At Home With JJ Martin
While Italy is slowly coming out of lockdown, we reached out to JJ Martin, the Founder and Creative Director of the Milan-based label La DoubleJ to talk all things fashion and life during COVID-19.
What inspires you most about Italian fashion?
"The Italians have always been a great source of inspiration for me, ever since I moved to Italy 18 years ago. Their level of taste and style is very high, really impressive and very motivating. The Italian women are unafraid of colour which makes them ideal muses for me. I have always been totally obsessed with the Sciura (the mythical italian housewives in Milan) - in fact, there's a whole section of our website dedicated to them! They have such a strong sense of their own style and that stretches from the wardrobes to their table settings - everything is considered and exquisite. I love this strong female spirit - it's what La DoubleJ is all about."
La DoubleJ has evolved and grown so much in recent years, can you share with us what is in store for the future of the label?
"Coming out of this worldwide pandemic, it will be more important than ever for La DoubleJ to continue to raise the vibration of our community of women through our double-punch prints and mood-boosting fashion and so stay tuned for some exciting launches that are designed to inspire, surprise and delight! Collaboration is at the heart of what we're about and so there will be plenty more of those to come too - it's incredibly important for us to be supporting local Made in Italy talent and craftsmanship and it's never been more important to do that than now."
How are you keeping yourself entertained during isolation?
"As we have entered phase two here in Italy, my mind is fully focused on getting La DoubleJ up and running at optimum mood-boosting levels, but I have to say I have enjoyed the unexpected reflection time the lockdown gave me. As well as a lot of gentle yoga and meditation (which I practice every day anyway) I really enjoyed working my way through my long reading list (The Sanity we are Born with by Chongyam Trunpa Rinpoche, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, 7 Secrets of the Sensitive by Diane Kathrine, Triggers by David Richo, Opening to Channel by Sanaya Roman among them). When I wanted to feel a little more buzzy, I turned the volume up full blast on Kool & the Gang, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder and danced around my apartment in my socks. My dog, Pepper, joined in too."
What’s your favourite Italian dish?
"It would have to be fresh oozing ricotta cheese fresh from the sheep which you can eat for breakfast still warm in Puglia. I’m a vegetarian, so I love all of their vegetable dishes too - easy, simple sauteed fresh vegetables like fava beans, artichokes, and broccoli rabe."
What is your favourite working from home outfit?
"It changes every day, but usually something colourful, bright and spirit lifting - and by La DoubleJ of course! I have found our knitwear and our activewear to be the perfect mix of feel-good and function. I have practically lived in my skinny jersey leggings and turtleneck (I love it in every print we do); they feel sporty and also sophisticated. I have unashamedly also spent a lot of time in old t-shirts and sweatpants."
How are you looking after yourself during this global crisis?
"Although running a business from home is very busy (endless Zoom, Teams and Whatsapp calls), I made a conscious decision at the beginning to slow right down internally, listen to my body, and explore the emotions and thoughts that a crisis like this throws up. I am so happy that the regular videos I have been filming for La DoubleJ's IGTV platform have helped open up these types of conversations with our community who have gotten in touch to tell me they have found them helpful. I have also become a one-pot Quinoa queen! I prepare it with loads of juicy vegetables which taste so nutritious and is what my body craves."
What changes would you like to see happen to the Fashion Industry post-Covid19?
"I would like to see fashion come back with a new sense of purpose and identity. From our POV being based in Italy where 100% of our collections are made, I would like to see more brands supporting local suppliers rather than use cheap overseas labour. I have strong feelings about retailers discounting product by 50-70% (as many big department stores and e-commerce platforms are doing) as that’s a huge disservice to everyone and won't help the industry get back on its feet. Support, accountability and responsible business will be more important than ever - to brands and consumers - and I hope the industry as a whole takes the time to correct their wrongs and come together to pursue a more sustainable and considered future."
Shop JJ’s At Home Closet
Shop La DoubleJ online or visit us in-store at our James Street, Brisbane Boutique.