Let’s talk summer...
Jenn: The trick with summer is to do knitwear that’s lightweight enough and can still be transitional. We experimented with a lot of open work and drop stitches, a lot of linen and lighter weight fabrications.
A hint of what’s to come for holiday...
Jenn: We played with metal & chain. Holiday, for us, is party-wear-slash-that-new-thing-that-you-want-to-have. Maybe a little bit of gift giving but really those yummy sweaters that you just want to wear around from October to February. Runway is always a little snippet to what we’re thinking about for the main collection so we did play with angora and colour. I think that people are getting a little bored of black all winter so if you can inject a little bit of colour it makes people happy. Like are you going to wear black until March?
John: There are two big stories here: cashmere colour and angora. 70% angora. In the past, we would have dialed it down a little bit, we would have done a 30% angora. We’ve gone all the way. Luxe cashmere - three gauge. The other element is true holiday, as we see it; chain detail, continuing with outerwear, party wear.
What is your design process?
John: The roles that Jenn & I play are this: I leave her alone, she starts the process with her team and then I come in at different points and I edit. I’m an amazing editor but I’m not great at the start off point, the launch point. That’s always kind of been who we are and we’re circling back.
Evolution of the brands
John: The market changed when everything crashed and I think that everyone scrambled, and has has continued to scramble since then, because it keeps changing and shifting. We’ve now taken the point of view of, “We’re going to do what we want. We’re not going to chase anything. We’re going to stay true to what we want to do. As opposed to do ‘what she wants’”. Because a lot of brands are playing that game, “What does she want? What does she want? What can I get her to buy?”, and when you go into that panic state you’re not true to yourself or the brand. Even with John & Jenn, the evolution there, is that it was always meant to be the cooler younger sister of Line, at a better price point. So the big message is that were staying true to the brand no matter what happens, that’s our perspective and what our go-forward is. We’re not going to be scared of anything.
Angora is a great example. People don’t wear angora, we don’t care, then don’t buy it. We love angora and we put it into the collection. And what is everyone loving? The angora. Whether it sells or not, it’s aspirational and that’s what we’re going to continue doing.
You need to have a very delicate balance between reality and fear, because fear will hold you back creatively and disconnect you from the collection. I always ask everyone “would you wear it?” and if they say “no” then it shouldn’t go into the collection. They would say, “well I’m designing it for her”. Well there is no “her”, you’re the her and that’s the only place that you can design from.
Jenn: It’s easy to get comfortable in what you’re doing. And it’s also dangerous.