Lora recently discovered JED on Instagram – a high-end knitwear company (launched last year) that began with luxurious Italian cashmere and is now expanding to silks and other woven categories. JED’s designer, Jed Krascella worked alongside Perry Ellis and has created this amazing new brand that we’re pretty excited about!
After a little online flirting and gentle stalking, we offered our blogeling and styling skills – we’d each style one of their sweaters (of their choosing), three different ways. We have to say, they chose perfectly! With Litchfield County as our beautiful backdrop, it was a match made in cashmere heaven.
Jed is also a fellow Nutmegger, so read below for the fabulous interview!
Photos shot on location around the town of Kent and at Gooseboro Drive-In, Bantam (check out our feature next week!).
Interview with Jed Krascella:
Jed, you began your career working side by side with Perry Ellis. Pretty awesome!
It was indeed a dream job working with Perry. Perry, Patricia Pastor, and myself worked side by side for a decade. I was told by the chairman of Parsons that it was one of the two best jobs anyone could get. I interviewed with Perry, then Patricia, then came to see the Fall ‘78 show at their invitation and request (to see if I liked what they were doing!), and then after a last interview with Perry he offered me the job.
After I started – they told me they were a bit wary of hiring me because I seemed so terribly serious (even though my sketches weren’t) and since they were laughing all the time they wondered if, personality-wise – I would fit in. Patricia told Perry that since I was wearing saddle shoes and a bright pink button down that I MUST have a sense of humor! They were right – I do, but I was a bit shy.
One of the wonderful things about working with Perry and Patricia is that we so enjoyed what we did that we did indeed laugh a lot….I’ve always felt one has to be in a great mood in order to design – uplifted, dreaming, excited, chuckling. To design some wonderful piece that will delight a customer it’s probably a good idea to start from that emotional space yourself. At least that’s what I’ve always felt, how I worked with Perry – and how I continue to work today.
At Perry – I did everything. I was exposed to it all……women’s collections, fashion shows, menswear, furs, accessories, coats, home collection, men’s dress shirts, neckwear, suitings……fabric design, photo shoots, PR, every editor under the sun, celebrities…..and all with a sweater focus – especially hand knits.
We traveled around the world in search of the most beautiful fabrics and yarns.
Where do you find inspiration for the collections?
Everyone is always interested in this and I can see why – but to be honest, I don’t think about it that much. I see things, I remember things, I experience things – visual things, emotions, sense memories – and at certain times, certain things stick out and sear themselves into my mind until I must do something about it – like use them as inspiration. It’s using current obsessions to fuel work I guess…….I have been blessed (and cursed, quite frankly) with a memory like an elephant. I never forget anything. So I draw upon everything to conjure things to make.
With Perry – anything and everything was ripe for using as inspiration. You never know what’s around the corner waiting to be plucked. For me, I have favorite topics, things I love that I refer to again and again, but in truth – anything is fair game as inspiration. It can come off the street, from a book, from a trip, from the net, from music, from fragrance, from stores, from restaurants, from architecture, from a conversation, from a movie, from TV, from a magazine, from my friends, from my family, from my past, from icons and muses, from dedicated research, from happenstance, from memories……and on and on.
Your collections are truly beautiful – made with 100% Italian cashmere. Why did you choose to feature cashmere as the basis for the line?
I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that you like the collections. You know, a big reason for embarking on an endeavor like JED is to make people smile, make them happy…I like the sweaters, but it means nothing if it is not shared with others of like mind.
We started with cashmere because it is the top tier of the sweater collection and we wanted to establish a strong foundation with the best, most classic, most malleable yarn program. Cashmere messages luxury, but also history, craftsmanship, old values, classics……many things I love and strive to include as part of the brand.
Cashmere is – in my mind – “the great equalizer”. Cashmere juxtaposed with wit – which we love – yields some wonderful results.
Do you see the lines expanding to other luxurious materials?
Absolutely. In fact, we are already in the midst of this. Cashmere is just one facet of the sweater program, although a very important one. For resort, we have added a range of beautiful, lightweight silk heathers. We will continue this year round. It has been quite well received already.
For spring we are layering on a beautiful Italian cotton range as well as a range of prints on silk sweaters. In the future, we have plans for linen, camel hair, kid mohair, merino, and some blends. We will use the yarn extensions to create a tiered, multi-season strategy emphasizing lighter weights.
In addition to sweaters, we have plans for a range of woven shirtings, both yarn dyed and in prints. I have such a love for print and pattern and have worked on creating a library of over 200 print designs based on my drawings and watercolors.
We also have future plans for cut and sew knitwear, as well as extending certain brand techniques (sweater knits, handknits, prints) into certain home categories. For resort, we created our first sweater knit accessories – scarves, wraps, caps, gloves.
What’s your favorite way to style a JED sweater?
There are so many ways to wear them…I always have multiple wearing occasions in mind when creating the collections, for truly a sweater is an incredibly adaptable type of garment that can work in so many situations. It is a classic – and its adaptability over the decades, from occasion to occasion, from era to era, from day to night, from simple to complex – shows how the sweater can really be the workhorse of any wardrobe.
I love them with trousers, skinny and wide. I love them over voluminous skirts and the skimpiest of skirts. I love them layered with stuff under and pieces over. I love them plain and pure. I love them loaded up with gems and accessories. I love them out to dinner. I love them at the beach. But if I had to pick – I love them best with jeans!
Anything else you’d like our Litchfield County and NYC readers to know about the brand?
I’d like them to know that I am a fellow Nutmegger! I grew up in Connecticut and it still holds a very, very special place in my heart- as does all of New England. I think it is one the most special corners on earth. So it has been especially gratifying to me that you both have expressed your enthusiasm for the collection.
Also – I am crazy about Litchfield County! My God – who isn’t?? If we sell enough sweaters I will buy a home there – no kidding!
Wish me luck!
Thanks to Jed, Cara DeMichele, Randolph, and Gooseboro Drive-In. You all rock.