooks said. Her company, Jacquelyn Brooks Designs, works with women in the local community to design custom wedding gowns, formal attire and her expanding collegiate dress collection.
The young designer didn’t stop there. When auditions for Bravo’s Project Runway came around last spring, Brooks went to work designing new pieces and made it all the way to the semi-finals on her first try. She plans to try out again for the show in 2012.
Last year Brooks debuted her Spring and Resort 2011 collection at Fashion Week Nashville and was also the premier designer showcase for Gainesville Fashion Week’s charity event, Gala for the Arts.
Her drive as a business owner has led to numerous awards, and her charitable work and contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. “The secret to success is persistence, perseverance and personality,” Brooks said. “With these three skills you can accomplish anything.”
A strong advocate for community service, Brooks donates custom-designed dresses to several local charities’ silent auctions. The live auction piece she designed for the Cure by Design Fashion Show raised $5,000 for the American Cancer Society. So far Brooks has donated designs to events such as the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball, Rocket for the Arts’ Gala for the Arts and Haven Hospice’s VIVA Polynesian.
Her latest project, Runways to Rescues, is a charity fashion show benefiting Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue. The first event raised $3,000 and helped adoptable pets find loving homes. “Animals are innocent creatures and just want to be loved,” Brooks said. “It breaks my heart when I hear of animal shelters that euthanize animals just because they can’t find a loving home in a three-day time period.”
In addition to her commitment to stop animal cruelty, Brooks is also involved with the Arbor House’s charity luncheon Arbor of Opportunity. To help raise funding for needy women and children in the community, she donated five pieces from her game-day dress collection to be auctioned at the event.
Brooks’ friend Sandra Gress is happy to see such a talented designer stick to her roots and support her hometown community.
“Jacquelyn grew up in Gainesville and now lives here as an adult. She has seen this town grow exponentially in the past 30 years,” Gress said. “From earning her Girl Scout Gold Award in high school to becoming a young businesswoman and a philanthropist, she truly makes the Gainesville community a better place.”