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28 & 29 January 2018, Business Design Centre, London

News

26 January 2016

Sarah Lancaster meets Jam


Former Rising Star runner-up JAM is returning to Bubble this season - and, ahead of the show, Sarah Lancaster of The Little Revolution has been catching up with its founder, Julia Varesko...


Hello Julia! What motivated you to launch your own brand back in 2014?
 
I wanted create a brand that was beautiful, functional, stylish and sustainable – an antidote to the fast fashion trend which has emerged over the last decade. Exquisite craftsmanship, natural fibres, timeless but modern style and comfort are our guiding principles. As a mother myself, this is what I focused on when buying clothes for my daughter. I try to design products which can be worn as much as possible. Children grow, get messy, need to feel comfortable and also get bored quickly, so it is not an easy task. But if a garment is designed thoughtfully and manufactured to a high standard, the chances are that it will not end up in a landfill after one season. We always keep sustainability in mind and cut waste where possible through pattern design, manufacturing methods and material sourcing.


 
What have you learned about both designing & producing your own collections; production struggles vs the thrill of a completed collection?
 
I have learned that it really is a balancing act. Design needs to be innovative and relevant to the end user - but also viable in production and commercially.

As you move from a design idea to production, you have to adapt and balance your design aspirations with the production capabilities, keep an eye on costs without cutting corners.
 
At the heart of everything lie relationships with the manufacturers – they are crucial. Without them all you have is a concept. I visit our partner factories regularly, we solve problems together, come up with ideas, we learn from each other, we build trust.
 
For me an even bigger thrill than the completion of a collection is meeting the end customer. I once spotted a little girl wearing one of JAM’s garments at a local school fair. I have friends telling me they saw a child wearing one of JAM’s outfits at a party. These children wear JAM’s casual knitwear to special occasions like birthdays and school Christmas fairs. I love it; to me this is the ultimate thrill.



Your collections are very knitwear lead; will this continue to be a focus for JAM London?

Knitwear, especially children’s knitwear, is not an easy market segment  - but I think it will remain our focus. Firstly knits are perfect for a child – they are cosy, stretchy and comfortable. A well-designed knitwear garment can be a real fashion statement. Secondly, as a designer, this is where my passion and know-how lies. I love the fact that with knitwear you work in more than one dimension – you are designing the fabric as well as the garment, and you have the final say in its weight, colour and composition. I think it is important to add a little bit of passion to any job; it makes the challenges feel like less of a challenge and the results even more rewarding.
 
You have managed to create a very elegant & versatile collection; do you have plans to extend your collection in any way?
 
We plan to expand into accessories and possibly to cover an even wider age-range, which may involve producing two overlapping collections. We have already expanded our sizes to cover 2 to 10 year olds, and in some cases babies - but I am confident we can take it further.



Do you have a favourite piece in your current range & why?
 
If I had to pick just one, it would have to be the Reese coat. It is a garment which I think is unique; a true testament to craftsmanship, and a real contender for becoming that “keepsake” item which can be treasured and passed on from sibling to sibling. It is knitted in moss stitch on a heavy gauge machine, and is the kind of coat which will make any girl feel like a princess, while keeping her stylish and warm.



Can you give us an idea of what to expect from your AW16 collection? And what you are looking forward to most about showing your collection at Bubble this season?

The collection was inspired by the 1920’s – a truly pivotal epoch for fashion, with many daring new styles and trends emerging at the time. High fashion grew more accessible, not just reserved for the elite, and at the same time fashion styles became more practical and comfortable. Knitwear, which we love, was in huge demand. Straight silhouettes, simple but elegant, low waist dresses, pleats, gathers, pockets, square collar lines – you will find all of these featured in our collection. Wool, pincord, velvet all feature too.
 
Our customers frequently ask us whether we offer anything for boys. While we remain a girlswear brand at heart, it has been our goal to offer a greater range of unisex garments and I think we achieved that with this collection. Our unisex tops and jumpers can be easily passed on to the second and third child or shared!
 

Catch Julia and JAM at Bubble this season...
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