ARTIST INTERVIEW: Jenni Kayne
Jenni Kayne is a Los Angeles based designer and mother. Best known for her timeless wardrobe classics such as the Fisherman sweater and Mules, Jenni launched her apparel and accessories line 15 years ago and has since opened five stores across California (one soon to be in New York!) and has built a devoted audience on her blog Rip & Tan. Most recently, Jenni launched her first home décor collection, just in time for the holiday season. We’re thrilled to welcome Jenni Kayne Home to the Holiday Echo Park Craft Fair 2017! We spoke to Jenni about her creative journey and she shared some photos with us.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I started my line in 2003, when I was 19. I was very fortunate to have support from my family, but I was still so young, and had so much to learn about the business and myself as a designer. I am proud that after nearly 15 years, getting married and having kids, the economy crashing, and other challenges, the brand is stronger than ever, with a really clear vision and path ahead. Perseverance can be its own kind of risk!
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
I am happiest when I am outdoors. I love to hike and ride horses, I love entertaining outdoors, and spending a day at the beach, the lake, or in the mountains with my family.
I think you can see and feel my appreciation for nature in the touchable, natural fabrics I use in my collection like silk and alpaca, and the neutral, natural color palette of sand, saddle, and dark blues and greens. I also designed our stores and my home—where we shoot a lot of the photography for the brand and blog—with lots of natural materials like wood and stone. There is a minimalism to the way I dress, design, and decorate that also stems from my appreciation for nature, and the importance of letting simple beauty stand alone.
What is a new idea you have been working with recently?
Well, I just launched my first Home collection! It’s a very exciting moment for me and our whole company. I’ve wanted to do a home collection for a long time and the pieces finally came together for us this year. My team and I put a lot of time into finding the right partners to help us make the products. We also outfitted a vintage Airstream to take the collection on the road for the holiday season. I’m so proud of how everything has turned out.
The collection includes baby alpaca throw blankets and pillows, all made in Peru at a women-run, family-owned factory, as well as natural, soy and coconut-wax candles made and hand-poured here in Los Angeles by our partner in Culver City, Stone Candle Company. Stone Candle employs adults with developmental disabilities through a partnership with the non-profit Exceptional Children’s Foundation.
There’s also a range of luxurious travel accessories, too. Alpaca and shearling slippers, eye masks, linen pouches for keeping your bags organized, and more. I like to feel at home when I travel so these little luxuries were a natural inclusion in the collection.
Do you feel like you’re part of a greater community of artists? If so, describe why?
Yes! I’m very lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing artists and creative thinkers who inspire and educate me constantly. From the talented women in our own company to the creative leaders we collaborate with and interview on Rip & Tan and who participate in our new speaker series, there is definitely a sense of community in everything that we do at Jenni Kayne. The brand wouldn’t be where it is without this community—I am so grateful to have it.
What is so special about making art NOW, in our hectic digital age?
I really believe in the importance of slow, thoughtful living. Of buying a few well-made, thoughtfully designed items you really love, rather than a thousand cheaper, louder things you’ll quickly grow tired of. Or cooking meals with friends and family and taking time to set the table in a beautiful way—then lingering over the meal for as long as you want. Of spending a few extra minutes in your routine to take a long soak, or meditate, or give yourself a facial massage. From the pieces I design to the stories we write on Rip & Tan, I think Jenni Kayne helps women carve out that time, or make that more considered purchase, even if they don’t have the opportunity to live that way 24/7.