We talked to the London designer about her influences.
Since 2011, born and bred Londoner Jessica Horwell has been designing apparel of all kinds under the moniker Hardware LDN, a brand beloved by ravers, fashion people, punks and grime kids alike.
Her entrepreneurial spirit, passion and originality has made her recognisably a future leader in her field, and as such – alongside the likes of photographer Humza Deas, chef Michael Vottagio and stylist Violetta Kassapi (among many others) – she jumped at the chance to become an ambassador for Supra's Always On The Run campaign.
We spoke to Jessica about her work, her influences and what the future holds for her and her brand.
VICE: Hi Jessica! What made you want to get involved in the #alwaysontherun campaign?
Jessica Horwell: I love being involved in anything creative. It's been such an honour to have been chosen to been a Supra ambassador. It's been really interesting to learn about the other creatives involved. I also believe it's a good campaign for me, as I am always on the run, and can really relate to the ethos behind it.
Have you been hanging out with the other Supra ambassadors? How's it been?
I love meeting other creative people, being around creatives is one of the best ways to be inspired. I'm good friends with Violetta, so loved hanging out with her. It was nice to sit and have a chat with her about what she has been up to and talk about the ups and downs of the creative industry, and catch some jokes too!
How did your brand, Hardware LDN come to be?
Years ago I started making jewellery from things I got from a hardware store – industrial chains and bolts, that sort of thing – that's how the name Hardware came about. From there I developed a small line of apparel, which I sold to a few stores in the UK and Asia. Then I made a range of bras out of stuffed gloves, and I got contacted by Roc Nation asking if they could use them. That opened me up to the worlds of music and fashion and I realised this was my calling! So Hardware LDN was just a random idea that I fell in love with and rolled with, it's become my baby.
Who influences your thought process and creativity?
I'm influenced by my friends, and by being in places like NYC, LA and London. Of course, there are designers that inspire me, for instance, Claude Montana, Jean Paul Gautier and JC De Castelbajac, who are all legendary designers from the 90s. The 90s are my biggest influence as they had a mix of casual chic, grunge and glamour, which is definitely what my brand is about.
The 90s were sexy and full of amazing music, I am still always listening to 90s hip hop, which plays a huge part in my design influence. Having musicians wear my stuff is amazing – recently Wu Tang Clan wore my stuff on stage and I almost had a baby!
What's your design process?
I design my collections in the UK at my studio, doing all the CADs (computer aided designs), and making the patterns and things, then I fly to LA to make my samples, I have a factory I work hand-in-hand with in downtown LA. I run around LA for six weeks like a headless chicken getting materials and trims, all the while watching the samples slowly come to life.
Who do you want to wear our stuff?
I have been blessed to have support from some of the celebrities that brands dream of wearing their stuff, like Rita Ora, Cara D and Wiz Khalifa. I would just like the support from them to continue, but it's a blessing to have anyone wear your stuff. Girls and boys from all over keep repping it and telling their friends, it's so sweet when you see people wearing your stuff in the street in their own way.
How hard are you working on this, day to day?
I pretty much live and breathe my brand, there isn't a day that goes past that I'm not trying to further this.
How do you feel you've grown and developed your stuff since it's inception?
It's changed a lot. I never studied – being told what to do has never been my strong point – so everything I have learnt is either from my amazing friends or arrived at through hard work, making mistakes and learning from them. I have learnt so much, I feel like it's been a three-year boot camp, and things are really starting to come together, I'm always learning different skills and pushing my hustle.
What are you doing on your down time?
I have just started presenting for VFILES in NYC, doing all their UK show VFILES LOUD, which is super exciting. I'm looking forward to heading to NYC to work with them; their team is amazing, I love what they do. Also, I just had the best weekend ever at Glastonbury Festival, the music and vibes were amazing! I love dancing and going nuts, especially in a field.
What's going to make you feel like you "finally made it"?
I feel I speak for most creative people when I say you will never feel like you have made it, I don't really know what that even means. I appreciate everything along the way but as soon as something is done I'm thinking about the next move. It's what makes me happy and I feel blessed to be doing what I love. Creative minds never stop ticking, my grandparents are still 100 miles per hour.
It seems like you're a fan of the colour black, is that fair to say?
I love black, I just think its sexy and works with everything I also like the feel of what all black gives when you wearing it. I am looking to introduce more colour for sure, but black pieces will always be a big feature.
What does the future hold for you?
I'm doing some collaborations, I just did a great one for Rita Ora – I was commissioned to design her backing dancers outfits head to toe for her UK festival performances. I'm also working on a shoe collab' at the moment and I would love to do a sunglasses one!
I'm already thinking about my AW16 collection as its really big year for my brand – it's the first season I will be going into a showroom, I'm going to be working with the TOMORROW showroom.
I have been working on a handbag range, which I'm really excited about , they're going to have a really industrial style and a glam feel. I'm also really excited about starting to work with VFILES, I'm their UK presenter and going to be filming here and in NYC for them, which is crazy exciting, as presenting has been a goal of mine.
What does "Always On The Run" mean to you?
To me, it means to me you're like a dog with a bone, always on the hustle and keeping things moving.
Find out more about Supra's On The Run campaign here.