Meet Jamie Haller: LA Mama and NSF Creative Director
“My design input has spread out into other areas in my life and all of them make me feel very grateful to be able to work creatively in the ways that I do.”
What do you do and what led you to this career?
I am the Creative Director for NSF, an elevated women's casual brand. I have been at NSF since 2010. I also am the Co-founder and Creative Director for ICONS Objects of Devotion, a women's label in the young designer category. They are different types of collections, however it is fun to continue to explore various sides of my personality. I have worked as a Creative and Designer in the Los Angeles fashion community for close to 20 years, working for larger retailers and smaller more niche brands. I didn't know when I was young that you could work in fashion, I wasn't exposed to it as a career option. When I was around 20 years old, I met someone who worked in the "industry" who explained it all to me. With this new information, things clicked for me. I changed colleges, changed majors, moved to LA, and have been working in fashion ever since. Goodbye Spanish teacher, hello Fashion Designer.
Growing up I was a figure skater. Since I was about 10 years old, I was designing for myself and my competitions. I used to sew my own clothes in high school, or modify them to be more "in fashion". I hoarded fashion magazines, although there were only 2 or 3 at the time. I grew up hanging around swap meets and flea markets and have always been inspired by the hunt of vintage. It all makes a lot of sense now.
I am really lucky I've been so fulfilled working as a designer. In the past 5 years I have struck up a new hobby, that of restoring historic homes here in Los Angeles, and along the way have become an untrained informal type of interior designer as well (who loves to manage the whole construction process). Outside of fashion, I spend a lot of time in these old homes which also seems to match up with my aesthetics. As a denim designer (which I have been for almost my whole career), you work with the creation of a fading patina in wash development. The same goes for the restoration and design I put into these old homes. My design input has spread out into other areas in my life and all of them make me feel very grateful to be able to work creatively in the ways that I do.
What are the names and ages of your children?
My daughter is Elke, she is 6 1/2. My newborn son is 4 months, his name is Luke.
What has been your biggest career achievement thus far?
Well, in 2015 I was recognized, along with the Founder of NSF, as GQ's Designer of the Year. We got to do an amazing collaboration with GAP and I got to see myself plastered across magazines, full scale photos in the GAP stores and on Billboards. It was pretty incredible. In 2018 I was written up in the Style Section of the NY Times for my dual design lifestyle, being a denim designer and working on homes. This was so special because it recognized my broad creative strokes and it's evolution.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a mother?
The everyday, all of the little moments. The second time around I get to be more aware of how fast they change and have been taking more time to enjoy these moments. Watching my daughter grow and experience her own successes is an amazing thing.
And what is the most challenging?
Being present all the time. I have a lot on my plate with all of my creative work adventures and sometimes at the end of a day, it's hard to remember she doesn't know me as any of those things, my only job at home is to be her Mom.
What is your best advice for someone new to your industry?
Intern. It's competitive and cut throat. Build a resume and make connections, and then of course, you gotta be good at what you do and then be nice.
What is your best advice for a new mother?
Don't be too hard on yourself.
What's next for you? Do you have any exciting projects coming up?
I am in the middle of a 1905 Craftsman restoration in Echo Park, which you can follow along on Instagram. With NSF I design 12 collections a year, so there are always new things I am working on. ICONS is still a fairly new collection and it is exciting to watch the evolution of the brand.