Kansas-native Jenny Gordy grew up peddling her handmade wares in the school cafeteria during lunch hour. "At 15 I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer," she says. "My plans got sidetracked for a bit, but I ultimately came back to it."
Named for her grandmother, Ruth Wiksten—who taught her how to sew her first stitches—Gordy launched Wiksten in Williamsburg, Brooklyn six years ago with intent to "honor the tradition of passing handicraft from generation to generation, as well as the Swedish heritage of the name 'Wiksten.'"
Her Swedish heritage and her grandmother's inimitable style are important sources of inspiration for Gordy. "I'm very much influenced by a certain minimal Swedish design aesthetic," she explains. "As well as my grandmother's style—she always had such a simple, non-fussy elegance that I try to emulate in my designs."
Using natural materials like cotton, linen and silk, Gordy focuses on creating "edited basics" that are both comfortable and functional. "My ideal shapes are perfectly simple without excess frills," she says. "Every design element has a function. After sketching, I make each pattern myself and sew samples, testing and tweaking until I have what I want."
Gordy expanded her line to include ten clean, simple styles for spring—more than she's ever done before. Plans to develop the line over the summer include a range of funky home sewing patterns, for which she'll collaborate with fellow Brooklyn designers. "I'd love to sell fabric and home goods in the future," she says. A mini-lifestyle brand in the making? Watch out—Jenny Gordy might turn out to be Brooklyn's hip Martha Stewart.