Touching heartstrings

Ex-Clarendon woman hopes to make those who wear her garments feel good about themselves

Former East Londoner Jessica Smith, 2, is preparing to launch her own online clothing store. Her range aims to make the wearer feel good inside and out.
Former East Londoner Jessica Smith, 2, is preparing to launch her own online clothing store. Her range aims to make the wearer feel good inside and out.
Image: Supplied

After the success of her debut children’s book, Happy To Be Me in 2018, former East Londoner, Jessica Smith got a kick out of making little ones feel happy in their own skins.

Today, the 23-year-old ex-Clarendon High School matriculant is preparing to launch her own online clothing store which is dedicated to doing the same thing, but with adults in mind.

Preparing to launch ‘Heart Thoughts’, her new clothing brand in October, Smith said her range was mainly for women. She hoped to continue to spread the love through her new endeavour.

Smith said: “I was inspired to expand my range, when I saw how affected people were by Happy To Be Me.

“I know that clothes play a huge role in the way we feel about ourselves. Women often end up loving or hating themselves for the day, based on what they have on and the way it makes them feel.

“It sounds crazy, but it is so true and if clothing can affect us that much, then I want to be a part of it and of course, inspire people to feel good about themselves, through it,” said Smith, who now lives in Port Elizabeth.

Smith’s clothing range is based on comfort, style and practicality, but it is the printed messages of love and support that have been sewn into each garment that truly make her clothing stand out.

“I decided to sew affirmations into each item of clothing in order to share my ‘heart thoughts’ with everyone. It’s so important for me to remind people what I think of them and what they should think of themselves.

“I want people to feel unstoppable and capable of absolutely anything they set their minds to.”

From light and airy jumpsuits, pants, and tops to flowy dresses, Smith’s range is made with different varieties of linen and cotton. Her colour palette includes earthy shades of pink, amber, beige and brown.

“I wanted to create an earthy range of clothing that is flattering for any body shape. Items that are not too clingy or tight, but rather comfortable without compromising on the look,” said Smith.

And while the garments make customers feel good on the outside, Smith’s little messages remind the wearer that they are magic, are loved and are beautiful on the inside too.

Working with a local seamstress, Pam Sinclair, who has created patterns based on Smith’s ideas and sews the garments, Heart Thoughts is a proudly local business.

“Heart Thoughts clothing isn’t like the stuff you buy in shops. When you buy Heart Thoughts clothing you are not just supporting me, you are also supporting a talented woman who is the breadwinner for her family,” said Smith.

The clothing items are designed with women in mind, but Smith hopes to expand her brand to include men’s and boys’ clothing too.

A Port Elizabeth local is the seamstress behind Heart Thoughts, making Smith's ideas come to life.
A Port Elizabeth local is the seamstress behind Heart Thoughts, making Smith's ideas come to life.
Image: Supplied

“Women are my main inspiration and motivation for this project, I feel like I can understand them and help to make a difference to them and their struggles with self-love,” said Smith.

However, the Heart Thought range also includes unisex children’s outfits.

“I’ve adapted my children’s pieces to attend to most of the issues I’ve found. Through working closely with three little girls I’ve realised that skirts are no good without shorts underneath and jumpsuits need to come off easily when kids run for the bathroom at the last moment.” Smith is in her final year of study for a bachelor of education degree and is an au pair to three young sisters.

Smith has also written and illustrated a sequel to her first children’s book titled See You Later Alligator in an effort to help children with separation anxiety.

Her third children’s book titled Dealing with my Feelings will be launched in October along with her new online clothing store.

“No matter how my brand evolves, the aim is always the same and that is to share my heart thoughts with everyone. Sharing love, affirming others, always lifting up and encouraging people. This is what I came for and what I hope to achieve.”

From October 1, Smith’s clothing range can be found at www.heartthoughts.co.za.

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