Jelena Bojic brings her European sense of style to the prairies.
By Jyllian Park | August 3, 2016
Before moving to Edmonton from Montenegro with her husband in 1999, Jelena Bojic was no stranger to the fashion-forward ideologies that go hand-in-hand with growing up in Europe. This razor-sharp focus on good design and quality craftsmanship – a mainstay in fashion houses across the continent- has shaped how Bojic presents herself and the companies that she represents.
After four and a half years working in the marketing department at the Edmonton Opera, Bojic has found herself disseminating the latest trends in apparel and accessories at Kingsway Mall – a perfect fit for this cross-continental style-junkie. As the marketing director for the mall’s management company, Oxford Properties Group, Bojic oversees the shopping centre’s social media, branding and promotional campaigns. Her days are a mixture of the more envious jobs in fashion, from photo shoots and runway shows, to the often-overlooked minutiae of budgets and sales plans.
An avid trend watcher, she understands that in a fast-paced world, shopping habits can change at the drop of a wide-brimmed hat. This fashion-conscious clotheshorse knows that, in order to keep up with the ever-changing whims of tastemakers, you have to be willing to take some risks. And, as a student of the European school of high fashion, Bojic knows that before you break the rules, you have to know them. Babaton dress; Brandy Melville slip; Steve Madden shoes; Brandy Melville necklace; Kate Spade earrings
How would you describe your style?
I think, as you get older, you have to have a go-to look. When you are young, you can experiment with a lot of different styles, but when you get older you have to find something that works for you and is your thing. I like to experiment sometimes and go out of the box a bit, but I always come back to classic looks. That has always been my preferred style. I like to try new trends if they work for me, but I have to have my staples of black and white and classic cuts.
Do you have certain fashion icons that have shaped your sense of style?
I love a simple and classically elegant look. That has always been something that I have really admired. I love when I see someone that looks completely done and polished and all they are wearing is one piece like a great dress or a simple pant and top. That has always been my favourite look. I would definitely say that someone like Sophia Loren is an inspiration for me. When you see her in those big glasses, a simple top and a great pant, it just looks so fabulous on her. I admire her for that. It’s not like she is trying so hard.
Working at Kingsway Mall means that you are constantly surrounded by new styles. Have you noticed that your fashion sense has evolved because of that?
I think that I am more adventurous with styles now. I will see things at stores that are not necessarily targeted towards women my age, and I will still go for it. I’m not saying that I will go too far with it, but I’ll go to Brandy Melville and grab a top and think ‘this is so exciting! I can shop here. This isn’t just for 18 year olds!’ Being in that retail and fashion environment has to have an impact on a person. When you walk by those stores every day, you start to pick out those pieces that you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards.
Do you have a favourite piece that you have bought recently?
I just bought a beautiful one-piece romper at Aritzia that I am obsessed with. I want to wear it everywhere because it’s so cool. It’s one of those pieces that you can wear with anything. You can put it with heels and a blazer and look very professional and go to work, or you can wear flats and a cute hat or more accessories and go out. I love how versatile it is.
Did growing up in Montenegro influence your relationship to fashion?
Yes. Because Montenegro is right across the Adriatic Sea from Italy, there is a huge fashion influence there. I would say that people there spend more time getting ready and more money on their clothes than they do here. There is a very different mindset when it comes to clothing. It is such an important piece of everyday life for them. I always find it so amazing that people with regular jobs are wearing thousand-dollar shoes, but they look at it as an investment. Fashion is something that everyone there is so passionate about. Ted Baker dress; Kate Spade earrings
Are there elements of fashion in Europe that you look forward to when you go back to visit?
I love to see the people walking around. It’s like a runway. You can look at these gorgeous, well-dressed people walking up and down the street for hours, just showing off the latest trends and fashions. It’s totally fine to check people out, and it’s not considered rude. You’re just looking at someone and admiring how they look. Being able to just sit somewhere and have a coffee or a drink and observe that is so cool. Once we moved from Europe, I figured out that’s not something that happens everywhere in the world.
Are there any trends that you have noticed in European street style that you are really excited about?
We usually go in the summer, so you see a lot of white on white. I love that style because it is so fresh and so gorgeous. I remember seeing that long before we really started to see it here. It’s OK to wear all white at weddings and it’s not considered rude, it’s just a big trend. Babaton top, Wilfred pants and scarf from Aritzia; Tory Burchshoes; Kate Spade earrings; Alice and Ani bracelet
Fashion brand: Halston or Wilfred from Aritzia
Article of clothing: Black and tan Halston dress
Accessory: Apple watch
Social media personality: Mindy Kaling
Dish to eat in Edmonton: Maple bacon from Tzin (10115 104 St)
Cocktail: Raspberry mojito
Restaurant: Canteen (10522 124 St)
Cafe: European Sweetness (12212 107 Ave)
Book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
styling by Jyllian Park
photography by Tina Chang
hair and makeup by Nickol Walkemeyer
photographed on location at Mercer Warehouse, Mercer Tavern and Rostizado
This article appears in the August 2016 issue of Avenue Edmonton. Subscribe here.