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Conversations with Jillian Durgin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jillian Durgin.

Jillian, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up in the deep south and for as long as I can remember, I loved music, fashion and the arts. What I could not find locally I was able to access online and soon found myself meeting fellow artists online and networking. I started modeling at 17 which gave me an opportunity to expand my horizons while making money all the while pursuing my interests in music and electronica specifically. I ended up making several albums and performing nationally and with each photo taken, each new festival played I was crafting and fine-tuning my “look” and realized that if I wanted to find the perfect fashion for both stage and streetwear, I would probably need to make it myself. That was the start of Ritual. At first, I was making clothes just for me, then for my friends, then I started getting commissions and requests from celebrities and costume designers and Ritual became a full-time commitment.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I started RITUAL with the desire to make an ethical luxury brand company with everything done in-house and without outside funding. Needless to say many told me it was impossible. Of course rather than discouraging me, any time I hear “impossible” it makes me work that much harder and everyone on the Ritual team feels the same. Working in multiple countries with a dedicated and diverse group of creatives has had its challenges believe me, but somehow we have met all of them head on. We have had to find solutions to everything from volcanos interfering with shipping to staying in business during covid with international borders being closed. All of these challenges have taught us to put health ahead of profit because without health there is no company. I am extremely grateful that I have a team that has never given up and has searched for creative solutions to get fashions into the hands of our customers safely while so many artisanal brands have gone out of business. Ritual is still here and bullish for the coming year.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As a fashion designer and art director, I have made it my job to empower people by dressing them with unique magical designs which allow them to move through life making a statement.

Who else deserves credit in your story?
So many people are part of this story. My customers many of whom have had to endure delays in these turbulent times but continued to support us with ongoing orders and patience, my manager Jean Renard, my friend and music producer Eric Hart who has helped me create music for RITUAL and Jillian Ann. Clayton Beck who has been running our production in Bali as well as contributing creatively across the entire Ritual line. My friend Ric De La Rosa who has helped with our marketing and project management and our PR firm Jade Ikazoboh AT ETCETERA Los Angeles who continues to expand our network brilliantly. Ritual is a community effort and that makes it much more fun.

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