A world renowned designer, creative director, and rising style muse, Jessica Walsh cultivates bold, unapologetic creativity in all that she does. From her work as a partner at Sagmeister & Walsh to her personal projects with industry collaborators, Jessica’s unrivaled eye for aesthetics is helping to shape the modern design industry as we know it. Pairing this with her passion for travel and intrinsic style as evidenced in her wildly popular Instagram presence, there’s more to Jessica’s artistry than meets the eye. Having recently stepped into Jessica’s world (aka her exquisite Chelsea apartment which brings her fondness for vibrant visuals to life) we got a firsthand look at what keeps this visionary moving.
My name is Jessica Walsh. I am a creative director, designer, and a partner at Sagmeister & Walsh in NYC. We design almost everything at our studio: from ad campaigns and brand identities to installations, books, furniture, products and more. My life largely revolves around my work and travels, but I also love down time with my family and close friends and cuddling with my dog Oscar. Creative and aesthetics extend to everything I do, in not just my work, but from what I wear, to the restaurants where I eat, to the places I travel.
A Color Story
I don’t think color has to be a staple element in the contemporary shopper's wardrobe; everyone’s personal style and aesthetic vary. That said, living in NYC the whole black-only attire feels a little exhausted to me, and I personally love adding in pops of color here and there to my wardrobe to spice things up.
Regarding minimalism vs. maximalism, I don’t think one is better than another. I have seen beauty and ugliness in both directions. I feel the same way about minimalism vs. maximalism in graphic design or art direction, or looking at a piece of fine art; it’s not about how much or how little there is, but how well a piece is designed or composed. This can come down to the color palettes, composition, form, cuts, or even the concepts behind a piece. Often the best pieces in any creative field are crafted with love and care and attention.
Regarding modern design: I do tend to gravitate towards things that are modern and feel fresh and new, but sometimes what feels new already existed in the past - especially in fashion. Styles are recycled throughout the decades. I personally love finding vintage pieces and figuring out how to style them in a fresh, modern way.
I’m a collector of things that inspire me. On my @jessicavwalsh account, this means documenting my love for color and art. I am drawn to surrealism, beautiful compositions and forms, and any strange oddities that make you think. This account is a diary of my work and creative inspirations. My @theotherjessicawalsh account is a documentation of my daily life and travels and style attempts. Often the things I curate over time help tell me about what I am attracted to and helps me discover new things I’m interested in. Often these discoveries lead to decisions I make about what I’m doing offline: from the places I shop, to where I eat or travel. I think it’s all connected.
On Conscious Creativity
I feel a constant drive to create meaningful work, though that doesn’t always translate to sustainability. I’ve created many personal projects that touch on topics I find worth discussing and illuminating such as mental health, or the lack of women in creative leadership roles, and I’ve created charity projects to raise money for humanitarian causes. I think you can’t tackle every world issue in your work; you have to pick what you’re most passionate about.
I do think sustainability is an important topic in fashion. It’s not just about creating clothes from the right materials but creating well-crafted garments that can last in someone’s wardrobe and be passed down to others for decades. There are too many cheap, poorly-made items, in general, these days - from our phones to our wardrobes - these are designed and sold to you with an expected short lifeline - they're meant to be disposable. I’m trying to consume less of those things, and buy nice items that should last me a very long while. When designing I do think about how to create something worthwhile and beautiful that people will want to keep vs. want to throw away.
On Eye Opening Travel
Travel has opened my eyes in many ways - it’s taught me empathy and understanding and flexibility and tolerance. I am not sure it’s taught me to slow down, though. The more I travel, the more I want to explore and learn and grow and keep going - it energizes me! Strangely, it’s being in this fast-paced city for several weeks in a row that helps me slow down.
I like the idea of a forever item! I try to do most of my shopping while abroad because I love when a piece of clothing has the memory and backstory behind it. I love finding pieces from local designers or vintage shops because when I wear the items, it brings back memories of that time and place. Time passes faster and faster the older you get, and so much of the highs and lows and adventures of life can be forgotten in the blur of daily routines and deadlines and responsibilities. It’s nice to have something on you to remind you of where and who you once were. Objects can do that too of course, and I guess the best example that pops into my mind is my grandfather’s typewriter. He passed away, but seeing it in my home every day keeps his memory alive. It brings a smile to my face remembering the times we shared, and the things he taught me.
Photos by Bridget Badore for Coclico
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