The need to create and be creative runs in the family for sisters Jess and Rebecca of Jej and Boc. Growing up painting alongside their artist mother and grandmother, Jess and Rebecca draw creative inspiration from their upbringing in Zimbabwe. Jej and Boc present their debut collection by bringing their childhood influences to us, with garments and prints designed to bring joy to the wearer and make you remember childhood delights and merriment. Surely for all of us, wearing a dress covered in fish, jellyfish or a swing dress called “happy as a clam” sets a tone for a day of feeling nostalgic and playful. Bec hand-paints the designs and Jess creates classic garment shapes to reflect a print based collection alongside flattering silhouettes.
How has growing up Zimbabwe influenced your approach to Textile Design.
COLOUR. Zimbabwe is a place where the sun always shines and colour can be found everywhere. The streets are filled with market stalls overflowing with fruit, people selling bowls of tomatoes and roasted corn cobs, and a commotion of colourfully dressed people. In Africa, the traditional fabrics such as shweshwe and java are characterised by vivid colour and bold pattern. Growing up in a country where people often adorn themselves in these vibrant fabrics taught us to love and appreciate colourful clothing from a young age.
Tell us about the your brand name what is the meaning behind Jej and Boc?
Jej and Boc are our childhood nicknames. As well as being an eponymous brand name, it also encapsulates an important philosophy of our brand. We value the freedom children have in their clothes and the fun and frivolous garments on offer for them. We like the idea of bringing this sense of fun and childlike merriment to our brand.
What initially drew you towards a career in Fashion and Textiles Design
We have grown up in a family that loves, appreciates and creates art. Our mum and our grandmother are both artists and we spent our childhood painting alongside them in their studios. We tried alternative career paths for a while, Bec with business and Jess with law, but we could not deny the art ingrained in our DNA and felt the need to pursue a more creative avenue. We have a shared love of clothing and thus fixated upon the concept of wearable art.
Working with family can have it’s challenges how do you manage the day to day operations of the business, have you both got distinctively different roles?
Our roles are quite blurred at this early stage- we do a lot together i.e. answering these questions together now! The main distinction is that Bec creates the fabric and Jess supports this with the fashion components of the business.
What are the best parts to working with each other?
We do many aspects of life together so it was only natural to extend this to a business venture. It is an amazing privilege to do something we love and to share the journey with each other. So much goes unexplained between us because we just get it- we are on the same wavelength which makes it easy to work together… Although there are definitely moments where we completely lose our tempers with each other!
Your current collection is an amazing array of underwater painted textile designs, how did you decide on this theme for the collection?
Bec: Electric ocean was my final project for uni and I always hoped to develop this into a fashion collection. I was inspired for the theme given my awe of the ocean’s natural beauty, particularly having moved to Australia after growing up in a landlocked country.
When you are creating an artwork for it to end up as a textile design are you painting it for that purpose or manipulating it in Abode?
Bec: I do both. My creative process begins with creating illustrations and paintings of motifs that inspire me and I then digitally adapt them on adobe into textile designs.
What’s on the radar for the label in the coming months?
We plan to release a few more designs for our Electric Ocean collection in the next couple of months and also have an Autumn/ Winter collection we are working on in the background.
View the full collection jejandboc.com.au