Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward

MODISTE spotlights designer fashion
Words by Ashley Locke

When you think fashion, you might not think about Music City—but according to The New York Times, it’s the number three fashion city in the United States. And Jami-lyn Fehr wants to make sure it’s not forgotten. 

MODISTE is defined as a maker or dealer in women’s fashionable attire. It’s also the name of Jami-lyn’s new high-fashion boutique. “Living in Nashville, I found myself going into shops and walking straight out,” she said. “There was nothing that felt for me, with the quality and care I wanted in my clothing. I realized there was an opening.” 

When Jami-lyn says she wanted a shop for herself, she’s being literal. She knows her niche. “I don’t want to have something for everyone,” she said. “With MODISTE, I’m aiming toward people who have an appreciation for designers—people who truly love the elements of fashion. Though my pieces might come at a higher price point, they’re versatile and timeless. I want them to be worn for years to come.”  

The MODISTE showroom is located in Nashville's downtown, but it feels like it’s in New York City. Its tall ceilings and large windows fill the showroom with light. “I want MODISTE to be a destination, not somewhere you just stumble upon,” she said. “I want it to be the type of shop that’s appealing to NYC and LA transplants. I want people who aren’t from here to shop MODISTE online, but when they visit the area they can’t wait to come to the showroom.”

Before MODISTE, Jami-lyn worked in editorial, writing and shooting photography for fashion pieces in The Nashville Edit—but her eye for fashion developed long before. She graduated from Belmont University in 2018, transferring from Boston College shortly after her parents moved to Nashville. She realized her heart wasn’t in the program she was enrolled in at Boston, and when she discovered the O’More College of Design Fashion Merchandising degree at Belmont, she knew it was a perfect fit. “I loved fashion magazines from a young age,” said Jami-lyn. “I loved all those stereotypical things—the movie “The Devil Wears Prada,” and the TV series “Gossip Girl”—but O’More made me fall in love with fashion more than I ever thought was possible.”

During her time at O’More, she learned not only about the business of fashion, but also the ethics. “The fashion industry is one of the most destructive industries because of fast fashion. Look into the ethics of how a T-shirt can cost five dollars. The materials are cheap and the labor is cheap,” she said. “When I was younger, I used to purchase fast fashion, but I learned that investing in clothing is so important—you’ll find you get what you pay for. If you spend $300 on something, but you wear it the rest of your life, the price per wear is actually cheaper.”

Part of convincing shoppers to invest in their clothing is showing them why they should invest—something Jami-lyn is folding into MODISTE’s marketing and online presence. “I want consumers to learn about the designers and the quality of their work so they feel comfortable investing in a piece,” she said. “On the website, each designer has his own page. I want people to be able to learn about and connect with the brands I’m carrying.”

When you enter the showroom, you enter a world of fashion. Australian-based knitwear from Mr Mittens hangs near an exclusive terry colorway from Nashville’s own Brownlee. “There is clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry,” said Jami-lyn. Building the list of designers was nerve-racking at first—there was a bunch of cold-emailing—but the response turned out to be overwhelmingly positive. “It’s been so cool talking with the brand representatives,” she said. “I thought it was going to be stressful, but the first designer I reached out to immediately sent me back a lookbook. They’re excited at the opportunity to be here. Nashville is an untapped market.” 

Though the shop currently features only outside designers, Jami-lyn hopes to be able to create her own collection some day. “I’d love to have a house line,” she said. “That’s a long-term goal, to design a capsule collection.”

In the last couple of years, there’s been an exodus from New York and L.A. to southern cities such as Austin, Atlanta, and Nashville. With MODISTE, Jami-lyn is proving that there’s an appetite for high-fashion in the South. Just as slow food became a movement, slow fashion is beginning to take hold—and as the Nashville fashion sphere continues to grow, MODISTE will remain on the forefront. Nothing trendy, always investment-worthy.