On “one of my friend's birthday's we had a beach weekend and the next morning we were decked out in crazy vintage stuff and people were asking what we were doing.” Jill is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, however, “I thought I would be the next CoCo Chanel in Paris. That’s what I wanted to do,” Jill said.
By the time Jill Palase, CCO and Founder at Call to Action, was 8 years old she knew she wanted to be in the fashion industry. Jill told her mother she wanted to design clothing and learned that her mother actually had the same dream and aspirations, and was so happy for her.
Growing up, Jill was a competitive figure skater and started making her own clothing for figure skating since she didn’t like what there was to choose from. This was her first introduction and experience working in the athleticwear industry. Once graduating from High School, Jill attended FIT in New York City which is where she met the recruiter for activewear and declared her focus in that field.
In a world where the word “fashion” might mean different things, Jill explained the difference between style and fashion. “Fast fashion can be disposable and sometimes fashion can feel a little shallow where style is a whole different thing. [To have style] means that you are a person that understands textile and clothing” and you don’t want to embrace or fill your closet with cheap, expendable, unsustainable clothing, Style “requires more creativity.”
While the concept of the left brain, right-brained is a myth, Jill would identify herself with the right-brained community. The theory is that right-brained people are more creative, artistic, and visionary, while left-brained people are more business-like and analytical. “It’s hard to accomplish everything. It requires a lot of time in the behind-the-scenes stuff and social media. Selling it requires an entirely different skill set,” Jill explained. It’s hard to execute the business and the creative aspects and Jill not only leans but excels on the creative side.
A job straight out of FIT working for Oscar Delerentis's swimwear line exposed Jill to more of the fashion industry's faults. “My grandmother was a naturalist and environmentalist, it’s a weird thing to be into fashion because [sustainability and fashion] do not go hand in hand.” The amount of waste “would make my stomach hurt.” Even before it was trendy to recycle, Jill started a recycling program at her job and what’s even more shocking is that there were people working at the company and they wouldn’t even think to recycle. They would say that.”
Besides learning about the deep-rooted problems with sustainability within the fashion industry, Jill has learned plenty of valuable lessons.
- “The people that have made my work life more difficult, I’ve learned the most from”
- “When you are tossing and turning and frustrated or angry, those are the moments that make you grow the most”
“I don’t think it’s wise to rush through those times and instead take those challenges head on and see how you respond to them. That is where you learn the most.”