Designer Spotlight Jessie Willner, The Mighty Company

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Hometown:

Los Angeles.

Current location:

Los Angeles! Los Feliz to be exact.

Your top 5 favorite spots in LA:

I go through phases but right now it’s:

1) Go Get Em Tiger - For coffee and breakfast.

2) Trois Familia - French & Mexican lunch spot. 

3) Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese - Best Italian sandwich.

4) Out of Order Silverlake - For dancing.

5) My backyard couch.

Describe your personal style:

Somewhere in between extremely simple and extremely out there.

Your guilty pleasure:

Jeni’s Ice Cream. A waffle cone with one scoop of the Milkiest Chocolate on top and one scoop of Sweet Cream on the bottom.

What’s your personal motto?

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.”

It’s Mark Twain’s, but I borrowed it.

What are 3 things you never leave the house without?

1) Something cozy

2) Something metallic

3) My dog barking at me for leaving

Tell us a little bit about your background:

I was born in LA to two east coast parents. My family is filled with these powerful, artistic women. I inevitably became interested in creating art at a very young age, which went through stages of practically every art form. By the time I was a teenager, I had landed on visual art and graphic design. I had graduated high school when I was 16 and I started freelancing in those fields right after graduation instead of going to college.

How did you start The Mighty Company?

I became fascinated with the concept of creating something physical that could go and live in the world, which led me to designing this collection. It was a somewhat natural transition since I had been working with design digitally for so long. The biggest change was the translation of those two-dimensional ideas to real life. After a very long process of trial and perfection, the end result was the first sample set that eventually developed into this collection.

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Where does the name come from?

I did a project a few years back where I got about 70-80 of my friends to help me build these giant, empowering messages. We displayed them once a month around LA. There was this “mighty” connotation surrounding that project and it stuck with me mentally. It came full circle and I played off of that name.

Why did you chose to focus on outerwear?

Jackets feel invincible. You never really want to get rid of them. Maybe because they so rarely get beat up, and when they eventually do, it actually makes them cooler. I wanted to make something that didn’t go away easily.

Your Instagram feels very LA-centric. How has LA inspired your line?

The colors! I’m very obsessed with colors. But I guess I actually seek them out in any city I’m in. LA also has this chill factor. I’m a hermit when I’m making things, which is most of the time, so it’s nice to step outside and have such a beautiful and calm neighborhood to look out to. Los Feliz is especially like that.

What’s your favorite jacket from the collection and how do you style it?

The Normandy! It’s this crazy light blue metallic one. I usually style it with old high waisted Levi’s and silver or gold boots.

You use very colorful materials. What goes into sourcing them and how do you pick them?

Sourcing materials is one of the most gratifying parts of the design process. Because when you find the right fabric or leather, it really is like love at first sight. You can make a garment with something that’s not the right match and everything feels wrong, but then the same design and pattern with the completely right material is perfect. 

I source from all over the world — France, UK, Italy, Middle East, etc. I love sourcing from so many places and seeing how everything ties so seamlessly together even when it was all created thousands of miles from each other.

You just launched customization on your site. How did that come about?

It started from an event we did where I had an artist paint everyone’s jackets freehand. After the event, people wouldn’t stop asking to customize their own. So we worked out how to make it a permanent thing. But now we’re launching a whole new era of the customization, which is one of the most exciting things we’ve released yet.

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Where do you see The Mighty Company in the future? What’s next?

I think I’ll probably stay on the path of reinventing really timeless, classic pieces. That might stay with jackets for a while, or it might lead me to other categories. I think the path has kind of been naturally carving itself in response to what people love, so I’m letting things take their natural course while I keep making things I’m excited about.

What are the key elements you would tell shoppers to look for when buying a leather jacket?

When you’re buying a leather jacket, never settle! Find the perfect jacket for you. The two things I would say are most important while looking are the quality of leather and the fit. Even if you’re not a leather expert, there’s an intuition factor about it. And when it comes to fit, just remember this thing is going to stay with you forever. Make sure it’s amazing to start, because it’ll only keep getting better as it gets worn in.

If you could go back 10 years, what would you tell yourself?

Nothing at all. I’m very stubborn and I needed to make all those mistakes to end up where I am now.

 

Shop the The Mighty Company here and follow them on Instagram for serious outerwear-envy.