Pop star and podcast host Jessie Ware on her latest venture: kids clothing
Interview by Carly Glendinning
The birth of her first baby coincided with the launch of her third album (Glasshouse), and second pregnancy around Jessie Ware has no less ambitious plans.
When we meet the London-based singer songwriter, she is weeks away from welcoming baby number two and is about to launch her very own childrenswear brand. Named anyware, the clothing collection was created in collaboration with award-winning designer George Reddings. George is the design brains behind the Little Bird by Jools line at Mothercare. We caught up with Jessie to find out more about the sustainable clothing range and how she worked with George to create it.
With a hugely successful music career, a podcast and baby number two on the way, what made you want to launch your own childrenswear brand?
I have always loved clothes and being able to dress my daughter has been a joy, but I had bought so much that I loved (sometimes the same outfit in different sizes) that she had already grown out of, it just seemed mad. I wondered if we could come up with a range that they could wear for longer.
How did you and George come together to design the collection? And what was it like working together?
George and I were introduced by a mutual friend and it all seemed to fall into place. She has so much experience and we had some great brainstorming sessions. Between us we have created something I am so proud of. It’s a great partnership and I have learnt so much from her. We have a lot of fun and she has been extremely patient at working around my crazy schedule.
I love the colour palette of muted brights and the simple, easy-to-wear shapes – what was your inspiration?
Thank you! I love simple classic oversized shapes, they are so easy to wear and like the clothes I had back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I loved them for years. I thought it would be great to have a kids collection that was timeless. We wanted colour but not too bright and clashy, no big graphic slogans, more of a sophisticated palette that the parents would love too – that would be wearable around the year.
Each piece is designed to grow with the child. Is this a reaction against fast fashion culture?
That’s exactly right, I think we are all over-spending and this is negatively impacting the world’s waste situation. It used to be that shops would have new collections every few months, now it’s weeks – and as customers we can’t keep up. It’s created a bit of hysteria I think, always hunting for the next new thing. This was our way of slowing it down, considering quality and investing in something that will last.
How do you dress your daughter? And what do you look for when you’re buying clothes for her?
I like to dress her in simple shapes, soft fabrics, comfy and easy. And I like to buy things that she can wear for any occasion. Not too smart and not too casual. That she can feel like a kid in, but be able to move freely.
We’ve loved following your podcast. How has it been working with your mum?
It’s been amazing and hysterical. Also kind of mad to accidentally go into business with your mum. I still can’t believe people bother to listen to us bickering over recipes to be honest! But wow we have met some brilliant people.
What has your second pregnancy been like? Has it been different this time around?
I guess you have less time to indulge in it, which can be a blessing and curse. I’m less precious about the bump this time round (carrying around a toddler will do that!). And I feel really relaxed about the birth. I looked at my belly yesterday and discovered a stretch mark though! I managed to swerve them last time but alas not this time.
You didn’t take maternity leave with your daughter. What was it like going on tour as a family?
I don’t know if that was impressive or a bit silly as I think I did it for the wrong reasons. Music feels like a rather unstable business so I was worried if I took too long out it my career would suffer. I look back at that time and think ‘what was I doing!?!’. But equally I accomplished a lot and I did get the chance to take my family on tour, which was a magical albeit exhausting experience which we will never forget. It was like camping for a month! Quite exciting.
With so many amazing projects going on, how do you plan to juggle it all with baby number two?
With help from my family and the brilliant people I work with! It will certainly be a juggling act…
And finally, what’s your favourite piece from the anyware collection and why?
I love the striped tops as they are so cool and the material is beautiful, and the high waisted drawstring trousers with the denim jacket. That also looks so good with the denim overalls.