Saving species through fashion.
As a nineteen-year-old single mother, Jordan opened her first small boutique in Waikiki, Hawaii with only $500. She did this to support herself and her son, keeping him close by while doing it. Eight years later, two more stores led to opportunities on the West Coast. It was at that time that she was exposed to big game hunting, and it was that experience that made her determined to find a way to draw attention to the plight of wild life using her medium of fashion.
Jordan’s first national attention came from a hand painted tiger on a matte jersey gown, shown in Town and Country in 1976. Her work got the mainstream fashion industry’s attention. “Back then, not many women really got it,” Jordan tells Giving Back Magazine. “The dress was bought more for the trophy statement than for the conservational one. Now they get it and I still paint the same tiger on the same style dress today, but it is worn for a conservation as well as a glamour reason.” With this success, the fashion industry opened its doors to Jordan and her unique animal gowns.
In 1985, after many years of international travel to supply stores like Bendel’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Niemen Marcus, as well as many specialty stores, Jordan took a brief rest at a friend’s horse breeding ranch in California. One afternoon, she kept hearing a pathetic cry in the distance. She was told a calf was born to the herd of cattle used to keep the weeds down around the horse paddocks and that the mother had abandoned it. So Jordan adopted the calf, named her Bambi, quit the fashion business and moved to the mountains of Big Bear along with a couple of abandoned dogs, cats and a few horses.
“For the first time I learned to listen to what was around me,” comments Jordan. It didn’t take long for a healthy eco-system to develop of which she became one of the interacting species herself. Coyotes became family. Hawks, owls and ravens became friends. Snakes, rodents and all else natural was respected and took their proper place in the eco-system.
After a few years, ready to create again, Jordan began to produce her custom animal clothing, now, with a newly developed artistic approach to the dying and painting of the fabrics. A private clientele soon found her through exposure at the San Diego Zoo’s fund raisers, the Living Desert in Palm Desert, and through working with Laurie Marker of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Africa, Joan Embry of San Diego and Tippi Hedren of Shambala Preserve.
Jordan opened a show room in San Diego to service her clientele and moved the art and production studio to the wine country in Temecula where she resides today. Jordan is more determined now more than ever to present Mother Nature on special occasion clothing.
“When worn to parties and red carpet events, the animal pieces usually get photographed”, she says. “Every day the news is full of new extinction threats to species on our planet, there is no time to lose!”
“To wear the eyes is to wear the soul, not as a trophy but as a kindred spirit”