At Home with Jacklyn Barber

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Follow Jacklyn– Photos by Jacklyn Barber for The Style Line

Jacklyn Barber celebrates personal style fearlessly.

From her striking photographs to her refined sense of style, the Guelph-based photographer has been on our radar for quite some time. To preface this story – we first really got to know Jacklyn’s work when she shot last year’s Neighborhood Story with Lee Vosburgh of Style Bee. After seeing Guelph captured and curated by two of the city’s most prominent insiders, we became entranced with this emerging creative hub… and as you’ll discover more of in our interview below when it comes to conscious life and style, Jacklyn is leading the charge in this community in more ways than one.

“Things tend to move a bit slower here, and that’s what I like most about it,” Jacklyn explained when we further asked about life in Guelph. “As a community, we do a really great job of supporting local (and long-time) business owners and trying to reduce our carbon footprint in every way that we can.” With that said, we wanted to chat further about these themes with the talented lady behind the lens of some of our favorite photos. Without giving too much away, we’re excited to share our recent catch-up with Jacklyn who kindly invited us into her creative world. Discover and enjoy the full story below featuring exclusive photos captured by Jacklyn for The Style Line.

Hi there! I’m Jacklyn Barber, a photographer

living and working in Guelph, Ontario. When I’m not busy documenting life with my camera  – I enjoy antiquing, country drives, smooth bourbon, cooking for my friends and family and listening to a good record by the fire.

(If I were single, this would be a good intro for my online dating profile).

How would you describe life in/relationship to Guelph and how do you think being here has informed your outlook on slow life and style?

I am fortunate enough to have grown up in an extremely eco-conscious, creatively driven community. The slow fashion movement is something Guelph has been embracing well before the term even came to light, and was actually the home of Biltmore Hats from 1917 – 2010 (which is something I am always proud to declare when I spot one in a vintage shop). Things tend to move a bit slower here, and that’s what I like most about it. As a community, we do a really great job of supporting local (and long-time) business owners and trying to reduce our carbon footprint in every way that we can. These are things that I learned the importance of at a very young age.

I am grossly aware of the impact “fast fashion” has on our environment, and so I choose to only invest in quality made sustainable garments. Sure, it’s not realistic to think I can afford an entirely handmade wardrobe, but if it’s not handmade – it’s older than I am. Meaning, it’s either vintage or second-hand. When you really take a moment and think about it, the slow fashion movement is a way of getting back to where we began – embracing old values. Before garments were mass-produced, our grandparents and great-grandparents were taught valuable life-skills, like weaving and sewing. They knew first hand, the time and effort that went into the clothing they wore. This process has unfortunately been lost over the years.

What are your thoughts on the synergy between fashion and interior style and do you feel you have a similar approach to both areas of design?

I think fashion and interior style go hand-in-hand. They are both used as a form of expression and are a direct reflection of one’s own personality. I would say that I have a similar approach in both areas – I look for pieces that are classic, unique and well made. To me, it’s important to invest in things that will stand the test of time (whether it’s a trench coat or a credenza). If I’m going to splurge, I make sure it’s a piece that is timeless, because trends come and go.

How would you describe your home/creative space and what sort of refuge does it provide when you’re in need of quiet or inspiration?

I tend to keep things fairly organized. In fact, my sister jokes that my bedroom doesn’t look lived in (which I would argue). When things start to pile up and clutter, it greatly affects my mood. So, I make a conscious effort to keep my home free of mess, in order to create a space that I can be productive in.

What role does fashion play in your life and why do you think fashion/style deserves to be asked the bigger questions?

My style icon has always been my grandmother. In addition to being the most informed and fashionable 75-year-old I know – she is an extremely talented seamstress. When I was 11 or so, I asked her to teach me how to sew. Selfishly, I only wanted to acquire the skill so I could make myself a pair of denim bell bottoms with an embroidered rose on the back pocket (something I had conjured up while daydreaming in class, I’m sure). Unfortunately, the project went a little over my 11-year-old head, and I didn’t have the attention span for it. Since then, she and I have collaborated on a few outfits, and slowly but surely – I’m learning.

It’s something that I’m dedicated to because I believe it to be a skill that will go a long way. I want to be able to mend my jeans when I inevitably rip a hole in the knee (or let’s be honest – rear end). As a society, we’re so quick to discard and replace instead of repairing or repurposing. This goes beyond just the fashion industry. We need to choose to place value in the things that we purchase. We need to think about the effects that contributing to consumerism has on our environment, to human rights and the workforce in general.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

“Neat or on ice?”

How would you advise the next generation of photographers, makers or creative thinkers to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

It’s important to set yourself apart – do not be afraid to be different. Hone in on what it is you’re passionate about and give it everything you’ve got.