We chatted with Jane Dylan Cody, a-Jill-of-all-trades tackling production and operations for small businesses. She talked us through how she channels creative energy, her passion for photography and styling, and the importance of the stories we pass down through clothing.
I currently live in Los Angeles, California. When I was eight years old I moved to Italy, where I lived until I was fifteen, at which point we relocated to Baltimore, Maryland. I lived there for ten years, until heading over to the West. In terms of my education, I have a BA in psychology and was working in education and mental health through college, as well as working in restaurants to pay my bills and tuition.
I’m currently giving room to my creative interests by working primarily for a small woman-owned company that makes beautiful leather bags and goods - Are Studio. We source and produce everything locally, and the leather itself is a meat-industry bi-product. Personally, I think of myself as a Jill-of-all-trades, juggling some production and operations as well as assisting creatively with photography, content building, social media management, and outreach.
With Are Studio, I assist with pretty much everything and anything. From managing daily operations, to production, managing our social media account, outreach, in house photo work and creative troubleshooting. I only recently started working at Mothfood. Tommy Dorr and I were friends before I started helping out. I love vintage, that’s been a real treat. I help manage the web store and miscellaneous daily operations tasks when he’s out of town on buying trips. Mostly I play dress up. He has my favorite eye and collection around.
During college the work I was doing related to mental health had been really taxing, so I needed a change. After moving to Los Angeles, it felt natural to tune into my creative interests, which had always kind of been secondary to my studies and previous career orientation. There’s more creative work here, and I felt a new freedom which lent itself to exploring what my life as a “creative” might look like and lead to. I also needed space for some healing after the loss of my brother Noah, which I didn’t feel was possible in the context of helping others. That has changed now, but when I moved to Los Angeles, I really needed to be doing something that required a different set of skills and energy.
Photography runs deep in my family, I’ve been oriented towards image-making since an early age. My brother is a big inspiration and always encouraged me to shoot constantly. Photography was a natural medium for me, in part because of how intimate and diaristic it can be as a practice. When it comes to styling, I’ve been in love with clothes since I was little. Growing up in Italy, it added this whole other dimension to it. I learned about tailoring, the history of clothing, and the stories we pass down through our clothes. My love of menswear, preference for natural fibers, and instincts as far as styling go can be traced back to what I learned: that less is almost always more, quality over quantity, and don’t take it too seriously.
Right now, my workdays are looking much more scattered because I’m mostly working from home. Typically I do administrative/operations tasks first thing after my morning routine and a work out, then dive into research/creative tasks like photo work and editing in the afternoons. I set up a backdrop at home now, so that’s been fun to get to play with when the mood strikes. At some point during the day I have a deep existential conversation with Cecilia.
Off the top of my head - Cecilia Bordarampe, Are Studio’s founder, designer and my favorite person. Also, Alexandra Cabral...she’s an artist in every sense and I adore her work. Tommy Dorr of Mothfood inspires me daily, as do all my friends who are committed to vintage clothing. Sarah Jean Culbreth is an incredible dress historian and needleworker whom I admire greatly. Leah Thomas, who uses her platform to educate about intersectional environmentalism and sustainability in fashion, is a huge inspiration as well.
For all those creatives out there, learn to trust your instincts. No job is worth sacrificing your mental wellbeing for. Working for free is called volunteering.
There are a few photo projects in the works, mostly with friends who own small vintage businesses. All very exciting to me. I’m also giddy about Are Studio’s upcoming SS21 collection despite all the uncertainty that we’re facing heading into a new season!
I look forward to both my morning and night routine, though my morning routine has become more meditative, while my nighttime routine is more beauty-focused. I like to make hot water with lemon in the morning and spend about an hour sitting outside meditating and/or reading. In the evenings I take my time and love to do a steam and a mask before bed. I’ve also started drawing tarot cards as a way to reflect on the day and stimulate dream-making.
Being committed to my metal health through therapy and other rituals/routines is at the crux of my self-care practice. That would be the number one takeaway regarding wellness and self care. That and Golde masks, breath-work, lots of water, trace minerals, and zinc.
It’s not a cocktail per se, but Fernet on ice with a slice of lemon would be the one.