I’ve been working with Jessica, the designer of Portland fashion brand Museo, since the fashion studio was just a dream. She was well known in Portland for her vintage shop, where she sourced the most beautiful home goods and vintage clothing. But this dream of leaving vintage behind and starting something new, got bigger and eventually became her full-time everything.
When it comes to Portland Fashion, I’ve been obsessed with Museo since day one and formed quite the collection over the last couple of years. Below you will find a conversation with Jessica about Museo – the inspiration behind the brand, who she designs for, and where you can find her beautiful Spring 2022 Collection.
Hi Jessica! What is the story behind Museo; the name and the concept?
Museo grew from a love for old, forgotten textiles and a desire to create special one of a kind pieces. In my past life, I had a vintage business and found myself hoarding old tatty quilts and embroidered linens. Bits too worn or damaged to resell but too beautiful for the landfill. In a lifetime before that, I was a seamstress. So I began experimenting with my stash of misfit textiles, made a few pieces, and got great feedback. I kept making and people kept liking what I made and things snowballed from there.
Spanish and Italian for “museum”, the name Museo is a reference to how I create and what fills my creative cup. While I don’t know if I’d consider myself an artist, there is a curatorial process to my work – choosing the textiles that sing together for a piece. I never went to art school, never studied design. My education happened in museums. It may seem obvious but as a kid growing up in rural Michigan, a trip to the museum in Ann Arbor or Detroit was transformative for me. I soaked up the color form and proportion. Museums have always been my inspiration and refuge.
What was your inspiration for your Spring 2022 collection?
I try to pick an artist muse for each collection and this season it was Hilma Af Klint – abstract artist and spiritualist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Her pieces explore divine balance and harmony and she always felt that she was channeling her work from a higher power. She was such a visionary, way ahead of her time. Her silhouettes, color palate, and balance all informed my work this Spring.
Who are you designing clothes for & why do they love them?
I know it’s a better business decision to have a clear target audience in mind before launching a product, but I really just started by making pieces that made me happy! Museo began as a side gig to my vintage business and the early evolution felt pretty creatively pure. I wasn’t worried about selling tons of pieces because I already had a job. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this approach to everyone but I think it helped me establish a clear voice, divorced from the pressure to make income. All this to say I also think this influences who is attracted to my pieces – artists, witches, romantic pragmatists. My target audience are folks who are comfortable outside of the box but still have sentimental hearts, gentle but not wallflowers. I hope they love my clothing because it’s comfortable and easy but also special and maybe a little offbeat.
Do you have a favorite piece from your Spring 2022 collection?
So hard to choose! I love the drama of the Amphora dress but the color shifting indigo tones of the Viola top and Portia dress tug at my heart. Then again the Amphora skirt is the one I reach for the most. Don’t make me pick, Bria! 🙂
Where can people purchase your beautiful collections around the web & in brick and mortar?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about Museo?
It is truly a labor of love. I currently sew nearly every piece myself! When you buy a piece from me, I make it just for you. While it might not always be this way as I grow, I never want my customers to lose that connection with who made their clothes. All clothing is made by hand. And the process needs to be more visible so we can learn to attach more value to that skilled labor. <3
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