Jessica Blume on the Launch of Ethical and Organic Brand Jume
Artist and designer Jessica Blume, known as Joom, creates ‘simple garments for complex beings’. Last week she launched her ethical and organic brand Jume.
Lots of brands would like you to join their gang. The rise of direct-to-consumer labels created a tidal wave of approaches to conveying authenticity – one of those descriptors that, by virtue of its existence, is usually best avoided. Most people can spot a good thing when they see it. Jessica Blume is enjoying herself while making things, simple.
Where are you answering these questions from, Jessie?
I am in Byron Bay spending some time up here focusing on the label. I am at a café under the shade of a palm tree drinking a coffee and watching the people come and go around me, I can smell fruit from the big mango tree out the front and coffee. I just decided to move up here so I am scoping the scene, haha.
Tell us a little about the collection and why you wanted to make clothes. How long has Jume been in the works?
I have been wanting to make clothes for years. When I was in uni I used to sew all of my own garments and loved it, but I knew that I wanted it to be more fulfilling for me than just straight up fashion. It wasn’t until I started weaving and went to RMIT to study textile design that I really felt like it was something I would love to do every day. For me, exploring fiber and supply chain and working sustainably with plants is what enriches this project.
I began working on this collection a year ago! It took longer than I expected but I have taken my time because I had to work at the same time to save up for materials, and I wanted to make sure that the whole process was going to make a positive impact on the earth and people rather than exploit it.
This collection is super fresh and summery. I have used really beautiful fabrics and very flattering timeless cuts. Lots of white and stripes and a few plant dyed pieces. I wanted the clothes to suit people of all sizes and ages and be worn and loved for years and years.
Your tapestries and wall hangings use natural and locally sourced fibres. Can you expand a little on your approach to sustainability for Jume? How is it similar? How is it different? What have you learned along the way?
Yeah. So for Jume I found that there was a real lack in the market for ethical stylish basics, but I wanted to find a way to do it at relatively affordable price. I knew that was essential in order to allow people with less disposable income to have an opportunity to make ethical retail choices and also set an example for other emerging designers by showing that it is not only possible but also integral to work ethically.
In my studies I researched fibre production and from that know the exact impact of each fabric I use down to water consumption and conventional pesticide use and have sourced out plant fibres like hemp, nettle, linen and organic cotton that are less harmful to the environment and the farmers and only use plant dyes.
The production of the garments happens in Indonesia. I work with a tiny studio owned by a good friend’s grandmother and spent a few months there so that I could ensure that everyone working there are happy, safe and well paid.
Your campaign images feature your friends like Camille Moir-Smith and Amrita Hepi, can you tell us a bit about them and how they influenced the collection?
Actually all of the models on the website and the Instagram page are my friends that I worked with for trade; I wanted to keep it fun and intimate as I got started. I have a really amazing community of creative friends in my life and they have all been a huge inspiration to me.
I have also learnt so much about how to be a grounded business woman and work for myself from all of the amazing women I spend my time with who run their own businesses such as SUKU, Carpenter’s Daughter, ByNYE, Sister Studio, Pop and Scott, Leaf and Thread, Gemma Patford, MLD, Amy Leeworthy, IKO and so many more. They have been with me all the way with advice, encouragement and helping hands, and it has made this project so much more enjoyable.
Lastly, do you have any good advice to share on making the most from the least?
I started with nothing but a van and some savings. I work hard and have an amazing girlfriend and friends who help me along the way, which was really my main advantage in building something from nothing. I also found that Instagram was an incredible tool, and also my own versatile background in skills which meant that I could design the website, my labels and tags as well as do all the photography, styling and art direction myself.
My advice would be to take things one step at a time, spend money when you make it and don’t get ahead of yourself. I think this is essential so that you don’t burn out or stop enjoying what you are doing.
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