Everyone could use a good jacket, and right now we’re swooning over this anorak by JOLN. Not only is this jacket just about perfect, but Joln also makes amazing men’s AND women’s wear. You can snag all of these at our New York Holiday Fair (and a few more upcoming Fairs) next weekend!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
JOLN is the acronym for my name. JoEllen aka Jo-Ell-en. It’s actually been my handle since I was about 13 and created my first aol AIM account.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Yes. I love the idea of imagining something, and then being able to execute it and create it in real life. I believe design requires actual skill and theory, and to be a designer, is to be thoughtful about that which you imagine.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I knew I wanted to be a fashion designer when I was nine and have been pursuing it since then. My great aunt was a fashion designer and the day I met her, I thought she was the most glamorous person I’d ever seen. I decided that day that I would be a fashion designer. I have always loved to draw, but that really shaped me.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
That’s a tough one. My designs are inspired by real people, and what I think real people want to wear. I make clothing that is soft, beautiful, interesting, and conscious. It’s all about the details and the quality. I like to play with found fabrics and textures, and reinvent them into something wearable.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Absolutely. I have made some pretty expensive mistakes, but try to learn from each one. Nothing is perfect. Everything can always be better. So cutting yourself some slack and forgiveness is the only way you keep moving forward.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Yes. I gave up a pretty great career as a corporate fashion designer to start my business. My only regret is that it took me a few months to really focus and get started.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
LA is an amazing place. There are so many creative people here, and there are so many people pursuing their passions. It also has the resources to make things locally, which completely changed the way I thought about starting my business.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I had been a menswear designer for about ten years before going out on my own. I knew how to make a shirt, so I started there.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I left my job almost 10 years to the day of my college graduation. I thought, 10 years is a good run, and I learned a lot, but now it’s time for me to follow my dream.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I am always inspired by fabrics. I see something, and I instantly visualize what it could be. For example, I saw a tent in a warehouse and my mind just went: Coat. Then, I had to make it happen. I wish I knew a better way to explain it. I also think my friends are a big influence in the way I style things and the shapes/fits I create. . I’m making things for us.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
It’s a rollercoaster. I was told that only Patience, Passion, and Perseverance will see you thru. So far, it’s working for me.
Fun fact: My logo and it’s colors are inspired by the activist Corita Kent. She was a badass woman who cared about people and making a difference. I also use a neon pink stitch on every style. It’s my way of making sure nothing becomes too serious. When it stops being fun, something is broken.
It’s not often one comes across a clothing brand that offers pieces that are lovable across the board, which is why we consider JOLN such a gem! We can’t wait to spend time with JoEllen at several of our Holiday Fairs this season (New York, San Francisco, LA, and Seattle). We see some wardrobe upgrades in our futures. You can find JOLN online here: