Tapping into his experience on New York catwalks and mentoring future models, Jason Gardener has broadened his fashion reach even further with his new personal brand, STYLED by Jason Gardener, launched Friday on St. Croix.

Born and raised on St. Croix and a graduate of Central High School, Gardener modeled with Cindy’s Models from the Isles before heading for the Big Apple in 1995 to break into the modelling industry.

Gardener freelanced and modeled with a number of different agencies, walking the catwalk for several small up and coming designers as well as top names such as DKNY.

With the Tomorrow’s Talent agency, Gardener participated in the 1995 International Modeling and Talent Association, the industry’s largest modeling and management convention. He also choreographed the team’s winning dance, which prompted Tomorrow’s Talent to retain him as director for their modeling program. Gardener coached hundreds of kids, teens and young adults in “posing, style, social skills, personal development, everything that had to do with fashion.”

The experience allowed Gardener to meet all the top model agencies in New York. Invited to many of the industry’s elite parties, Gardener used the opportunity to make the right contacts, listen and learn.

Gardener and a partner opened their own modeling agency in New York, Uptown Model Management, in 2003. Four years later, he went into business for himself with JG Model Management.

“With the agency, I traveled and met all the right industry people, all the designers and celebrities,” said Gardener. “My time in New York I truly believe prepared me for where I am today in my career. Although we had a lot of highs, we did have a lot of lows as well, but I never let it stop me. That saying ‘If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,’ I am living proof of that. New York is a place that can make or break you, and it did both to me, but I wouldn’t change the experience. I learned from the best.”

Gardener moved back to St. Croix in 2010, and a year later, opened JG Management USVI. Because the island doesn’t have the big market that New York does, Gardener focuses on training and development. He partners with former supermodel and international scout Sandi Bass of Sandi Bass International, who works to place his models worldwide.

With limited opportunities on the island, Gardener decided to create a few of his own to highlight his students. In 2013, he organized Kids Rock Fashion Weekend, held every year in March. In 2014, he started the Virgin Islands Model of the Year Competition.

The child winner that first year, Egypt Jackson, was featured on the box of a Toys R Us jewelrymaking set for a number of years.

The second year of the competition, they added a top male model category. The first male winner, Jamal Cruickshank, went on to be booked to walk exclusively for designer Givenchy in the Paris Men’s Fashion Week. The 2019 female winner, Jenna-Monet Queeley, has been booked by companies such as Target, Shiseido, Mac and more, and is a fashion consultant for STYLED by Jason Gardener. In 2019, he added St. Croix Style Fashion week, centered around the week of the Model of the Year competition in Arpil, featuring designers from St. Croix, the British Virgin Islands and New York. Gardener also became the chairman for the Miss St. Croix Festival Queen pageant in 2017.

In the back of his mind, Gardener long had the idea of creating his own personal brand in addition to his model management business, and he decided that now was the time. With his new high-end fashion brand, STYLED by Jason Gardener, he and his team provide personal style and fashion services for anyone from local VIPs to pageant contestants.

Appearances matter, and STYLED by Jason Gardener helps their clients to put their best foot forward, whether it’s through fashion, private walking lessons, pageant coaching and consulting or their overall image.

Anyone who needs to look their best for an important event can take advantage of STYLED by Jason Gardener’s personal styling services, for a complete look from head to toe. For high school students, they provide intro night, class night and prom night fashion consultations to help make the night one to remember.

For a total transformation, start with Gardener’s closet editing and personal shopper services. He also provides both beauty and image consulting to help his clients successfully project the image they want to put forward, whether that impression is professional, serious, fun-loving or classic.

Whether it’s for a personal or business occasion, you may want to have that perfect photo to commemorate the moment. As a photo shoot coordinator, Gardener can guide the posing, the styling and the overall direction of the shoot to make sure the result is professional and exactly how you wanted it.

STYLED by Jason Gardener also wants to give back to the community.

“For our makeovers, what we want to do is more of a giving back, offering makeovers to deserving women and men suffering from abuse, or whatever their situation. We want to make them feel as good as they are.”

STYLED by Jason Gardener is located in Mt. Pleasant, above Jane’s Bridal. Visit their Facebook page or call 340-244-5544 for more details.