Vincent James- Your New Capsule Wardrobe
I recently attended the launch of Vincent James clothing collection in Chicago. When I arrived and saw the collection, I instantly had to try it ALL on. They’re the perfect essential pieces you want in your wardrobe, but never seem to have them when you need them.
When I shop, I tend to gravitate towards two things- novel pieces and the sale section, ha! Most of my friends know, I love me some color, prints, and stripes. But, when it comes down to it, the pieces I grab to wear most days are the classics. I wear a ton of white and black, and most days you’ll find me in work out pants, even if I haven’t worked out. We all need those capsule pieces that you can throw on, not think about, and feel good in. I found the pieces that will elevate your essentials game!
I had the opportunity to meet with Heather Sullivan a few weeks ago. Heather is the creator of Vincent James. The company is named after Heather’s late grandfather, Vincent James. He was a pattern maker who made her fashion designs come to life, as a child. He fueled her love for design at a very young age.
Heather and I chatted all things motherhood to fashion, as I tried on the collection. I quickly came to adore this mother of four, and the passion behind the brand. Heather believes in ethically made, sustainable clothing. I asked Heather a few questions about Vincent James, and the passion behind the company. I’ll let Heather answer, in her words.
Where did the idea for Vincent James begin?
‘Vincent James started as a culmination of events. I’m a mother of 4 and after my 3rd son was born I was in a funk. I realized I had lost myself a bit and had definitely lost my style groove. I wanted and needed to stop living in my leggings but get dressed in something that made me feel and look good but could still tackle all the craziness of the day. I’ve always loved being creative and am such a believer that good design can truly enhance your life. As a side project, I’d been working on making gloves for babies and ordered a bunch of merino wool from New Zealand and fell in love with the fabric. It turned out not to be the right fabric for the gloves, but it made a beautiful top (even with my limited sewing skills).
I started with a few of my favorite pieces of clothing that were too worn to wear in public but still too loved to toss and did my best re-creation of them with the merino fabric tracing and cutting on my dining room floor at night when the kids were asleep. I recognized the joy I got from the creative process and finally felt like myself again. One night I promised myself I would try to make a business out of this passion.’
Can you share with your approach to sustainability and why this is important to you?
‘My approach to sustainability is rooted in my compassion and concern for our Mother Earth which has been cultivating since I was young. I grew up very close to my grandparents (Vincent James and Mary Alice Blandina) who grew a beautiful garden and instilled in me a sense of responsibility for our environment, health and quality of our food. I lived in New Zealand in college where the appreciation and reliance on the land was a strong value and part of the livelihood and also the place where I was initially introduced to merino wool. I studied nutrition and believe strongly in the quality of our diet and our health and the more I read the more convinced I am that our health can only be as strong as our environment.
And when I started having children I was awakened to the damage our clothing and consumption can have on our (or actually their) world. But I still love to make and I love fashion so I chose to design pieces that were as natural, respectful, timeless and high-quality as possible so that we could consume less but better. The clothing is all made in Chicago by people who make a living wage and can make a life with what they make. To me, that’s another important piece of sustainability.’
What does a capsule wardrobe mean to you?
‘I talk a lot about “capsule wardrobe” which to me is a collection of pieces that you love, that can be interchanged to create many different outfits and that will last more than a season or two and help you determine and express your own personal style. I love seeing the way my pieces are interpreted by different women and how each woman’s personality shines through in the way she wears my designs. I’m such a believer in the capsule wardrobe not only because it let’s you do more with less and saves time but also makes you feel good every time you get dressed knowing that you always love the way a certain piece fits, feels and moves!’