Jetti, bridging the gap between designer fashion and functional clothing
Recently we were fortunate enough to speak to Rachel Rymar, the creator of Jetti - a contemporary womenswear brand bridging the gap between designer fashion and functional clothing. The great thing about Jetti is that the label answers the question 'why can't fashion be functional?' with a definitive 'It can!'. The label's collection promises to be an exciting and practical new way to look amazing while going about you normal day-to-day - however manic that may be.
Describe your style of design in three words:
Modern, minimal, functional
What got you into fashion?
I have been drawing clothes for as long as I can remember. I think it started from realising how fashion, even as a kid, is one of the first ways you get to express yourself. That grew into this obsession with how we dress, why we dress the way we do and how clothing acts as both a tool and an expression of our culture.
What’s the story behind Jetti? Where and why did it start?
Jetti is a contemporary womenswear brand that was founded after realising there was a gap in the market for high end, modern, easy-care clothing. Using wrinkle resistant technology, our pieces are 100% cotton, machine washable and easy to care for.
The idea started after moving to London when I found myself traveling quite a bit back and forth from the States. I needed clothes that could pack and travel easy. I had one “easy care” cotton shirt that worked well in that you take it out of the suitcase and it was virtually wrinkle free, but it didn’t quite have the modern fit I wanted which kept me from wearing it even when I didn’t travel. I started wondering if there was something out there that married functionality with style. After doing some research, it seemed like it was only menswear that was fusing together technical fabrics with everyday clothing. I didn’t like that my choices were so limited. So, Jetti was founded to fill that gap so women can have a low maintenance, but modern wardrobe that helps make their lives easier.
Describe a typical wearer of Jetti designs.
A typical Jetti customer is a woman who, although loves fashion and style, can’t be bothered with fussing over her clothes. After all, she works, runs around with kids, travels - she has better things to worry about than going to the dry cleaners or ironing. She only wants to think about her clothes twice a day - when she puts them on and when she takes them off.
What inspired your decision to focus on high-end, low-maintenance clothes?
I felt there wasn’t any kind of offering for women like me who love fashion, but don’t want to be bothered with all the maintenance and care that comes along with certain fabrics. I wanted stylish clothing that worked with me and my lifestyle. The high end aspect comes mainly out of necessity. I wanted to make sure the pieces are manufactured responsibly within the EU with quality materials that will last, which of course, comes at a higher price. The low-maintenance aspect was also a reaction to mens clothing having some sort of functional or technical property such as moisture wicking, quick-drying, anti-microbial, stain and wrinkle resistance, the list goes on. I thought to myself there’s no reason womenswear shouldn’t be approached in the same way. After all, women sweat, they move, they spill things, and many of us also hate ironing! I thought, why can’t we have these things too?
What’s the most challenging part of your creative process?
I think having a business model based on easy care clothing can be challenging because we’re limited to a smaller group of fabrics. Sometimes we can’t get the fabric we want because it doesn’t have the technical properties we’re after. However, I think this is also a good thing as it forces us to focus more on making sure the fabric we end up using meets our needs perfectly and the styles have a great fit.
Where do you generally find inspiration?
The inspiration for each collection comes from lots of different places. Usually, a big chunk of it comes from talking to women and people watching - seeing what women wear, why they may have chosen something or why they haven’t chosen something else, what works for their body type. Sometimes, inspiration comes from what I think I’m missing from my own wardrobe.
What’s your favourite piece in your current collection?
That’s hard to choose! The Crooked Boyfriend Shirt (below, left) is amazing because it’s so versatile, comfy, and the crooked pocket gives it something unique. BUT, I think I’ll go with the Bow Dress (below, right). It’s a relaxed shirt dress that comes with a sash belt that you can tie around your waist. This is a great little detail because it gives you some shape so you don’t lose your figure in the volume. It’s a perfect transition piece from work to cocktails or you can wear it on the weekend with some sneakers. Also, you can eat a big meal and feel totally comfortable in it afterwards!
Do you have any role models and or influences? And how have they impacted your work?
It’s hard to pinpoint just one. Sometimes I look at characters in TV or movies for a certain attitude. For example, Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction. Despite her unfortunate story arc (ahem), she was so magnetic and had this care free attitude. We actually named one of our first shirts after her - the Uma shirt. I also think it’s really interesting to look at what creative directors wear at the end of their runway shows. Sometimes it’s not so much the models or runway looks I’m interested in, as those are often a result of a heavily curated and stylised concept. I’m interested in how the creative director channels that inspiration and creativity into how they dresses. That’s fascinating to me as you can see how a real woman, who has access to all these high fashion sources, dresses for her busy lifestyle. It’s usually super chic, yet practical.
What would you change about the fashion industry at the moment?
I’d like everything to just slow down for a minute. Everything is so fast paced and everyone wants that new shiny thing now. I think most smaller, emerging brands are pushing slow fashion in some way. I just wish the major players would do more. I think we all need to do more to encourage a buy less, buy better attitude. It’s hard on small businesses to compete on this level of constant production, constant deliveries. Fashion is one of the top polluting industries in the world and we all, brands and consumers, need to be aware of the effects.
What can we expect of Jetti over the next few seasons?
Up until now, we’ve been quite focused on using 100% wrinkle resistant cotton as it’s a great canvas for creating wardrobe staples. We are going to start incorporating more sustainable materials into the collection– perhaps some recycled cottons or cellulose based fabrics that can be made in a virtually closed loop system. In the future, we really want to start using smart fabrics and kick the technical aspect up a notch. There’s so much happening in textile technology right now. We’ve only just scratched the surface.