Designer Jesse Kamm's comeback to fashion
Jesse Kamm’s collection of airy and edgy tunics, tank tops and trousers is back after the designer’s one-year hiatus from fashion to focus on her new life as A mother to her now 16-month-old son. Her collection for spring 2011 is partly inspired by her day-to-day activities of child rearing as well as a reinvigorated approach to design and a newfound perspective and love for Los Angeles after spending eight months in Austin, Texas.
“Spring came from me cutting up construction paper into different shapes,” said Kamm, 34, while showing her 20-piece spring 2011 line from retailer Ten Over Six’s sunny new location at Melrose Place. “I have these very simple, basic tasks I focus on with my baby like feed, play, change. The patterns in this line and the simplicity of the shapes are a reflection of the repetition of these basic tasks.”
Her hand-painted prints reflect basic shapes and repetition, such as black horizontal blocks stacked in an upward motion and printed across sack-style dresses and loose tank tops, and small triangles pointing to the right signifying moving forward. “The idea behind this collection is easy, go-to basics,” Kamm said. “Each piece is constructed from simple shapes like a trapezoid or triangle. These super-basic shapes end up being incredibly elegant.”
Kamm, a statuesque former model, moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago from her home state of Illinois. She began making a few pieces of clothing that got a lot of attention when she wore them. Five years ago she garnered the attention of a retailer while wearing one of her homemade slouchy dresses. One by one, women around L.A started catching onto Kamm’s lithe, easy pieces. She caught another break after giving Liz Goldwyn a tunic in exchange for a pair of earrings from Goldwyn’s jewelry line. Goldwyn wore the tunic into the popular Parisian store Colette and soon enough, the buyers were e-mailing Kamm for orders.
But as much as fashion-savvy Angelenos had to do with her start in design, Kamm, her husband and baby moved to a remote area of Austin, Texas, for nearly a year. “I was sort of down on L.A,” Kamm said.
“Everyone tells L.A designers that if you really want to make it you have to move to New York. Hearing that over and over started to bring me down.”
The time spent in Austin helped to reinvigorate Kamm’s attitude toward L.A. “My heart was here,” she said. “There’s so much happening here, so much progress in art and fashion. I have fallen in love with L.A again.”
Kamm’s collection is designed and manufactured in Los Angeles and available at Ten Over Six, 8425 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photos: Looks from the Jesse Kamm spring 2011 collection. Credit: Courtesy of Jesse Kamm