Jaennelle Vergonio considers her first three jobs in the fashion industry an education—fashion middle school, high school and college. The 25-year-old blogger and content creator started in retail at streetwear boutique Workmens and its sister sneaker shop Laced before graduating to American Apparel, where she worked her way up to Southwest district merchandiser, managing visuals and styling for 12 stores in Las Vegas, San Diego, Arizona, Utah and Hawaii. “It was a huge opportunity for me, and I made sure I was dedicated to the job,” says Vergonio, who’s lived in Las Vegas for 18 years. “I actually dropped out of my sophomore year of college because I became addicted to my job.”

Next, she moved to Vegas boutique KNYEW, learning the “back-end of fashion,” from marketing to manufacturing—like industry college, she says, without a tuition bill. For Vergonio, fashion has been a business, a muse and a means of self-expression. “When I was growing up I was really shy and quiet. Fashion really inspired, challenged and excited me. You know when you finally find something that feels like it was meant for you? That’s what made me fall in love with fashion. It makes me believe in myself.”

Today, she works with brands like Adidas, Helmut Lang and NARS, directing photo shoots and producing bold images for her Instagram page and website. “It really doesn’t only consist of creating ‘cool photos,’ she explains. There’s lots of behind-the-scenes time spent connecting with followers, scouting locations and editing. “I’m a one-woman team, and I give anyone who’s doing this alone props, because it’s hard work.” That effort has earned her 124,000 Instagram followers and a roster of collaborations that she hopes to grow into a YouTube channel and eventually her own clothing line. While her feed is full of sporty looks and streetwear nods, Vergonio’s fashion philosophy is universal: “Always wear your uniform proudly... That’s really when you feel the best and most comfortable with yourself.”

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