I’ve been a silent admirer of Whitney Lundeen and her California-based dress company, Sonnet James, for some time now. I remember watching her Kickstarter video a few years back, and admiring the fun styling of the first lookbook (that image above, for example, stands out), but most of all I recall feeling inspired by the concept: “durable, machine-washable dresses for mothers who want to be playful with their kids and feel beautiful.”
“Each day, when I put the dress on, it helps me remember who I want to be,” Whitney has said of the clothes she makes.
I love that! Isn’t that the best one hopes for when picking out something to wear? In her case, that happens to be “a playful mother who can be engaged with her kids.”
Whitney reached out recently about her summer line of dresses, and I got the chance to learn a bit more about how she started Sonnet James.
What really surprised (and inspired) me was that Whitney had no idea how to make dresses when starting out! She bought a sewing machine, a book on pattern drafting, and set to work. She had become a single mother shortly after her second son was born and needed to financially provide for her boys (now 5 and 8), and she had an idea. She didn’t feel like there was comfortable, durable, but also fashionable clothes for mothers so she decided to create them. Her goal was to design clothes that allow moms to immerse themselves in their kids’ adventures, while also feeling confident and attractive. So for six weeks, after her boys were in bed each night, she worked on her first twelve sample dresses.
And the vision has stuck: she uses soft, stretchy, durable, and easily (machine) washable fabric to make every dress—now washed and printed in Los Angeles, and made in South San Francisco—and appears to be having lots of fun!
Isn’t it inspiring when people make such beautiful things out of an idea?
Sponsored by Sonnet James, but the sentiments expressed are all my own. Thank you for your support!
P.S. The Work We Do.