24 August 2023

Meet the founders of With Jéan – the ‘it’ girl brand championing sporty, femme staples

HUNGER sits down with founders Sami Lorking-Tanner and Evangeline Titilas to discuss their conscious style-led label.

Ever wondered where all the ‘it’ girls get their staples? Look no further than With Jéan, who are curating the perfect pieces for your new conscious wardrobe. Though Sami Lorking-Tanner and Evangeline Titlias only founded their Australian brand in 2017, the pieces almost immediately cultivated a large following around the world thanks to their sporty femme fusion aesthetic. Hitting our feeds with the likes of the viral Andy dress and Cindy corsets, the two best friends found inspiration from their holiday to Europe and wanted to bring the cool-girl summer vibes all year round. Soon, it became a model favourite, boasting Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk, and Lily Rose-Depp as just a few fans of the brand.

Sami and Evangeline initially built the brand on their own consumer habits, in a conscious bid to make a difference to the way we shop. They implemented this by making the sourcing process ethical each step of the way, recruiting artisan sewers and creators, and not mass-producing for profit. The girls decided to go forward with their brand when they noticed a gap in the market to match tops with their vintage jeans – making it the go-to for those ‘nice top and jeans’ nights.

Six years in, the girls have brought their brand from the living room to cult status. Now, the label is bringing forth an eco-friendly swimwear line just in time for your summer holiday, featuring much-loved prints from the likes of their ‘Louloudi’ collection. Here, we sit down with Sami and Evangeline to talk about all things staples, sustainability, and their brand new swimwear collection…

How did the initial idea of your brand take off? And how do you think your Australian heritage nurtured that? 

With Jéan was brought to life in our family’s living rooms. Committed to the idea, we would meet up 2-3 times a week while we were still working full-time jobs. It wasn’t so much our heritage that nurtured the brand, as we were only 23 with a lot of ambitions and had so much drive to create something together and to do more than just working the 9-5. 

You have had the likes of Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk, and Lily-Rose Depp wear your brand. How did it feel knowing that With Jéan reached ‘it’ girl status, and was this something that you had always set out to achieve?

Over time developing the brand, it was, of course, something we had always dreamt of. In the beginning, it was hard to imagine anyone wearing our clothes let alone the likes of these girls. We still walk around the city and see girls wearing With Jéan and pinch each other. The big and little moments still don’t feel real and it’s a feeling we never tire of. 

Why is it important to you to keep transparent in your ethical process, and how do you implement these strategies?

We have always cared about the environment and understand how the fast fashion world works and the harm it can create. Implementing the smallest of processes can make a big difference and we’re constantly devising new strategies to maintain an ethical and sustainable brand. We just released a new swim collection from REPREVE yarn, which is high-quality fibers made from 100% recycled materials. This was a big moment for us and we will continue to make conscious efforts to put sustainability first.

Was there one moment you felt like ‘I’ve made it’, and if so, could you describe this?

I wouldn’t say “I’ve made it” are words we have ever used, but we do find ourselves in moments all the time where we look at each other and say “I can’t believe this is happening” or “Can you believe we created this”’. We just recently opened our first-ever pop up store in New York, which felt really special. We have those moments all the time, even at the start of it we were able to travel and shoot in places we never maybe would have had the opportunity to visit. 

How do you approach designing a new collection?

We always start a new collection by pulling inspiration, mostly from vintage pieces, and compiling them together. We always stay true to designing the pieces we want to see in our wardrobes and then it’s a long process from there… 

The bikini is such a staple in Australian culture – how did you go about re-interpreting swimwear / breathing a new lease of life into it?

Swimwear was a category we introduced a few years into the brand. We saw an opportunity to use our much-loved prints and put them on a bikini and create more intricate designs we hadn’t seen in Australia before. There is so much fun to be had with swimwear and it did really need a new lease of life.

If you could make one ideal outfit from your new collection, what would this look like, how would it be styled, and who would wear it?

We had some fun splitting up and styling some of our sets on our campaign shoot with different pieces, like the Dakota Mini Skirt with the Aubrey Long Sleeve. We also love the Mercer dress over some pants! Anyone can wear any of it. We hope everyone styles it how they want and feels good in it. 

  • Writer Ella Chadwick

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