7.1.16

You Wont Find a basic bomber amongst these artful designs from The Mighty Company. Their edgy-meets-timeless leather jackets are the kind of sustainable fashion pieces we love to see more of: high-style ethical luxury that won’t cost an arm, a leg and a first born. We caught up with the founder of the outerwear only line, L.A.-based artist Jessie Wilner, to chat about her process and the inspiration behind her first collection. Read on to discover what keeps this cool creative happy, sane and inspired (including old films, metallic paint and pizza)…

The Chalkboard Mag: The Mighty Company is a “transparent” company. Talk to us about what transparency means to you.

Jessie Wilner: The transparency aspect of The Mighty Company developed really naturally. It started because I firmly planted myself in every step of the brand’s creation process. It meant a lot less sleep for me, but it achieved exactly what I wanted – it turned something that can become very corporate into an incredibly personal experience. I wanted to have this platform that people could connect with because I gave this little slice of my soul to it.

Because I was so close to everything, by the time it came to the choice a lot of brands make about their pricing – which essentially comes down to margin versus the customer, it didn’t feel fair to not figure out a way to outsmart that and choose my customer, who I had just spent all this time trying to make this really personal experience for. So without compromising one bit of the luxury materials or perfect construction, I decided to cut out the markup and offer an honest price… And our honest luxury philosophy was born.

TCM: What are three recent design inspirations?
JW: This is a hard one, so I’m going to pick some random photos I’ve recently stashed to answer it: Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; all the beautiful spring flowers that have been happening; the ocean when it’s a little rocky and foamy; the oil painting The Coming Storm by Will Cotton; and metallic silver paint (I’ve been working with it a lot recently). I went over my three limit.

I get inspired almost too frequently… I’ve collected tens of thousands of photos, films and written works that inspire me. I get on these idea tangents. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making things because I genuinely feel I’ve created only about 1% of the things I have in my mind or in my sketches. And I’m adding to that a lot faster than I’m making everything.

This collection specifically was inspired by the brilliant colorful atmospheres of Post-Impressionism paintings, 17th century France, 1950s Teddy Boys and beautiful 1960s wide-eyed ingénues.

TCM: What are some other transparent brands you love to shop?
JW: Since transparency really doesn’t just have to be about pricing, so many brands fall under this. Everlane: I buy most of my basics from them and they always nail it. Warby Parker: a legend… I think what they created and how well they did it deserves a lot of respect. Reformation: They fully committed to their eco-friendly framework and I think we could all take a cue there. I think what Maiyet is doing is awesome. Also, along that same vein, I love how Suno started in a similar way with Kenya.

TCM: We’re obsessed with jackets too. What inspired the focus?
JW: I like how immortal jackets feel. I didn’t want to make something disposable or passing. I wanted to make something that you can keep forever and wear endlessly – the jacket has that timeless essence and durability. You can wear the same one a million times and no one notices. I wanted to create something that would last you a lifetime.

TCM: Your favorite way to wear a jacket this summer?
JW: In LA, it’s insanely hot in the summer but I always freeze inside because everyone becomes completely uninhibited with their air conditioning… so I’ll grab a jacket for inside that will then transfer to night when it cools off. For everyday, I wear the black and navy BMBR over a white button-down and broken-in Levis and sneakers, or I’ll pair a FBRC style with a cool skirt and vintage platforms. When I’m going to an event or have to be fancy, I’ll wear the FRNG or BKR styles over a gown to give the look more personality.

TCM: What’s the best part of your job?
JW: Getting to be in complete control over the voice of the brand, and having the freedom to affect the things I want to with that voice.

TCM: What’s your fave travel destination for sourcing?
JW: Nothing can be a contest when Paris is involved. But I love seeing new places and seeing all the unseen cracks and corners of every city I go to. When I was in Hong Kong for work, I dragged my business partner to the far opposite end of the city to what the taxi cab driver described as the “slums of Hong Kong,” because I had heard that they painted every floor of a giant old apartment building rainbow colors and I needed to see it. They both thought I was crazy. It was beautiful.

TCM: Tell us about a few daily wellness habits.
JW: Keeping healthy is so key to staying sane. I usually work from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., so sometimes I pine for more time to dedicate to specific workouts and classes – but I try to compensate by squeezing 30-60 minutes of cardio in my days where I can. You can always create a lifestyle that works for you and keeps you happy, which is what I try to maintain.

I don’t eat white flour, dairy or processed sugar. I quit coffee (I know, right?) and also quit smoking this year (I’d been smoking since I was 14!). One thing is that I never, ever limit the amount I’m allowed to eat. I think that makes you crazy. My philosophy is just making sure what you’re putting into your body is helpful for it the majority of the time. The minority of the time is filled with pizza.

TCM: Fill in the blank: I’m hoping to travel to ______ this summer.
JW: I’ll be bouncing around the States for meetings, but as far as epic trips… I would love to either go somewhere I love and know, like Italy, or tackle some of the places I haven’t been. I really want to go to Iceland. And it sounds crazy, but I keep trying to lock down time for an Antarctic cruise. I just think it would be so beautiful. Their summer is opposite ours, though; so I’m going to have to hold out a little longer for that one.


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