"IN TEES" Jamie Haller, Creative Director NSF and Icons Los Angeles


Jamie Haller is one of those extremely special people + she happens to be one of my dearest friends and influencers throughout the years. It seemed only natural we pair 1 9 2 0 x NSF/ ICONS for an interview and little editorial. Jamie and I began our friendship 15+ years ago in Los Angles when we were young designers; she designing refined suiting and myself fully fashioned knitwear. We were drawn to each other through our great love of all things design, but mostly because we thought we were extremely funny and we somehow got each other on every level.  We have grown so much in that time from young designers to full on businesswomen and that is something to be celebrated! Jamie is a forever MUSE, read on to learn about her love of denim, home restoration, real estate and being a mother and wife. She is a constant source of inspiration for creative women everywhere trying to make their mark on this world ... and she juggles it all pretty flawlessly. 

What brought you to 1 9 2 0:

Abby Moriarty is one of my forever friends, anything she does I will definitely follow. I’m also a tried and true tee shirt wearer. It’s the most consistent item in my wardrobe. A tee shirt is my best friend. Tees and me go way back. 

NSF Showroom, Downtown Los Angeles 

Tell us a little about yourself and your brand/work:

I am the Creative Director and Designer for NSF Clothing and ICONS. NSF is a contemporary women’s clothing brand which exudes a relaxed casual cool aesthetic. We do a ton of tee shirts. Ours are very distressed, holey, worn in, & pre-loved.  I also started a second collection called ICONS which started as an authentic vintage curation for select stores and now has evolved into a cut and sew women’s collection inspired by iconic vintage silhouettes. Both collections express different sides of my personality. It’s been inspiring to express my contrasting points of view through design.

I also design houses. I am currently working on an 1880s Victorian in the Historic District of Los Angeles known as Angelino Heights. I fell into this, I’ve been doing this with my husband for the last 6 years. We did one, then another, then another and another and this year two. I am a bit addicted to restoring old homes. Creatively, there is a lot of crossover between designing clothes and homes. It all starts with inspiration and intention.

You can find Jamie online at:

www.nsfclothing.com

www.iconslosangeles.com

www.realestatedorkla.com

Where are you based:

Los Angeles, CA.

How did you initially get into fashion design/home restoration:

Honestly, I didn’t understand when I was younger you could work in fashion. Growing up in San Diego I wasn’t exposed to the idea.  I spent my youth making my own clothes and reading magazines like Teen and Seventeen. This was before blogs and social media. Fashion was elusive. My only exposure to the idea of being a designer had been watching Elsa Klensch and Style-File as a young kid on TV early on Saturday Mornings. I was motivated but I didn’t know by what. I was in college, studying Spanish. I met someone who worked in the “industry.” Once I learned working in fashion was an option a light inside went off and I knew what I should be doing.  I immediately moved to LA, enrolled in fashion school and that was the beginning. I got a job right out of school and have been working ever since.

Looks from ICONS S18 Collection as well as Jamies most current rennovation project. 

What inspires you most in your day to day:

Inspiration has so many forms. I feel inspired in so many different ways at different times. My husband and daughter inspires me to be a better person, to stay healthy, to be present. She inspires me to see things in a new way. Our family inspires me to keep growing, to keep working hard.

Often times mistakes provide the opportunity for innovation. I do a lot of laundry design, which means conceptualizing wash processes we apply to tees and denim. Some of my coolest wash applications were born from a mistake. I have learned that the process is part design and you usually end up somewhere other than where you intended. Once you learn not to be controlling of the creative process, it becomes less stressful when things change.

In fashion, I am mostly inspired by my own desires. Selfishly, I design for myself.  What I need, what I want, what I am pining for. I have learned to trust my instincts in this way. It provides me a lens from which to view what I want to design.

When designing homes and interior spaces I am inspired by what something is, was and should be. I love to stand in a room and visualize. I love space planning and reworking floorplans.  I dork out over original materials, wood, tile, lighting. I love using salvage materials and incorporating them into a better space. I love the process of the build. I like the nuts and bolts of how things work. I am perfectly happy talking about topics like plumbing and foundations. I taught myself how to rewire outlets and hang lights from you tube, and yes I have electrocuted myself! I still prefer to hire people to do these things but I enjoy the knowing. Maybe in another life I would become a contractor and have a design build firm.

Jamie reviewing denimwash standards, ICONS Studio, downtown Los Angeles. 

What place is your go-to for inspiration:

I try to trust my instincts. So the answer would be I go inward. The truest inspiration lies inside. It arises. Like everyone I am inspired by imagery. I get inspired by vintage and antiques. Honestly, it’s everywhere. I try to stay open minded.

Who are some of your favorite artists/designers and why:

I don’t know. I don’t really follow many designers in fashion. Yes, there are amazing designers out there. I look sometimes. But I also wear blinders. I don’t shop much. Maybe working in fashion for 15+ years creates this disinterest. I honestly don’t really care what’s in stores. I’m not a motivated shopper. I don’t even look at what others are doing. I don’t know.

What is your daily uniform:

Ha, well, to be honest, whatever is clean on the chair, I don’t think too much about it, unless I am trying to impress, then I can.

Usually my everyday look is a vintage jean, a tee shirt, a top layer like a flannel, a long tunic or blazer, a bun. Sometimes I wear earrings, usually for a half day only because by lunch my ears are hurting. Comfortable shoes that make my lack of effort still feel stylish. It comes off as a look, but sounds basic.

Jamie in her downtown LA studio wearing 1920 Easy Crew in Black, NSF Jeans and Margiela Boots.

For 1 9 2 0 T-shirts play such a role in our day to day life, tell us about your favorite T-shirt and how you acquired it:

Well, I have way too many. And favorites rotate. I have one I have had for 20 years. I bought it in Budapest. I wore it all throughout my 20s. The screenprint is a faded map of the city. I cut the neck off. It has evolved over the years. I am very nostalgic about this one.

I have a handful of threadbare vintage ones that are great. I have come to a place with Tee shirts that if I need one I just make it. I will honestly say I do consider my 1920 tee one of my “good” tees. I treat it better than most. I wash it carefully. I don’t let it wrinkle. It definitely is getting priority treatment from me. I like that it has a more refined finish and feel. 

Do you have a favorite 1 9 2 0 style and why?

I’m loving the 1920 F001 Easy Crew because it is the opposite of all of the other tees I have. It has a little structure, it is clean and modern feeling. I feel more pulled together in it. It is classic and iconic and I’m into that right now. Its kind of the opposite of the tees we do at NSF and I love that about it. We have a need for both aesthetics in our lives. 

I also really love the sweatshirts, I have worn my womens black raglan to death and now I am working on breaking in the mens sweatshirt, it has such a cool dropped shoulder and longer length. They are the best. 

Jamie fitting in the NSF Studio, wearing F001 Easy Crew in Black and the NSF 'Slight' jean in white.  

Words to live by:

I have none…. Maybe….

LOVE. Yeah, feel love.

* All original photos courtesy of Jamie Haller/ NSF for 1920, ICONS/NSF photos courtesy of NSF/ICONS, Realestate photos via Jamie Haller.