This week, we interviewed top childrenswear designers Jessie and James. After graduating with degrees in Fashion, Jessie and James both spent five years as part of the design team at the Vivienne Westwood Studios in London. 

Jessie started to design clothes for their first baby, Billy, which then naturally developed into a small childrenswear collection. The collection has expanded over the years, catering for children from 2 to 12 years of age. The collections are available in Liberty London, Harvey Nichols and Hankyu Tokyo. Jessie and James live in Hampshire with their two sons. We caught up with the couple find out how they met, and what they’re up to now. 

Tell us the story of how the two of you met to how you ended up setting up your own clothing range together.

We met whilst working for Vivienne Westwood in the design team. James had turned down a place at the Royal Collage of Art for a Masters Degree to work with Vivienne on Man Mainline and Japanese License. I worked closely with Vivienne on new designs and patterns as Head Creative Pattern Designer. Vivienne had already been my teacher whilst I was studying at the Berlin Arts University and asked me to join her in the Battersea London Design Studio.

After almost five years of working together it was love at first sight 😉 and we had our first child together, Billy. I loved being a new mum and started to make little garments for my son. The skills we had learnt at Vivienne Westwood suited childrenswear very much. Humour and clever unconventional cuts are the core of our collections. For us, kids clothing was more challenging and certainly an exciting choice. We designed a small collection of baby and kidswear and very proudly, Liberty London stocked us straight away. Other stockists include the Step2wo concession in Harvey Nichols and Childrensalon.

What inspires you in your designs?

James has always been inspired and loves Charlie Chaplin, that’s why our logo is the bowler hat! I am very much into historical pattern cuttings, draping and creating new shapes on the mannequin. It’s very much like Origami and a fun way to work and create. James will sketch ideas, but I am very hands-on with patterns and fabric. For mood and themes, we look at various subjects from children’s stories, history to exploration and music eras. As our backgrounds are based on working in men’s and women’s wear, looking at other contemporary designers has always influenced our designs as well. James and I do work well together and complement each other’s ideas.

What’s a typical day-in-the-life of Jessie and James?

Well… it’s very different now than when we first launched. Today we have a bigger office and a team working with us. A typical working day involves various tasks. I mainly focus on the design aspect and work closely with King, our Design Assistant who creates moods and inspirational boards, developing prints and choosing fabrics. James and I both work with Daniela, our Production Manager on a daily basis to ensure all new designs are produced with the highest quality.

As we grow, James manages the day-to-day running of the business. This involves Sales and Marketing, PR and overseeing the collections in order to grow our distribution internationally.

We also have two gorgeous boys to look after. We love spending time with them whenever we can. Juggling business and kids can often be challenging, but we want be there whilst they grow up and make time for them as well.

Where are your favourite places to go as a family for a bit of fun, food and culture?

We love being outside with the boys and spend a lot of time exploring the country parks in our area. A trip to London always includes a visit to the National History Museum – it’s a great day out as it’s just as much fun for us as it is for the kids!

Eating out can be difficult when you have two boys and one can never beat a good picnic in the sunshine!

Share with us your ultimate favourite family recipe.

Tuna steak with crushed pistachio nuts and mango salsa is one of our favourites and we also love a good home cooked chicken pie!

What’s in the pipeline for your Autumn/Winter range? Can you give us a sneak-peek of what it might include?

The next collection will be very romantic and glamorous with a lot of sparkle…

What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?

Wet wipes! I seem to clean the whole house with them, especially as most of our baby, George’s dinner seems to end up on the floor!

What are your favourite children’s brands in the industry?

I love Petit Bateau for babies and think the quality is amazing. Stella McCartney is great and it is how childrenswear should be – lots of fun! For me, the best shoe brand has to be Chapter 2, they have lovely designs, which are crafted by hand in their workshop in London.

Which are your favourite go-to high street fashion brands for kids?

I think that H&M is well priced for what it is, particularly in terms of everyday wear. I like their designer collaborations and their kids collection for UNICEF.

How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”

About The Author

My Baba

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