We Want a Leather Jacket with Something to Say
The Mighty Company is all about the artful topper…
Jessie Willner's background is as a visual artist, but the 24-year old set her sites on fashion when she founded The Mighty Company. The direct to consumer model out of Los Feliz in LA has a focus on jackets. For her latest offering, available now, Willner is bringing her passions together in new hand-painted varieties, each of which can be customized and are named for a Shakespearean quote. Think: "Lips That Love's Own Hand Did Make" and "To Do a Great Right, Do a Little Wrong." BAZAAR got to the heart of the moto with the Cali native.
Why do you think custom pieces are so popular right now?
Jessie Willner: I think fashion as a whole is moving towards a frame of mind that is more about the individual. I see brands doing this in many different ways; and it's important as this point in time, it's easily the furthest we've come as a society to celebrating the uniqueness of an individual. We still have quite a ways to go, but expression through fashion and art has obviously had a huge force in that shift. Creating the platform to hand paint on each jacket from this collection honors the artistic roots of the brand and brings it full circle, where the finished product becomes the blank canvas again.
Where did the quotes you chose come from?
JW: I chose lines from various Shakespeare plays and one from a sonnet of his—just a sly nod to the period which made classically beautiful works. Everyone has printed on, embossed or embroidered leather and I thought the simple beauty of freehand painting on it felt reminiscent of a more simple time.
How do you think your designs differ overall coming from an artist perspective?
JW: My grandmother was an artist to the core and she taught me when I was young that to make the best art, you have to aspire to create an amazing connection with the viewer, because that's the point of art—it really is to enhance the life of others. Sometimes artists try to create things for the purpose of just being completely different. I think that defeats the point of it, which is to inspire, to resonate with something in someone. I think the greatest art comes from taking familiar things and making them extraordinary, making people look at them in a new light. That way of thinking is probably what has informed my design process the most.
Tell me about the process of creating the jackets…
JW: Fashion was a sector of art that fascinated me, because if it was done right it could create this tangible, 3-dimensional product that could make you feel emotions when you saw it and wore it. So I was determined to use really amazing fabrications and find the most luxurious leathers to make the jackets out of — I sourced the leathers from about 10 different countries from around the world. Then I came across the French mill Malhia Kent. They are brilliant. I made all of the limited edition metallic tweeds and woven fabrics with them. I'm also stubbornly obsessed with the details, so everything is specific, and each jacket has hidden surprises that you get to discover as you live in it.
Who are the women who inspire you?
JW: All women inspire me. Especially ones who use what they've created as a platform for their own voice.
Who is someone you'd love to see in one of your jackets?
JW: I'd love to see any empowered woman wearing something from my collection. I created this brand for the movers and shakers, the artists, the innovators. The ones who need to look effortlessly perfect because they're too busy changing the world.