Designer, Stylist & Online Creative Director
Jeffrey Cedeno is one of those rare breeds that has earned a reputation for himself as being meticulous and thorough. These two traits have served him well as he evolved in his career. He dazzled in communications and marketing in the retail and media industries, moved on to custom designing shoes and now he is able to apply all these gifts to the emerging and successful brand Scoop based in NYC. In his new role as a content developer, Jeffrey will be pivotal in shaping Scoop’s online presence and branding efforts. I just can’t wait to see Scoop’s site and share the unique and chic styles between both New York and Chicago audiences.
In addition to shaping Scoop, Jeffrey has an amazing presence and kindness that separates him from the type-A personalities characterized in the fashion industry which makes him such a pleasure to work with. Jeffrey has such a colorful story!
FC: When we met, I felt there was an unhatched brilliance waiting to come to surface specifically in the world of art and design. What pulled you into fashion and design?
JC: Fashion chose me, I had no control over this. I went to college for Journalism/Communications. I thought I was going to be a global trotting journalist, writing about injustice in the world. Instead, I took my first job out of college as the a manager of a photo studio. This started my journey. One day, on a shoot for the R&B female duet Floetry, our stylist could not come at the very last minute, so I asked for the corporate credit card and went shopping! I styled my first photo shoot ever and I thought it was fantastic! One thing led to another and 7 years later, I am still in the fashion industry. I grew to really love how clothing items can create an entirely different persona and attitude. I also realized what an important role appearance and perceptions plays in our daily lives.
FC: That’s amazing. I remember Floetry because they were represented by Universal Music Group at the time. That must have been a lot of fun! When we spoke awhile back, amazingly your career took a turn to design. Specifically shoe design. I was fascinated since it appeared as an ideal situation for a new designer without a technical design background. When was the turning point which made you decide to leave niche design work and enter fashion as a brand marketer?
JC: I decided to branch away from designing after I received my MBA from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2008. I realized I did not like the pressure of the design schedule. One has very little time to come up with many, many ideas of which only about 1/3 is actually utilized. For me, it felt as though the process was an over exhaustion of the creative mind. After learning more about branding and global retail management, I knew this was where my true interests resided. My mind thinks macro while analyzing everything on a micro level. I feel I can still be creative, thinking of ways to reposition brands in the consumer’s mind, while tracking real time financial results based on brand awareness. Maybe a Creative Director role awaits for me down the line!
Jeffrey’s design sketches during his work for Delman Shoes.
FC: So now, you are currently at Scoop. You have had many wonderful opportunities and experiences in your path. What has been your most influential life changing work project and why?
JC: My current work situation is the most influential and life changing because this is the first time in my career that I finally feel I am at home. I am constantly motivated and challenged. My CEO, Susan Davidson has been a mentor to me and has promoted me various times in less than 2 years…this is unheard of! I have also been able to apply all of my creativity in a myriad of projects. I am currently in Scoop’s e-commerce creative team, completing an entire overhaul of our website and all of its visual content: photography, editorials, merchandising and shopping categories. Scoop is a small boutique designer retailer and so I get to be a jack of all trades and dip my hands in almost every department.
Scoop established its first boutique in Soho, NYC in 1996 and gradually expanded across major shopping cities across the country marrying emerging designers with established brand names. Their signature is a personalized shopping experience with a unique selection of trendsetter pieces for the edgy fashionista.
FC: I know that Scoop is still fairly a young brand and probably a very exciting time to be working there. Tell me more or less of a typical day.
JC: Well this all depends on the day…I normally come in to my office, always hurrying to arrive on time, I check all of my emails. I then usually check my calendar for the day and plan out my time. I work for various departments in various capacities and so I am always prioritizing my time. On my down time, which is normally never, I am on the Scoop NYC website merchandising items and making sure the site looks beautiful.
FC: I’ve seen a variety of trends in the windy city. Mostly vintage, recycled, indie style and boutique treasures. What trends do you forecast for summer/fall this year?
JC:Well as trends tend to happen a year out, this year has already been forecasted. We will see lots of neons, pastels and all over fun color and print for both men and women this summer. For fall, we will see a very opulent and rich color palette of deep reds and purples with touches of gold and pewter. It’s all about the contrast. Look for statement pieces, fabrics with sheen/shimmer, think 18th century royalty meets the 21st century hipster.
Jeff’s Favorite Fashion Week Picks!
FC: Working along some of the world’s best designers, what is your perspective on your favorites?
JC: We all know women’s fashion sets the bar for everything else. I love Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, Oscar De la Renta and Zac Posen. Both Marc and Alexander represent a modern woman, while Oscar and Zac represent a more classic lady. I feel these designers are a great mix of the American melting pot of fashion.
FC: I was overjoyed when I learned that you worked with Oscar De la Renta. What type of work have you done with other brands/designers?
JC: I have done men’s accessories/footwear design for Calvin Klein, public relations for Tommy Hilfiger, women’s footwear design for Delman Shoes, and most recently Brand Analyst for Zac Posen and E-commerce Creative Director for Scoop NYC. I dabble in the men’s private label design.
FC: You’ve worked with many high profile designers, CEO’s and such. Can you tell us a good fashion drama story?
JC: Oh boy! One of my first jobs in fashion was working for Calvin Klein. I was hired as the Design Studio Coordinator for shoes & accessories reporting to Ulrich Grimm, the Creative Director for the department. He is a 6’5 tall, gay German man with quite the attitude at the time. I remember I was completing my last semester for my MBA in Global Fashion Management in New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, while working full time, and during my finals week Ulrich calls me into his office and casually says “why do you look so terrible Jeffrey? I said, “I am in the middle of finals, and I may have a slight shadow on my face, but I have been awake until 3am for 2 weeks straight working on papers and finals after work!” He coked his head slightly to one side and answered, “I need you to look less like my delivery boy and more like my banker.” Mind you, this remark was coming from someone who’s work uniform consisted of a t-shirt, grey cardigan, jeans and grey New Balance sneakers. Needless to say, I resigned that same day.
“I had a pair of skinny purple jeans and a pair of black neon stripped MC Hammer pants.”
FC: What separates your style as a designer from others? What is uniquely you?
JC: I am a dual-gender minded designer. Although I currently have distinctively male/female designs, my ultimate brand would be a fully unisex lifestyle brand that would carry exclusive pieces tailored to both women and men alike, creating sizes xs through xl as to accommodate a wide range of shapes. I like the idea of a boyfriend jean that both the girlfriend and boyfriend could purchase, same with really chic motorcycle boots, hats, coats, etc.
Jeffrey has an amazing style. The look book we have put together below will showcase some of his favorite styles and brands through the seasons and some of my favorite designs that he has sported.
Above: Jeffrey wears Spring/Summer looks.
“The Summer Fedora/Panama Hat (have had this same grey TopShop hat for years!). Aviator Sunglasses. The Reversible Short (get multiple looks from one item when traveling, you pack lighter!) The lightweight-bright color Cotton Tee/Polo. The Linen Button-Up Shirt. The Lightweight Blazer a neutral color works best(dress it up or down!) Have also had this blazer for years…”
Above: Jeffrey wears Fall/Winter looks.
“The Tweed Blazer (always great item. Timeless and classic). Look for details like contrast trim, color pop underneath the collar, piping, and even elbow patches. Levi’s 510’s super skinny dark wash jeans (can be dressed up or down). Brogue wingtip shoes. The Winter Vest (keeps you warm and fashionable). The Winter Cardigan (extended collar acts as a neck warmer).The Wool Tie (warms up fall/winter looks without looking too overdressed).The evening Blazer in Navy (slight sheen, always dresses up anything!)”
FC: What design trend appeals to you personally?
JC: My favorite piece is a pair of chic tuxedo pants that become tuxedo shorts. I love clothes that are multi-functional and transformative.
FC: I have always been in love with your style and have watched it evolve from polished and preppy while working in refined corporate offices to sleek Justin Timberlake. I was amazed the last time when I saw you pull off a parka at my last visit to Scoop during Winter of 2011. Not many men can do that. Describe your personal style as it is now.
JC: I am a combination of both a classic male and a stylish trendsetter, however, as I get older and wiser, I am noticing that my taste level is more about visual quality and fit then it is about any kind of “cool” factor or trend. I tend to be attracted to masculine tailoring with small but special detailing in some area, an interesting color pop on a blazer collar or a leather pocked on a pair of dark jeans. I think polished is so much better then grunge.
“The biggest faux pas is not getting your clothes tailored. Men want to wear everything right off the rack.”
FC: What brands appeal to you?
JC: My current favorite brands are:
- Spurr – Love the surprising details…
- Walk -Over Shoes – They have to be one of the best men’s dress shoe lines out in the market
- Paul Smith – They have some of my favorite prints in the business!
Jeff picked out his favorite brands from Scoop’s Spring/Summer line including Sperry, Edun, New Balance, Rag & Bone, Paul Smith, Riviera Club and Taylor Vintage.
FC: Alternatively, what is the worst style mistake you made?
JC: As an adolescent, I made MANY fashion mistakes, only because I wasn’t choosing my own wardrobe. I had a pair of skinny purple jeans and a pair of black neon stripped MC Hammer pants and both got me made fun of in grade school. But at least I was open minded and bold as a young boy!
FC: I am very happy that I get to have the male perspective on fashion which has been a bit hidden in the blog. What do you feel is the biggest faux pas that men make in fashion?
JC:I think most men don’t think anyone really cares how they are dressed as long as their clothes are clean. The biggest faux pas is not getting your clothes tailored. Men want to wear everything right off the rack, and although many items will fit as is, trousers, jackets and suits, should be tailored to fit a man’s proportions properly. Baggy or ill-fitting clothing just looks sloppy and careless. Oh, and there is such thing as “dad jeans” and they are just as ill-fitting and washed out as the mom versions.
FC: With so many options and different media mediums available, what do you think is the biggest challenge that most retail brands face in selling style and trend?
JC: Definitely oversaturation of everything to the consumer. We are constantly bombarded with so much information, that it is quite difficult for a retailer to grab anyone’s attention and retain it. It feels like everyone is selling something at all times. There is also the globalization and merging of brands, this makes it difficult to compete as brands become bigger and all encompassing.
FC: I know that despite working in a very demanding industry, that there is a luxurious spiritual presence about you. What are your future plans?
JC: I love analyzing brands and exposing their hidden potential. Creating a brand identity is extremely important in our currently oversaturated global market. Every brand has a brand position/point-of-view that is hidden within its essence, harnessing that into something the consumer can relate to and even embrace is my strong point. Also, maybe someday I will run my own non-profit organization. I want to partner with diverse brands to distribute free clothing and footwear to people in need all over the world.
FC: With all your extensive work in branding and marketing, what advice do you have for up and coming designers and start-up retailers?
JC: For designers, the most important tip is to go work for someone else’s atelier. Helping design for another designer who is more established or accomplished will help guide you to become the best you can at what you are strong at designing. Not everyone that can make a garment or sketch is a born fashion star. Also, have a backup plan in case your designer dreams do not come to fruition. There is so much competition in this industry, it really is all about who you know or who knows you. For retailers is all about the niche customer. You have to reach out to members of the society who have a specific, yet untapped style and creating an environment where not only the product selection is geared toward them, but also the ambiance is an experience that they cannot get elsewhere. Shopping is as personal as the iPhone or iPad, everyone wants things customized and personalized!
FC: Thank you Jeffrey. It was such a pleasure to speak with you and get more insight into your world of fashion, design and style. We look forward to seeing more of you and learning the scoop on Scoop!
JC: Thank you FC!