The recent past has been ripe for a new kind of cultural introspection in fashion. Decadence has given way to streetwear and minimalism, and this season we've seen a wave of collections that give a respectful nod to groups not generally thought of much in fashion. Jesse Kamm's SS18 collection is a perfect case in point: she's a designer synonymous with California chic — her iconic pants are essentials in the wardrobes of sun-loving coastal girls everywhere — but this spring she's celebrating her Midwestern roots and American salt-of-the-earth.
The new collection, Farm, Field + Range, is an homage to the place Jesse grew up, a small town not far from St. Louis on the Illinois side, where community was all-important, people worked close to the land, and values were straightforward. Rather than nostalgia for a long lost time and place, the collection is a refreshing dose of honesty and simplicity, captured especially well in the dark denim versions of the Ranch Jacket and the classic Sailor Pant.
We visited Jesse and Luke in their new studio, a light-filled converted house on a residential street in Los Angeles' Mt. Washington neighborhood. The place exudes exactly the kind of warm conviviality she captured in the collection, thanks to its cozy architecture and tranquil setting far away from any busy business district. Her brother just so happened to be in town from Illinois, and the centerpieces of the main space are a handsome hand-built sofa, benches, and tables, with at least one copy of The Whole Earth Catalog floating around. More than almost any designer we know, Jesse lives the life she designs for.
Of course, she didn't forget California this season: some of our favorites from the collection are the Yuri Wrap Dress and the Trench, which both come in Salt, and put a west coast spin on the Farm, Field + Range vibe. And in that same color, the Ranch Jacket we love in dark denim feels a lot more Ojai than Illinois.