When designing the uniforms for our team at The Other House South Kensington, we had comfort and style at the forefront of our minds, to coincide with the strong interior design brief of our first Residents Club. The process was a collaboration between our CEO and Founder Naomi Heaton and London-based design studio, Jalin Design, who create the bespoke uniforms of some of the world’s top luxury hotels.
The end result? A collection that is bold, stylish and comfortable and something that our House Mates could feel at home in as well as feel good wearing.
We caught up with Co-Founder Lindy Kursten and Product Director Richard Griffiths to find out how it was done.
Can you give us the back story of Jalin – how did you get into design and which part of the process do you most enjoy?
Lindy – We started Jalin as costume makers for films and then someone asked us to make uniforms, suddenly our whole world changed. Now we make lots of uniforms for some beautiful properties around the world. We love designing and creating sustainable, beautiful, original concepts for a multitude of different properties across the globe.
What is the growth story of Jalin?
Lindy – We started working with private members clubs 10 years ago, just making made-to-measure, bespoke uniforms. Everything was individual items, in fact, soon there were too many enquiries off the back of that for us to handle – 5 Hartford turned into Clarridges, that turned into Connaught, then The Barclay turned into The Ritz and Savoy. We suddenly got a bit tired of working only in the UK, so we went to the Caribbean (because we all love going to the Caribbean) and worked with the wonderful Sandy Lane. From there, we turned into a bigger company – ten years ago there were two people in my front room and now we’re 25 people in a big office in Queens Park.
How did you capture The Other House (TOH) brief and ground-breaking concept in the uniforms?
Richard – We wanted to work with TOH because we love that they’re offering something new and different to the Hospitality industry, it’s disruptive and fresh – as uniform designers, this really interested us. We feel that the uniforms we’ve created were a mix of looking good and sustainability. We did this by offering our J-Wear product, and then integrating exciting, developed fabrics with prints and jacquards even velvets to really add that luxury flavour.
How are The Other House’s bold and bespoke designs showcased in the uniforms?
Richard – Having worked extensively with TOH’s creative team and print designer, Mariana Rodriguez who’d worked on the wallpapers for the interiors; we thought it was important to take designs like the Deer and Peacock and the Owl and Monkey and integrate those into the uniforms. We did this through fabric print on the aprons and even the linings on the inside of the jackets; to somehow creatively offer those prints so even if you can’t see it, the person who’s wearing the jacket still feels a part of The Other House.
Lindy – We also took the logo of TOH and created this beautiful bespoke belt that everybody could wear regardless of what uniform they were wearing – it’s an elegant way of having a logo without having a logo. We try and stay away from logos as much as possible, but this is just incorporating the name into the garment, and still making a beautiful garment. One of the other things we looked at is the colouring – everything is very sumptuous, deep and rich. The colour has a certain depth; there’s nothing that’s light and airy, which sits well within the interiors. We were very lucky to have a visual with the renders and artwork, and to work in collaboration with the TOH team to create something that was absolutely fit for purpose.
What pieces have The Other House chosen to make our House Mates ‘Feel At Home’?
Lindy – Part of this journey with The Other House has also been trying to look at it, not as a traditional hotel, but to create a capsule wardrobe for the team so that there was a choice. There was this jacket or another jacket, you could wear trousers, shorts or a palazzo, or a shirt or t-shirt. It wasn’t regimented what you had to wear on a specific day, you had a wardrobe collection that you could choose from on any given day, which makes the people and the team feel like this is much more of a team and a place of personality. You have freedom and choice which is the way of the future with hospitality, but not many companies have been bold enough to embrace that. The Other House are going there already.
We have used a few pieces from your new disruptive brand, Jalin Wear, can you tell us more about how this came about?
Lindy – During COVID, or just before, Jalin decided that it was time to take notice of the planet and how we could contribute to a better future for us, our kids and generally. We spent many hours developing a collection of garments that is routed in sustainability, but its more than that – it’s about the whole ethos behind it. For every Jalin employee we plant a tree every month, we carbon offset everything, and these are not stories that were telling the world – they’re things that were doing to make a better planet. TOH have similar goals, and they want to have similarly less of an impact on the planet, so there was a real synergy in that perspective of where were hoping to take uniforms in hospitality, and where TOH started off their journey with uniforms.
Richard – I think we wanted it to be authentic so even the fact that our J-Wear jeans are made with water saving technology and we use things like organic cotton and recycled polyester, but it’s also a lot more than that.
How has the essence of high end and luxury been a part of the uniform design process?
Lindy– Jalin is very picky about who we partner with – I know that sounds terrible but it’s true! We want to be part of a world where people are making a difference. In the luxury, market you can make a difference and be a trailblazer, you can’t do it for a mass market, you must be a bit smaller and boutique, so our offering is luxury boutique which will trickle down into mainstream later – that’s what we’re hoping for. We use designers who are inspirational like Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, and British icons who are trailblazing in the fashion world; we’re trying to do the same with sustainability in the uniform sector.
Richard – I think the essence of what makes something luxurious like TOH is we wanted to do something where people can comfortably step outside in South Kensington and feel good in what they’re wearing, not a normal generic uniform.
Lindy– I always find, and it sounds a bit like a cliché, but when we design something, we want to make something look like it’s not a uniform; because there’s a team wearing it, it automatically becomes that, but we never start with ‘oh this is a uniform’ in mind.
What makes Jalin Design so coveted amongst the luxury hotel industry?
Richard – I think the reason why lots of the luxury hospitality brands want to work with us is because we are innovative and creative, and we never really want to do the same thing twice.
Lindy – We’re happy to step out of our comfort zone on a regular basis. Our drive for a luxurious product is part of our brand; we have been very fortunate to be chosen as Forbes Travel Guide brand official partners for the last 7 years. They are all about training and elevating standards and luxury.
Richard – And I think uniforms are really a part of that, as in they make an impression of the hotel; they affect the staff and the individual They are created to reflect the property which was why it was nice to work with TOH because the space is really designed to be unique, so to make uniforms to work in that space has been a real joy to do.