Jessica Gold Newman subscribes to the theory that less that lasts trumps more that doesn’t. Every item in her womenswear line Dobbin contains the elements of a luxury label; fine tailoring, high-end Italian stretch fabrics (the same fabrics design houses Carolina Herrera, The Row and Diane Von Furstenberg use) and remarkable durability, all with a price tag under $200. By eliminating the middleman and selling the entire collection exclusively at DobbinClothing.com, Jessica and her partner Catherine Doyle have been able to keep costs consumer-friendly.
Named after the English word for workhorse, Dobbin combines classic and vintage silhouettes designed to serve as the backbone of a woman’s wardrobe. Unlike most other labels that use a size 2 fit model, Dobbin grades up and down from a size 8 to create clothing that is universally flattering and the entire line is designed, developed and manufactured in New York City’s Garment District.
Name: Jessica Gold Newman
Hometown: Newton, MA
Job title: CEO, Dobbin Clothing
Established in: April 2012
My design career began… with Dobbin! Before this, I had my own biz dev and marketing consultancy, JG and Co., and prior to that, I was the Marketing Director of Liz Lange Maternity. I also wrote a fashion business and history blog Truth Plus. Our designer for Dobbin is Catherine Doyle, my partner, who was the Design Director of Liz Lange while I was there. We work very closely on the look and fit of the clothes, and luckily, have very similar, complementary tastes.
Manufacturing in the US is… the only way we want to produce our clothing. Having worked in the Garment District for so many years, we know first-hand all the hard work that goes into putting together a garment from concept to finish. We’re very lucky to work with top-notch factories here in NY that also work with Thakoon, Rachel Roy, Opening Ceremony and Diane von Furstenberg. We feel good about helping to provide jobs here in NY, about preserving the Garment Center eco-system, and about the level of quality we’re able to bring our customers by working so closely with our factories, markers and graders, cutting rooms and pattern makers.
In terms of inspiration… we’re inspired by so many women, inside and outside of the fashion world. In fashion, it’s women like Shala Monroque, Giovanna Battaglia, Ines de la Fressange, Isabella Rossellini and Costanza Pascolato. We love easy ladylike dressers who have unique personalities and don’t seem to take fashion too seriously. Outside of fashion, we’re inspired by women like Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, Martha Stewart, Meryl Streep, Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, opera singer Renée Fleming and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. We tend to gravitate toward women who have strong identities, who are working hard at whatever they do, and who look good (but still real) doing those things.
Current Dobbin clothing article of choice.. the Belle Dress. Made of luxurious washable Italian ponte, this dress is going to be my go-to for upcoming work meetings and for holiday parties. It’s so versatile, chic and comfortable. I’m going to add an antique pin to the shoulder above the twist.
My personal style… is preppy mixed with 1960s mixed with a touch of what I hope is Parisian chic. Catherine and I love 1960s American sportswear designers like Donald Brooks as well as Jackie O’s simple sophistication while she was living in NYC. I’m from Massachusetts, which explains the preppy factor. And the Parisian part is about incorporating a bit of charm into my style, and also about trying to buy less that’s better that I know I’ll really wear, as opposed to fast fashion trendiness.
Recently obsessed with… my new Havanese puppy, Gemelli.
My favorite American-made brands are… The Row, Oscar de la Renta, Imogene + Willie and Clare Vivier.
Buying American-made is important because… it helps to think about how products you buy are made, who’s making them and under what conditions. I feel so good about buying things I know will help small American businesses and that are made with care, close to home. Work laws here mean fair pay and working conditions too. And Made in the USA doesn’t have to cost a lot, it just requires some research and keeping an eye out.
Biggest milestone in my career to date… Hm, although I’ve met a lot of celebrities and organized many Fashion Week shows, it’s definitely been launching Dobbin. Doing something with a partner on our own means it’s closer to our hearts than working for another brand. Blood, sweat and tears keep us going! And hearing from customers that they love our stuff means everything.
In 2013 I’m most looking forward to… expanding the Dobbin line and refining our offerings, our fit and our customer service. Those are things we work on every day, and never want to settle for less.