Aspire To Inspire

STUDIO VISIT: DESIGNER JESSE KAMM

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the lovely designer Jesse Kamm in her Mt. Washington home studio.  Jesse and I have been trying to connect for awhile, and it was so great to finally get the chance to sit down and catch up.  I first met Jesse a few years back at one of my favorite LA stores, Tenoversix when she was doing a trunk show displaying all of her amazing hand dyed and printed pieces.  I was naturally drawn to her sparkle energy and openness and immediately became a fan of her and her work.

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Cutie pie Jesse in her living room

Jesse is a special lady and all those that know her say the same thing about her.  We seem to travel in the same circles of an inspired community of designers and artists that believe in the same philosophy when it comes to the concept of slow fashion, the artisanal approach, and having integrity in our work.  She believes in utility and function in clothing as well as comfortability and ease.  She believes that an item in your closet should take you through years of wear, rather than one season alone.  The amount of thought that is put into her collection is deep yet the output is simplicity at its core.  Which is what we all want in life, isn’t it?

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How cozy is this?

You can learn alot about Jesse’s approach just by looking through her house and studio.  Everything is calm and simple but designed for functionality and purpose.  There is no excess in her home, no extra nick naks, no piles of things in the corner.  The environment is soothing and inspired in a way that taps into a level of peace that is not obtained in too many people’s homes.

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I love the large found bones she uses throughout her house for decoration and as doorstops.

It’s all about the basics with Jesse.  Even her Christmas tree was simple as she uses the same handmade felt ornaments every year that she keeps in a shoebox in her closet and pulls out annually to honor her Grandmother’s handmade creations.  I have always been a fan of these handmade Xmas ornaments as that is exactly how my tree was decorated when I was growing up.

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Ornament made for Jesse by her Grandmother the year she was born. 

Jesse’s design studio is in the back of her home and was by far one of the neatest and non-cluttered studios I have ever witnessed by a designer.  She has everything she needs and nothing more.  Her collection hangs in one rack, fabric sits on one corner and her single dress form floats around her desk.  There is minimal decoration around except for some feathers and her inspiration boards.

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Spring 2013 collection

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Fabrics are sourced locally and hand dyed.

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Bags and shoes hang in her studio

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Love this display of special feathers hanging in her studio.

Jesse’s life seems to be set up under a continual color palette of neutrals with pops of fresh color.  Shades of white and tan are the base that keep you calm and comfortable, and then your senses are hit with a pop of orange or pink that give you a quick buzz.  I see this in her collection continually and it is one of the things that makes her approach very directional as well as unique to her spirit.

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Studio inspiration board

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Her son’s cute little footprints hang on her inspiration board.

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One of her favorite lines, a note from Vogue’s Lauren Howell, and a picture from Jesse’s lookbook

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Inspiration books

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Another inspiration board

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Love this photo on her board

I love her sense of color and the tones that she chooses each season.  For Spring 2013, she wanted her collection to reflect the endless summer she spent building her house with her family in Panama; the spirit of vacation was designed into each piece to pass onto every wearer this vacation “state of mind”.

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Philosophy of her collection for Spring 2013

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Images from her Spring 2013 lookbook

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Great necklaces she made out of driftwood she found in Panama this summer where she was building a new house.

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A great necklace for her Spring 2013 collection

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One of my favorite dresses of hers. 

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The backside

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Love this denim shirt dress with frayed arm holes. All of her denim is sourced in Japan.

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A clutch from her collection

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An example of one of her amazing hand dyed multi-purpose scarves

I loved all of Jesse’s Spring 2013 collection, and can’t wait to wear one of those dresses and be in a vacation state of mind! She showed me a bit of her inspiration for Fall 2013, and I’m looking forward  to seeing what she develops.  An emphasis on utility will continue as she garners inspiration from vintage military gear that she has been collecting all year.  It’s going to be good!

Visit Jesse’s website to find out more about her and you can find her line hanging at my favorite stores around the country including Tenoversix, Dream Collective, Beautiful Dreamers,  Maryam Nassir Zadeh and KickPleat.

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