Interview: Marie Claudinette Jean

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Marie Claudinette Jean is rarely seen on the red carpet with her famous husband, Fugees frontman and singer Wyclef Jean. The Haitian-born beauty is neither a Hollywood sidekick to her social activist husband nor is she a stay-at-home mother.

Marie Claudinette Jean or Mrs. Wyclef Jean – to some – is an accomplished fashion designer. The founder and CEO of Fusha Designs, Inc., which fashion house is based in the epicenter of New York City’s fashion district, undeniably possess class, elegance, and radiant charisma.

As her husband - the world-renowned rap icon, singer, and founding member of the politically-astute pop group, the Fugees - has worked to build an admired internationally respected career and now, his wife has parallel his music success in the fashion industry.

Ms. Jean has come a long way from playing major roles in fashion shows to now seeing her clothing on premier runways in Manhattan.  Joining such upscale designers such as Valentino, Gucci, Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, Chanel, Christian Dior and Sean Jean is Fusha Designs, Inc. Fusha’s uncompromising look of style and with sheer elegance designs that are eclectic, refined, and spring to mind sultry-seductive clothing with plenty of expressions of an unfolding of an inner femme fatale.

Interestingly almost two-decade ago when Ms. Jean, the designer, was fine-tuning her craft under less than impressive conditions, she was inundated with fashion shows, when met her future husband, Wyclef Jean. The Haitian-and-Newark-raised fashionista, named after the Haitian beauty queen Claudinette Fushard, clothing line has attracted such clients as: Patti Labelle, Lynn Whitfield, Whitney Houston, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, and Kelly Price – to name a few. Besides having her clothes displayed on major runways, Jean is making plans to open a store in New York City.  This opportunity will give the general public easier accessibility to purchase Fusha Designs, Inc.’s top-of-the-line goods. Ms. Jean, in an interview with The Black Star News, shared her thoughts on her personal life and newest ventures.

BSN:  Although Haitian, you were raised in Newark, New Jersey and you enjoy going to high schools in New Jersey and inspiring young people with your story of success, which is “You made it and they can, if they try.â€?  When you meet with high-school students, what else do you tell them?
MJ: What I usually do is bring them the entire concept of the whole business.
I give them whole idea how to start a fashion business.  I let them know that as students they can do what I am doing; but you just got to put 100%
behind it.  They got to learn to know when to just put negativity to the side and just move forward and stop hanging around the corners.

BSN: You have five siblings.  All of your brothers and sisters have excelled in their designated careers.  What was your family’s formula to snagging numerous achievements?
MJ:  My mom and dad were very tough on us.  It was like we never left Haiti.  We could not go out at a certain time in Newark, NJ; and we
received beatings.

BSN: You attended the opening of “White Chocolate,â€? which featured your friend Lynn Whitfield.  Are you considering positioning yourself in the theater?
MJ: Yes.  I look at the old movies in the 18th century and I incorporate a modern style when I consider clothes for my line.  I want women to dress up again.  I think the more elegant a woman looks the more respect she will get. 

BSN: You have designed clothes for several celebrities.  Can you mention a few?
MJ: I designed a suit for Ja Rule’s wedding.  I have designed clothing for Ms. Patti La Belle, Whitney Houston, Desiree Coleman Jackson and Tyra Banks – to name a few.

For additional information on Ms. Jean’s designs, log on to: www. 
499 7th Ave Suite 1601 South
New York, New York 10018

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