Alumni Profile: Prajje Oscar. Jean Baptiste, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

Chéry Cassandraat Kinam, Hotel Haiti. Style by Mystique Boivert. Make-up by Maritza. Photographer James Kètant.
Prajje Oscar. Jean-Baptiste wearing Soulouque Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

Prajje Oscar. Jean-Baptiste is a Haitian-born, New York-based fashion designer and the founder of Prajje 1983. He has been designing and making fashions for as long as he can remember, beginning as a child in Haiti. In his teens, he moved to Cambridge, Mass. With his mother’s encouragement, Jean-Baptiste attended the Youth Programs at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, later enrolled at the college and graduated in 2009 with a BFA in Fashion.

Jean-Baptiste is a brilliant colorist best known for his glamorous evening dresses. His simple, elegant and luxurious garments are designed to magnify female beauty. For inspiration, he taps into the cultural richness, natural environment and the people of Haiti. He dreams of raising awareness of the beauty and vibrancy of Haiti, and its artisan craftsmanship, to his couture clientele, on fashion runways and to his retail partners internationally.

Since founding Prajje 1983 in 2003, Jean-Baptiste has received accolades in the press, on the runways of New York and on the red carpet. His fashions have been featured in publications such as Arise, The Boston Globe, the Boston Herald and Elle. Teen Vogue has named him as one of 10 Haitian designers to watch. Jean-Baptiste has also been featured on the TV programs Good Morning America and All on the Line with Joe Zee.

Former Miss Haiti-Univers Anedie-Azael Doura.

In 2013, Jean-Baptiste participated in Arise Fashion Week in Nigeria with designers from around the world. In 2014, he had the distinction of presenting his first fashion show to critical acclaim during New York Fashion Week. Most recently, he was invited to be part of the delegation of the Bureau National d’Ethnologie of Haiti at Carifesta XIII, a Caribbean festival held in Barbados in August 2017.

He credits MassArt with helping to shape him as a as a fashion designer.

“From my professors, I learned how to be more global in my thinking, hone my technical skills, understand the fashion world, and realize what I can contribute to the discipline,” says Jean-Baptiste. He still references his archive of course handouts, class notes and the couture samples he created as a student.

Always challenging himself, Jean-Baptiste is in the process of rebranding Prajje 1983 into Prajje Oscar and looking for new ways to use technology. His goal is to eventually produce his clothing line in Haiti. His advice to emerging artists and designers is to have a concrete and logical strategy and plan to make and promote your creative work.

Learn more about Prajje Oscar. Jean-Baptiste at PrajjeOscar.com

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