I ordered Stella this little gingham pinafore from Wren and James a few months ago on their release date of their SS14 collection. The second I saw it, I knew Stella just had to have it. The red gingham pattern, ruffle sleeves, and sweet wooden buttons, make this dress the perfect summer dress. This was just one of the gorgeous pieces from the Wren and James line. This gingham pattern can also be found on a Peter Pan collared blouse and bloomers in their collection. We spent our Memorial Day afternoon at the farmers market in LA, so this was the perfect dress for the occasion. I found the sweetest little hat at Target to pair with the dress that she insisted on wearing the entire day. Even when we went to sleep she insisted on wearing it.
This was the first piece we have purchased from Wren and James, and we are officially super fans. It is so incredibly made, and easy for Stella to run and play in. Wren and James is a small business owned and designed by Kiley Draper. Everything from her shop is handmade by Kiley, inspired by vintage silhouettes, using simplified modern lines and bold fabric combinations. When designing the Spring collection Kiley was looking at an old childhood photograph of her mom in a pinafore dress. "It just reminded me of summer."
I had a chance to ask the designer, Kiley, a little bit about her line. Here is what she had to say.
What kick started your company Wren and James?
"This little company of mine has been a long time coming (even if I didn't always know it). I've always had an interest in fashion design (anything to do with fabrics or different textiles) ever since I was a little girl. I even moved to New York City at 19 to study fashion design. I ultimately made the decision to come home and change my major to nursing (something more "practical" by my mom's standards ). But it never felt quite right to me and I could never really get excited about nursing. After years of second guessing myself, I decided to give fashion design another try -- this time, as a new mom.I had sewn a few outfits for my daughter, Mazie and myself just for kicks - nothing consistent- but I think I can say it really all began when I made Mazie's first Halloween/Birthday costume (* an oompa loompa for her Willy Wonka themed birthday party on Halloween). Something about making that outfit made me realize "Hey, I can do this!" and I started thinking of ideas for a children's clothing line -- something Mazie could wear. And I've been sewing ever since (seriously, I'm turning into part sewing machine)."
What's the story behind your company name Wren & James?
The name " Wren & James" came from a discussion with my husband. I knew that ultimately, I wanted to design more than just children's clothes, so I didn't want a name that sounded too....cute, but one that would still work for a kid's line. My husband suggested we use my middle name, Wren, paired with his middle name, James (* my husband is also a designer and we plan to expand this brand into more than just clothing design. Such as starting our own blog about design....). Anyway, "Wren & James" had a nice ring to it and a nice look to it, so we just went with it.
If you could pick your favorite item you ever designed what would it be?
"Goodness! I wish I could just say "this piece with the such and such is my favorite because....", but honestly-- it's really difficult for me to choose a single piece. There are different ideas I want to evoke in each of my designs. By popular demand, one of my original Peter Pan collar tops has become a regular part of my line -- in many ways, that original top has become a style template for the rest of my line -- it informs the direction of my other designs to some extent. It's important to me that my line 'agrees with itself' without becoming 'static' or predictable. I've grown so much as a designer since starting this business, I'm excited to continue innovating and expanding with my designs (whew, was that answer long enough for ya?) . Put simply: my best designs are still to come...."
Here is an example of what the iconic Wren and James Peter Pan collar blouse looks. this gorgeous seafoam color is part of their spring/ summer collection.
(Photo Source: Wren and James)
- Sleep in (this is my day, not yours :)
- Breakfast in bed (French toast, fruit, eggs, bacon, fresh squeezed OJ, the works....)
- Warm sandy beach, a lounge chair, under a red umbrella, paperback novel in hand.
- A new experience - some kind of unplanned, unexpected adventure with my husband and Mazie.
- Fancy restaurant at dinner (the kind of restaurant with food so good, you talk about it for hours after its eaten)
- Yoga AND a massage
- Go to sleep knowing that I don't have to wake up at any particular time again:)
Do you have any hints regarding your fall collection?
"There will definitely be a change of colors; creams, greys, and blacks. I'm excited to see it all come together"
Who's excited for fall!? I mean I know it's like 90 degrees, but she had me at grey and black!
This is one of those dresses that are so beyond special that I will hold onto. As Kiley says, "It's an heirloom piece" .Check out the entire Wren and James collection here: Wren and JamesThanks so much Kiley for giving us some background on your beautiful line. We are huge fans of your work!Yours Truly,Melissa