Bella, Bonita and Beautiful are three ways to describe Jazmin Whitley's international fashion label, Li Cari. Her classic, elegant, luxuriant designs first made a huge splash in Brazil in 2005, and are now wowing fashion-enthusiasts across the U.S.
The Li Cari Spring 2007 Collection was introduced in Los Angeles, CA in 2006, and is currently being showcased on runways across the nation. Her passion, persistence and tremendous talent prove that Whitley, at the ripe age of 18, has what it takes to reach the top.
Whitley realized her flare for fashion when she was just a little girl. "When I was about 9 or 10, I loved to dress up and play with my mom's jewelry. I even styled my friends!" Whitley recalls. But when she got a little bit older, she stopped playing fashion make-believe and started getting serious about a career in design.
While she was still in high school, Whitley spent her summers studying in Italy and Brazil, where her family owns property. Whitley became inspired by the astounding beauty and rich cultures of Europe and South America. She lends, "I traveled a lot when I was a child, and I still do. I've gained so much inspiration from all of the places I've been."
Whitley rapidly developed advanced skills in design, art and sewing, and the young designer's raw, artistic talents quickly became clear to everyone around her.
"Art is in my blood," Whitley explains. "My mom is an interior designer. It's a different industry, but it's still design. My mom is a great inspiration to me."
In 2004, Whitley excitedly began working on her first cohesive collection. With support from her mother and the rest of her family, she turned her dream of designing into a bona fide business. Whitley appropriately named her fashion label Li Cari.
She reveals, "Li Cari is my grandparents' last name, which is Italian, and means 'something dear to the heart'. Design is very dear to my heart."
In 2005, Whitley introduced her collection at a fashion show in Brazil, where, as Whitley proudly recalls, she "got a very positive response." From there, Whitley began working with a variety of Brazilian boutiques and private clientele.