News & Runway

Jessica Jensen, Designer: A tFS Exclusive Interview

Canadian accessories and ready-to-wear designer Jessica Jensen has a loyal cult following in Toronto. Her designs are stocked throughout Canada and the United States, and her sales sell out within hours to everyone from college fashion students to ladies who lunch.

Known for her exquisite taste and impeccable leather, Jensen took a leap onto the main stage this season by collaborating with up-and-coming designer Alexander Berardi.

The influence of Berardi’s Upper East Side upbringing, paired with Jensen’s faultless taste, made for an exquisite collaboration.

The Fashion Spot: How did the collaboration with Alexander Berardi come to fruition?

Jessica Jensen: Alexander Berardi and I met last September, just before New York Fashion Week, and I immediately fell in love with his fresh perspective on a classic aesthetic. I was taken by his over-abundant use of ivory in feminine sheers and detailing.

He has an eye for balancing sophistication and presenting it in a youthful way, which speaks to his character. When we met, he was only 22, and yet he had the demeanor of a weathered designer because of his streamlined collection with its hardened focus. He knew exactly who his customer was, and his clothes spoke beautifully to her.

Clearly, he stole my heart. Not many emerging designers agree with my design philosophy of timeless looks with a modern twist – most of them focus on seasonal trends. But both Berardi and I care deeply about quality and longevity. When we first spoke, he told me that he would love to just sit with one of my bags and play with it for a day; I think it was in that moment that I first mentioned that we should collaborate. 

tFS: Where did you look for inspiration in this collaboration?

JJ: The collaboration was based on the same inspiration that Alexander was using to build his ready-to-wear collection. Godard’s movie Breathless, Jean Seberg meets "A Tribe Called Hamptons", 
urban tribalism, and war.

This translated into midnight blues, ivory, orange (a new color for him), nautical stripes, and playful tribal prints. 

Overall, the theme became "A Tribe Called Hamptons" and so we wanted to create soft, summer totes and clutches with both nautical and tribal influences that weren’t too overpowering.

One of our favorite bags is "The Hampton’s Weekender" – a slouchy, massively oversized tote in a woven mocha, Italian-sueded and vegetable-tanned goatskin, which has a massive scarf tied in a bow around the right handle base. Another favorite is "The Sunday Clutch" which is a small fold-over clutch in naked Italian ivory lambskin, partially woven with a watercolor nautical stripe in navy and ivory.