The Jessie and James story begins as a love affair across the cutting room floor at Vivienne Westwood, where they both worked. A little while (and son Billy) later their quirky-luxe childrenswear label was born, incorporating tartans and deconstructed tailoring and Victoriana – essentially taking the dreams of the dressing up box and incorporating them into hardworking, everyday fashion.
We caught up with Jessie and James for a chat…
SM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to do this interview. Where do we fit in your schedule today?
Jessie & James: We are currently just finalising the collection for AW16 and completing a new order for Selfridges who are stocking us this season, which we are very excited about!
SM: What’s on your mood board at the moment?
Jessie & James Lots of Ballet Russe images, Renaissance paintings and studies of flowers and design ideas for future collections. Basically, things we like to look at!
SM: Which are your bestselling items?
Jessie & James: The Squiggle dress is always one of our best-sellers. It was actually the first girl’s dress we designed and today, it is still loved by our customers and now has become our signature piece.
For AW15 one of our favourite pieces is our Princess Coat and we hope our customers love it as much as we do! It really is fit for a princess – it has a very regal look and it epitomises what we are all about here at Jessie and James. It has a clever historical cut but with a twist. It has the most beautiful shape from the back which creates an amazing silhouette.
SM: And which items are Billy’s favourites?
Jessie & James: Billy being a boy loves the easy to wear jersey boys’ styles, particularly the Seekers trousers and Billy blazer jacket. His favourite pieces normally have badges on them and he adores his new parka coat, he thinks he is an explorer, so it’s perfect for him!
SM: What are your biggest challenges, running the business?
Jessie & James: To be honest, as we have grown over the years, the biggest challenges are working with our factories to ensure the collections retain our high level of standards in terms of quality. We also need to make sure that all the goods arrive in good time to our retailers, so there’s a lot to juggle! The warehouse is also a big challenge for us, especially since our sales have continued to rise and the volume of daily shipments has increased. But… we have a wonderful team in place who help us to make sure the process runs smoothly both for ourselves but also for our customers and we have more time available to focus on the collections and other areas like marketing.
SM: And your proudest moment…?
Jessie & James: It has to be the fact that we started out by designing a small collection of baby and kidswear from our home in London and soon after we launched, Liberty London ordered our collection – we felt this was such a huge compliment for such a young brand! We’re hugely grateful to our retailers for stocking us and I’m proud to say we’re also stocked in Harvey Nichols and Childrensalon, with plans to expand internationally.
SM: We’ve spotted a few celeb kids rocking Jessie & James, who would you love to see wearing it?
Jessie & James: We like Gwen Stefani’s style so it would be great to see her boys in Jessie and James!
SM: What’s next for the brand?
Jessie & James: We plan to keep our growth continuing and to develop Jessie and James into a lifestyle rather than just a brand. Launching our first London flagship store is part of this five-year plan.
Shop online at Jessie & James.