Ex-Pats : Jordan Brooks
If you're from Elmira you probably know about Jordan Brooks, native Elmiran and celebrity stylist, who’s currently making big moves in the Los Angeles fashion industry while maintaining an impactful presence on youth in his hometown. He led a model bootcamp in May that was recently featured on local news station WETM.
Although Jordan lives and works primarily in L.A., where he’s making waves as an up and coming fashion stylist and creative director to the hottest influencers in the entertainment industry, he takes his role as a mentor to kids from his hometown community very seriously.
“I’m doing it for these babies - to show them that Elmira is just a stepping stone.”
Growing up Jordan had always been interested in fashion, inspired by his father VenJara Brooks, and his Grandma Barbara, a seamstress who actually made her own wedding dress.
“Fashion has been my family since I was young,” he says.
However, it wasn’t until he’d returned to the Elmira area after attending Monroe Community College in Rochester, and joined friend Brittney Brooks aka Eddy Knoxx / Knoxxy to help organize a local fashion show for kids, that Jordan was inspired to build the confidence and aspirations of community youth by creating a bold, informative program sharing insider tips on how to not just survive, but thrive, in the industry.
After seeing the success of his first fashion show, in which he partnered with the NAACP, Betsy Hilfiger, sister of fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger, encouraged Jordan to find a way to continue engaging local youth interested in breaking into the fashion industry. She suggested starting a fashion club to coincide with the annual Back to School fashion show EOP wanted to hold. With help from friends and financial support from EOP and the Tommy Hilfiger Foundation, Jordan created the Fashion Express Club program to teach interested youth at EOP how to navigate (and dominate) the fashion industry. His program, started in 2012, is designed to teach those interested in the fashion industry, from modeling to creative art direction, to design, fashion photography and the business of building a social media following, organically, how to succeed.
In his time as program director at EOP, Jordan has mentored amateur and experienced models, designers and stylists, producing five local fashion shows which allowed him to take program participants on field trips to New York City to visit designers, see fashion shows in person and visualize themselves in the world of celebrity and high fashion.
After five years, Jordan felt he’d hit the ceiling of what he could accomplish in Elmira and, with the encouragement of his mother, Nykole Parks, Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 2018 to advance his career.
“I felt that being a mentor, I had to actually live the dream,” he explained. “You can’t mentor the kids if you haven’t done it yourself.”
Jordan had gained valuable experience through his relationship with the Hilfigers on the NYC fashion scene as well as producing the Elmira fashion shows. When he first got to L.A., Jordan began styling his good friend, Eddy Knoxx, whose music and fashion efforts were beginning to gain attention.
In addition to writing and performing trap rock, Knoxx’s fashion line DVMN Pigeon (pronounced “Dom Pi-jhan”), founded in 2009, was beginning to gain notice. Jordan was involved in many of the creative and styling aspects of the line’s promotion, including working on a seasonal collection launch as well as a Pride campaign promotion.
Through his creative and fashion directing and styling work, Jordan has continued to gain recognition for his skills, expanding into film, television, streaming and fashion photography.
Throughout his grind to advance in L.A.’s fashion scene, Jordan has continued to reach back to the southern tier to mentor those in the area interested in following the path of local fashion legends like Tommy and Andy Hilfiger, and Pilar Sanders.
Along with popular fashion personalities like America’s Next Top Model All Stars Cycle 17 winner Angelea Preston, who Jordan met and befriended on set as a judge his sister, who’s a nutritionist, and Journey Fitness 333 fitness expert Jeremy Purifoy, Jordan created a comprehensive model bootcamp program for all ages that teaches posing and runway techniques, how to navigate the business, persevere through rejection and career setbacks, as well as how to maintain a positive mental and physical attitude for those pursuing a career in the fashion industry, or who may just want to boost their own self-confidence.
Meanwhile, he continues to expand his repertoire and job skills while building his reputation in L.A.’s fashion scene.
“I’m now breaking into TV and cinema,” Jordan says.
He’s worked with Selling Sunset’s Amanza Smith on the Netflix reality show as well as her appearance on Celebrity Family Feud.
Most recently, he finished working on a project as set costumer for the lead actors in the upcoming film “A Holiday Chance,” starring Sharon Leal, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and Richard Lawson. Jordan also recently served as the creative director for the launch of swimsuit brand Gemini Swim, a job that included scouting photo shoot locations, creating product concepts, choosing the “Glam Squad” for photo shoots and more.
The pandemic has led Jordan to delve more deeply into fashion photography, opening up his job prospects further. He recently finished shooting a photo spread for a new publication, scheduled to come out in October. He’s considering enlisting an agent to help him coordinate and book even more jobs.
While his career continues to heat up in L.A., Jordan’s hoping to produce another fashion show in Elmira this fall.
“It really is possible to achieve your dreams,” he says. “I want to be sure kids who grew up like I did, know that. You never know who you may be talking to that can see your talent and want to help you shine.”