Jessie Western is the smart girls choice when it comes to Western style. With it’s ethical sourcing and manufacturing Jessie Western has garnered applause from its celebrity fans including Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner, Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson. In the heart of Notting Hill, this tiny, quirky store has a tapestry rich backstory behind its custom cowboy boots, leather jackets and Navajo jewellery…..
Sisters Jessie and Vicky are the driving force behind Jessie Western, for over 25 years they’ve visited the Arizona reservations, supporting Native American artists by cutting out the middle man and working with them directly. The brand has built up a reputation for sourcing and setting rare and unusual stones in their Navajo jewellery and their passion lies in creating beautiful one off pieces like nothing else available in the UK.
Every piece of jewellery that Jessie Western puts its name to is hand-crafted in sterling silver and real Native American turquoise, not the reconstituted stuff you often find in many high street jewellery retailers. The brand celebrates the real craftsmanship of the Native American artists they actively support and if you visit the store, Vicky is often there telling the backstory of the brand; she can tell you where every single piece in the store has come from and the story behind it.
“The Zuni people hand carve the spirit animals, “Fetishes”. The Eagle, for example is to seek a higher perspective, widen their vision… We feel very blessed to have watched so many Ceremonial Dances over the years: it’s a rich culture, and one we love. We want to share that passion, their vision and art.”
The boutique in Notting Hill has to be seen to be believed, it’s a teeny, tiny treasure trove but don’t let it’s diminutive size fool you. Jessie Western is packed to the rafters with awesome, real Western pieces including bespoke handmade, embroidered cowboy boots, cowboy hats, jackets, blanket coats, suede skirts, ponchos and handmade moccasins. Located in the centre of Portobello Market, it’s a must see if you’re in the capital and trust me Voyeurs, you can lose hours exploring this store.
Through my visits to Jessie Western, I’ve built up a friendship with Jessie and Vicky and I always make time to visit when I’m in town. I love hearing their stories about visits to the reservation and the passion for their collaborations comes across in conversation as they unpack boxes to show me new pieces and tell me about the artists responsible for them.
Much of the sisters’ youth was spent on a Seminole reservation, they’ve lived and travelled extensively in the American Southwest. Jessie studied at St Martins College before being signed as a singer/songwriter to Chrysalis in LA, whilst she’s enjoyed fame and success in the public arena, Jessie has always had an active interest in jewellery design and the Western way of dressing. Her fine jewellery collection is influenced by her love for rare stones and animals, every piece she designs is meticulously hand drawn and set with diamonds, tsavorites, sapphires or uncut aquamarines – hence the hefty pricetag.
Vicky on the other hand, is an established geometric landscape artist and studied at the prestigious Chelsea Art College.
“We’ve been going to the reservations in Arizona for over 28 years now and support over 4000 Native American Artists directly, it’s exciting to see the work of the artists, it’s always changing and evolving. The Native American Artists we work with believe wearing Turquoise protects them on their journey in life. The silver is often punched with animal details and symbols, they all have special meanings many which have been passed down from generation to generation.”
Vicky tells me that Jessie Western clients are loyal, they enjoy coming to the store to find that ‘special piece’. It’s easy to see why their customers keep coming back, with new pieces arriving all the time, the store looks different every time I visit and the sisters relish in showing off their latest arrivals and how to dress them. Last time I visited I bought a leather and silver bolo tie and a pair of boot harnesses for my cowboy boots after a personal recommendation from Jessie and every time I wear them I get loads of compliments.
If you’re looking for a way to emulate true Western style, not just as a passing trend but with real, long lasting, quality pieces, then Jessie Western should be on your radar.