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Behind The Scenes

Go for a Run With Jacqueline Rousseau

When Jacqueline Rousseau itches to escape the confines of her (adorable! but small!) West Village apartment in Manhattan, she laces up her sneakers and heads out for a jog. Anti-treadmill, the print-minded accessories designer has a regular route that takes her through Battery Park and zigzags back across her ‘hood—and allows her to reflect, as she’s blowing off steam, on the design process: “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.” See below (or follow this map) to see some of her favorite sites she whizzes by on the way. —mattie kahn “This is the men’s shop, Grahame Fowler, on West 10th, where my ties are sold. It’s a beautiful shop with loads of great menswear.” “Highlands is my local hangout. It’s the perfect spot for a drink and a chat or a fantastic meal. When I first moved here, after seven years in London, Highlands was the first bar that reminded me of an English pub—chilled-out and dim with a super-friendly and down-to-earth staff. After a few dozen visits, I found out that the owners are actually British! Order the beef wellington and a cider. The combination never disappoints.” “I love this flower shop, VSF, on West 10th. I slow down my pace every time to check out their gorgeous floral displays.” “I love this strip of Charles Street. It’s quiet and residential. This yellow house is right next to one of my favorite coffee spots, Mojo, which is a nice, understated escape from Sixth Avenue’s noise. I usually order a non-fat cappuccino, no sugar, but I make up for it with one of Mojo’s amazing chocolate chip cookies. A good chocolate chip cookie is trouble.” “I’m fascinated by this construction site. There is a huge metal structure left behind that frames the sky and surrounding buildings. Since textures and materials drive the inspiration behind a lot of my work, the contrast here appeals.” “The Hudson riverside is such a beautiful place to run. I always head downtown for the views!” “After my run, I usually pause to stretch and catch my breath at the end of this pier. The Hudson River Park extends straight into the water, and the river can look pretty stunning in the right light.”   “On my way home, as I look up and down 7th Avenue, I’m reminded of what a beautiful and vibrant city this is. I love that NYC never ceases to amaze me.” Come back tomorrow to see what Jacqueline made from her West Village home! And get our on email list for first dibs.  Photos courtesy of Adrian Barry.
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Screen-Printing at Home With Jacqueline Rousseau

Jacqueline Rousseau gives new meaning to Manhattan’s ubiquitous studio apartment. Not only does a single-room West Village oasis serve as her home, but it’s also HQ for her namesake label. “It’s like a little factory,” she laughs. “I produce everything by hand.” Which means that Rousseau’s teensy apartment currently houses three sewing machines, her line’s complete archives (half-baked sketches and all), endless bolsters of fabric, and the screen-printing table she built herself—the space’s star. Here, she shows us how she gets busy with her printing…without bumping into her bed. —mattie kahn Like what you see? Well, then now’s your shot to score the screen-printed chambray tie Jacqueline made just for Of a Kind. “Welcome to my humble abode. It’s kind of the ultimate studio. When I first moved to New York, I did all my screen-printing at the Textile Arts Center, first in Brooklyn and then in the West Village. But eventually I realized that I could skip out on paying for studio time if I learned to do it myself. The director of the center’s Brooklyn branch taught me how to construct my very own printing table—in the privacy of my own home—and a friend of mine, who’s a graphic designer, showed me how to actually print on fabric. I had this Ikea desk just lying around, waiting to be transformed anyway. I covered it with a heavy padding and then lighter-weight muslin, stapled the material down, and made sure its surface was as level as possible. After a few tweaks, it actually worked perfectly.” “I decide which fabrics and colors to use depending on what I’m making. If I’m making a garment, like a dress, I usually use a stretch fabric—say a denim or jersey. For my Of a Kind edition, I found this gorgeous chambray from France that came in a few colors, so I got a bunch of swatches and experimented with different ink colors. The paint I use for all of my stuff is called AquaBright Textile Inks, and I get a ton of my supplies from Standard Screen Supply in Soho on Varick Street. The guy who works there has been doing this for forever, and when I was just starting out, he was pretty nice about telling me that I was doing it all wrong.” “After I’ve set up my table, I carefully lay out my fabric and center the screen. Then I scoop out a good amount of ink and pool it at the very top of the frame. For the most part, I don’t worry about using too much ink. Especially when I’m working with a new fabric or screen, I tend to err on the side of excess, because the screen will catch whatever ink is leftover. It’s much worse to run out of ink mid-screen, because if you do, you won’t be able to get an even, vibrant print. “Then the fun part! The process is pretty quick, and you can’t waste too much time or the ink will dry in the screen. Basically, once I have the screen centered over the fabric and I’ve added my ink, I pull a squeegee down the panel with both hands at a slight angle. The goal is to keep a smooth motion. Once I reach the bottom, I quickly change my grip to pull the squeegee in the opposite direction and back up to the top of the screen so that it doesn’t dry out between ink runs.” “Voila! Blue-on-blue stud screen-print. Once the actual printing is over, I lay the still-wet fabric out on the floor to dry. Then I’ll heat-set the fabric in the dryer or with an iron, and, finally, I’ll put it through another full wash-and-dry cycle to make sure that the ink is really secure and no surprises show up later.” “I screen print fabric for ties, clothing, and handbags. And of course, the particulars of the process depend on what I’m screen-printing, but the basic idea is the same. As for the blue fabric that you just saw me print? It’ll be made into a dress like the red screen-printed one that you can see at the front of the rail.”
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