A children’s fashion brand with roots in Vivienne Westwood’s Battersea studio, Jessie and James steps out with their original, creative take on style for boys and girls.
Three seasons in, SS15 is about imaginary lands for the London based duo whose juggling of family life and fashion is paying off with growing attention on their imaginative collections. Fluxlings talk to Jessie and James about their journey from high-end fashion to parenthood and starting their own designer clothing brand for children.
After both gaining degrees in fashion, Jessie and James first met while both working at the Vivienne Westwood Studios in Battersea, London. Originally from Germany, Jessie was taught by Vivienne at the Berlin University of Arts and asked to work with her closely as creative head pattern-cutter on the ‘Gold Label’ collection. James, originally from Emsworth in Hampshire, was first spotted by Vivienne following a menswear show at the London Graduate Fashion Week. He turned down a place at the Royal College of Art London to join her team, working on the Japanese ‘Man’ license in Tokyo and the ‘Man Collections’ in London and Milan.
Jessie said: “Working with Vivienne was absolutely fantastic, as she has a really unique and unusual way of cutting clothes and draping fabrics. We both learned so much there and it was an honour to get the experience from such a legend in the fashion industry.
Needless to say that love blossomed, and soon after Jessie and James welcomed their son Billy into the world. From there flat located in edgy Lordship Lane London and with the arrival of Billy, Jessie began to design clothes for him and the first ‘tip-toe trouser’ was handmade at home. Next came their signature ‘T-squared’ t-shirt and then a jumpsuit. This then developed into a small collection for boys and girls and the Jessie and James brand was born.
James added: “Working in high-fashion teaches you how to cut and design clothes in an interesting and playful way, so everything that children’s clothes should be. When Billy arrived, we really started to see a gap in the market for a luxury clothing range for kids which was fun but still comfortable and wearable, so we started developing new silhouettes. Before we knew it we had a whole collection, a brand and a new business!
“We have two small children now, so the challenge of working and looking after two boys has always been massive, especially as the brand grows and we’re attending more exhibitions internationally. We’ve gratefully accepted the tireless support of our family and friends wherever possible, but we’ve had to juggle the business with having children right from the very beginning, so we seem to have found a balance now.”
Three years and six seasons later and Jessie and James collections are available in some of the most prestigious department stores in the world, including Liberty London and Harvey Nichols in the UK, boutique outlets and international stores. Their collections incorporate very unique silhouettes which are the basis for their designs. Mixing historical shapes with modern pattern cutting principles that are ‘en vogue’ as well as being timeless through their originality, every item in the collection is considered in its detail and design.
Jessie continued: “No one out there is creating children’s clothes like us, from a design perspective, but we want to make sure that we combine fashion with comfort, as that’s the most important thing for children. That’s why we only source the finest 100% cottons from the UK, Portugal and Italy and choose the best manufacturers and mills that understand our idea of quality and design.”
The new Spring Summer 2015 collection is no exception and features easy to wear dresses for the summer which children can wear all day every day, as well as dresses perfect for a summer party or special occasion. It offers cute separates to combine with each other and there are many ways to combine each style to create different, personal and loveable looks. The clothes are also wearable and versatile in comfortable jersey and woven mixes with a touch of extravagance.
James commented: “The Spring/Summer 2015 collection takes us to an imaginary land where a girl can be a princess, ballerina, a film star or a dame. It offers ultra-light, delicate cotton fabrics in uniquely cut styles, with chic elements like contrast bow ties and practical ‘pin-up’ shorts. This collection showcases our love of detail in every garment and is the most loving so far.”
The collection is also available online from two years right up to the 12-years age bracket, with the main focus continuing to be design, quality and comfort. Jessie and James also have big plans for enhancing their brand even further in 2015 by not only looking to open a new flagship store in London, but by introducing a range of shoes, bags and accessories.
For more information about Jessie and James, visit www.jessieandjames.co.uk