As we shift seasons, it’s time to think outerwear, and Hivery member J’Amy Tarr has a new line coming out for fall and winter. She strives to create each woman’s perfect Bay Area jacket.
Born and raised in Mill Valley, J’Amy remembers always searching for a warm jacket during her time at Tamalpais High. As a fashion designer, she’s determined to solve an issue many Bay Area women have: finding a timeless jacket that surpasses trends and also combats the unpredictable weather.
Check out how J’Amy pairs creativity and connection at the core of her brand—and her new line for the changing seasons.
What’s new this season?
I’m excited to release a collection that plays with new shapes and fabrics. While I’m most known for my signature Moto Jacket, I’m going to be releasing new styles like blazers and kimonos — very new, different and edgy! I’m introducing new fabrics, like cotton and twill, too, which will provide a lighter weight option.
As a fashion designer, I strive continuously to make new garments each season for my brand. In addition to creating the upcoming fall/winter 2016 collection, I’m working to expand my artistic abilities so that I can soon solidify my own artistic aesthetic and identity. This self expression is a creative outlet that I use as a means to connect with others.
Every Friday I publish a fashion illustration series called “The Girls” on my website’s blog and social media channels (to follow J’Amy, scroll down to end to connect). I encourage myself to draw and post my creations constantly; soon enough I hope to evolve my brand to reflect art and the local Bay Area art scene more.
I love that the idea of connection is central to your work. Tell us more about that.
In addition to connecting with people through the artwork I produce, I also love making personal connections with my customers. There’s something so special about talking, discussing and getting to know a person through face-to-face interactions. With this in mind, I thought deeply about how I can integrate this aspect into the fashion world.
Recently, I announced that my design studio, a place where I design, sew, cut and work, would be open to my customers. I’m now starting to hold “Design Studio Open Hours.” Hivery members should feel free to walk down the hallway and pop by to see what we are working on. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes, “Project Runway” type of experience. Who knows? We may be cutting new styles, working on a photoshoot or designing upcoming collections. If you are in the mood to shop, our collection is available to try on and you can even get a sleeve alteration to enhance the perfect fit.
I love walk-ins and showing what truly goes on in the fashion world.
And you’re a Hivery neighbor, so it would be convenient for members to come in to see what you are up to.
Yes! I’m in in the same building. It makes it easy for me to come to the Hivery for a respite/change of scenery/brief moments of inspiration for my own day-to-day work.
Aside from ease, why do you come to The Hivery?
Having similar fundamental values as The Hivery was a large factor in my decision to join as a coworking member. At The Hivery, I enjoy meeting monthly with women who are artists, business owners and coaches. There is an openness to these high level meetings where people share the ups and downs of business. It is a valuable interaction that helps us all feel more connected. I especially love the Entrepreneur’s Circle meetings and Lead-A-Lunch to connect with like-minded individuals and to meet more women who are doing cool stuff!
Let’s get back to the cool stuff you’re doing. How did J’Amy Tarr Outwear get its start?
I began my career in fashion Levi Strauss and was truly drawn to the artistry and craftsmanship behind garments’ designs.
It became apparent that I wanted to become a designer. I earned two Master of Fine Art degrees in fashion design and textile design.
To hone my craft, I left the Bay Area to work under American sportswear icon Michael Kors in New York City. One of my most memorable moments at Michael Kors was working on a dress worn by Beyoncé on the cover of InStyle!
How did you get from a Beyoncé dress to outerwear?
Through the launch and production of my own full collection in 2012, I discovered my true passion lay in outerwear. I loved the power outerwear pieces hold; they anchor an outfit quite unlike any other piece. I shifted my focus to concentrate on this single category. In the fall of 2013, J’Amy Tarr Outerwear was born.
This brand allows me to express myself while also allowing me to connect with and build a community of women, which are the things I love to do most! I feel blessed everyday that I get to live my dream.
Since refocusing the business, I moved back to the Bay Area. I’ve been designing, cutting, sewing and creating my outerwear garments from my design studio here in Mill Valley. Each season, I strive to create the perfect jacket for women in the SF Bay Area.
As a supporter of local businesses and a made in the USA ethos, I strive to work directly with producers based in San Francisco for all of my outerwear garments. These craftspeople along with the women who purchase my garments have become a special community that I aim to continuously cultivate.
There’s that idea of community again.
Yes, I love connecting with others on a personal and intimate level. I love to especially do this with my customers. It’s so rewarding to get to know each customer and their life’s stories; I strive to ultimately make a friend with each customer.
Similarly, I love to connect with my family every night at the dinner table. Dinner has become a sacred time for my family to unwind and share about each person’s day. I look forward to hearing from my husband, son and daughter and seeing their personalities come through in their stories.
We hear a lot about work-life balance. How do these two kinds of connections fit together for you and your goals?
I strive to find a happy balance between my career and family life. I also aim to solidify and establish my outerwear brand. My dream is to create space in the fashion industry and in women’s closets for my creations.
J’Amy, we’re so glad you’re part of The Hivery community. We love the connections you are making!
J'Amy Tarr Bio:
As a Mill Valley native, I initially began my career in fashion at a company whose roots also stemmed from the Bay Area -- Levi Strauss. During my time at Levi’s, I was exposed to different aspects of the fashion industry yet I was truly drawn to the artistry and craftsmanship behind garments’ designs.
After some time and soul searching, it was apparent to me that I wanted to become a designer. Shortly thereafter, I received two Master of Fine Art degrees in fashion design and textile design.
To hone my craft, I left the Bay Area to work under American sportswear icon Michael Kors in New York City. One of my most memorable moments at Michael Kors was working on a dress worn by Beyonce on the cover of InStyle!
Through the launch and production of my own full collection in 2012, I soon discovered my true passion lay in outerwear. I loved the power outerwear pieces hold; they anchor an outfit quite unlike any other piece. Consequently, I shifted my focus to concentrate on this single category. In the fall of 2013, J’Amy Tarr Outerwear was born.
Since my business’ new focus, I moved back to the Bay Area. I’ve been designing, cutting, sewing and creating my Outerwear garments from my design studio (which is in the same building as The Hivery!) in Mill Valley.