We are featured in a fantastic Behind the Brand interview with our friends at Alex and Alexa. Find out more about our history, how our brand began, our motto and the inspiration for our current collection...
Alex and Alexa were amongst the first stockists of their debut SS12 collection. Drawing on their design experience from their time at Vivienne Westwood, the duo’s exciting designs mixed humour with unconventional cuts to create a unique identity. They sketched their logo using the Charlie Chaplin hat, and the first initials from their names.
Four years later and the couple have now moved out of London to raise their two sons. Family time is important and they try to live each day with the motto ‘a day without laughter is a day wasted’ - a Charlie Chaplin quote. James says: “We are both perfectionists in our own way so we have to be careful sometimes as we are with each other 24 hours a day, working on Jessie and James and looking after two children can be tough. You have to create the correct environment for both and it has so many challenges to be honest. After many years of doing this we are in a much better stride and enjoy being able to balance the two in the correct way.”
We caught up with James to find out more about the brand and how they balance work and family life…
WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTIONS COME FROM?
We look at historical references, work a lot with draping and we love the theatre, stories and classic fairytales. We take inspiration from anywhere, experiences, dreams we had or even a story we have been told or read about. Walking and relaxing brings us the best ideas on how to push the brand forward, time away from your own business and the day-to-day activities is good and you see things clearer.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT DESIGNING FOR KIDS?
Although we have so much fun designing quirky new cuts and unique shapes we actually enjoy the limitations you have with kidswear, clothes must have a slight element of practicality and also we enjoy using the best fabrics you can find and making sure it’s the softest 100% cottons so the child is wearing only the best quality garment, we feel it is very important for children and we rarely use synthetics in our clothes. Every attention is given to having each garment the best quality it possibly can be, not just for our customers but also our kids wear our clothes and they are our biggest fans, so it has to be perfect…
WHAT IS THE SS16 COLLECTION ALL ABOUT?
It was inspired by an English garden tea party, encompassing the memories of childhood picnics in the British countryside. Bold deck chair stripes in our dresses and our very own exclusive butterfly print, hand drawn in our studio to always offer our customers something new and edgy. Our collections are developing all the time and we push ourselves each season to create new and exciting ranges, with all the feedback we have had from all our customers to date, we are looking forward to bringing some of our most exciting collections to you in the future.
WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS AND HOW ARE THE COLLECTIONS MADE?
We work on the dummy to create new cuts and forms, so a lot of the styles have their own identity and shape and then we look at themes and work on prints and colours to finish the collections and keep them in their stories. Each collection is a journey and it all ties in together throughout and links to the inspiration, whether it is the ballet ruses, time travel or the Milky Way.
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE KEY STYLE FROM THE SS16 COLLECTION WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The Adonia Dress in pink candy stripe with heart detail is our favourite this season, a more classic feeling dress from us but very wearable and with nice quirky details in a true Jessie & James way.
AND FINALLY, IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOUD THEY BE?
Cutting Edge, Unique, Quirky