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Q&A with JJ Martin of La DoubleJ

October 31, 19

Could you describe the evolution of La DoubleJ? What was your mission when you started the brand in 2015 and how has it changed since?

When I first started, I was selling vintage clothing and jewelry and showing all of the product on the creative women in Milan. We shot architects, furniture designers, photographers and stylists at home and in their ateliers, revealing their secrets to living like effortlessly stylish Italians. Since then, the focus on excellent Italians and vintage remains but I expanded our offering into new product—from clothing, swimwear and accessories to plates, table linens, bed linens, vases and Murano glasses. The idea is to offer a full range of the best of Made in Italy; many products feature vintage prints but we are now designing new patterns as well. Everything has the same joyful, high- impact color and print punch that I established from the start.

 

In what ways does your Editorial background influence the brand today? 

I was a journalist in Milan for 15 years which helped me tremendously as I began to tell stories around the interesting people I knew in the city and in other parts of Italy. It came naturally to shine the light on local talent, which is what we do not only with the editorial stories but also with the many collaborations we have with historic Italian manufacturers and suppliers. I think my journalistic background is what makes our company more unique- I’m always looking for new ways of being in the fashion world, including how we can speak to women about issues they care about. Our latest goddess collection is an example of that.

We are playful, easy, approachable and fun. The women who wear our clothes love to smile and laugh.

 

Who are your muses, how would you describe the La DoubleJ girl? What is she doing and where is she going in your pieces? 

We are not a snooty fashion brand. We are playful, easy, approachable and fun. The women who wear our clothes love to smile and laugh. They aren’t sour pusses! They don’t take life too seriously. That attitude and energy is also poured into the clothes- our dresses are made of the highest quality but also bring a spot of joy into your day, just as our plates perk up your table. Whether you want just a touch of print or full on maximalism, the choice is yours. It’s also important to me that we develop a community of women that represents the values of the brand; we are a feel-good company who cares about raising the vibration of any room and those are the women I love having around doublej.

 

Could you describe the process of finding new prints, and how do you decide which ones you love enough to reproduce?

We work with several archives in Italy that we use to source the vintage prints, and I also have my own archive that we source from. Sometimes a print begins its life as an artwork, a collage, an illustration or a drawing, or sometimes it’s actually a patterned piece of fabric. Over the last year we have been designing our own new prints which has been a wonderful experience as well. Everything gets printed on the shores of Lake Como at a factory that has been producing luxurious silks for 120 years! The quality is fantastic and you know that it wasn’t made in Asia in a sweatshop, which is frighteningly becoming more and more the norm.

 

What are your favorite pieces from the current collection, and how would you style them?

I just love the leopard print this season because it feels like a neutral. I am currently wearing the leopard jacquard coat over everything from weekend yoga pants, to chicly tailored work black pants, or even over long fancy printed dresses. I also love the silk Bellini dresses because I love wearing silk twill in the winter time- it feels so crisp and cozy at the same time. The bellini silhouette is something that goes so easily from day to night.

 

How long have you lived in Milan and what are some of your favorite places to visit in Italy?

I moved to Milan 18 years ago- which seems incredible as I still feel like I just arrived last spring! After getting over my initial culture shock, Italy became such a gift to me. Living here has taught me so much about how to slow down and enjoy life more and to create more space and time for myself. Of course part of that involves travelling around. My favorite places that I return to several times each year are Scicli in Sicily for the Baroque churches, the islands of Pantelleria and Capri for my beach retreats, Otranto in Puglia during the summer, and the Engadina valley which is actually just across the border from Italy into Switzerland and only takes two hours by car—for both winter skiing as well as summer hikes.