A 7-year-old Jack Boardman asked his aunt if men could be fashion designers.
“Yes, of course they can,” she said.
Then in sixth grade, his teacher asked him to answer the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” for a project. Boardman’s answer was a fashion designer.
Boardman, now a 20-year-old junior and fashion design major at IU, said there was never another option for him. Fashion design was always his first choice for a career.
“I don't know how I knew I wanted to do it, but I just knew that I wanted to,” he said.
On Boardman’s desk sits a sketchbook with drawings ranging from intricate portraits of models to garment sketches to little doodles. A small, leafy plant grows out of a white pot in the right corner of the desk. A tray of scissors, pens, pencils and markers sits by a lamp in the other corner.
Boardman said he was attracted to the fashion industry because of the creativity. He said he enjoys how different styles can coexist within the major.
“One of the things I love the most about this career path and this industry is how individualistic it is,” he said. “It’s really incredible to be surrounded by people who are all so creative-minded.”
On the side, Boardman is a stylist for SEASON Magazine, IU’s fashion magazine. Boardman sources clothes for photoshoots, styles the models and helps oversee photoshoots.
“He's really good at being able to pinpoint his certain inspirations and draw upon those,” SEASON Editor-in-Chief Erin Huston said. “He combines them to come up with something that's really fresh and cool.”
SEASON is coming out with one issue this semester on Nov. 18 rather than two issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boardman will style outfits as well as help come up with the concept for the issue.
“He's really good at sticking up for his ideas, but he's really good at collaboration as well,” Huston said. “He’s a good listener.”
Boardman said one of his interests within the fashion industry is sustainability. He said it is difficult to go into the industry in today’s world without sustainability in mind.
The fashion industry is one of the main contributors to pollution in the world. Boardman said sustainability is important to him because he wants to be a part of the industry for as long as he can.
“I’ve definitely struggled a lot with the idea of going into an industry that is very problematic,” Boardman said.
Boardman said his work has slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making his work more self-guided.
Boardman said it is difficult to go into the studios on campus because students must reserve a spot in advance.
“I have to get myself to draw and to sew,” Boardman said. “If I want to do it and further my skills and my abilities, then I should do it. It requires a lot more self-discipline.”
When designing garments, he always starts with a sketch. Along with fashion design, Boardman said he loves to draw and paint.
Boardman describes his style as classic. He said he finds beauty in classic pieces because they never go out of style.
“A lot of people would think my designs are kind of boring or mature,” Boardman said. “Personally I find a lot of beauty in a button-up and jeans or a really nicely made suit or a really nicely made shirt dress. There’s a reason they’re classics.”
Boardman is also an undergraduate teaching assistant for visiting lecturer Bo Choi’s Fashion Design II class. Choi said Boardman has a very strong aesthetic and also described his style as classic.
Choi said she offered Boardman the undergraduate teaching assistant position because of his natural talent and work ethic.
“His aesthetics are very elegant,” Choi said. “He naturally became one of my top students.”