After graduating with a fashion degree from Baylor University, Alabama native Jodi Arnold packed up her sketchbook and took off for Brooklyn. The neighborhood stuck — the designer has lived in Prospect Heights for fifteen years, culling inspiration from exhibits at the nearby Brooklyn Museum. Though she launched the Mint by Jodi Arnold label almost a decade ago, she just unveiled her first stand-alone store this fall (56 University Pl., at 10th St.; 347-270-8610). The West Village shop is a combination retail store and community space — Arnold can often be found manning the register on weekends, and she hosts regular art and photography exhibits and mixers. (It was originally conceived as a 56-day pop-up shop through Christmas Eve, but she’s in talks to sign a long-term lease.) This March, Arnold introduces her first collaborative line with the Limited. We chatted with the designer about Japanese architecture and finding design inspiration in Michael Jackson and Biggie Smalls.
What was your vision for the Limited collaboration?
My real challenge was how to put a beautiful embellishment on a garment at this price point (shirts are $58 to $68 and dresses hover around $120). I didn’t want it to look like watered-down versions of what we do in the Jodi Arnold collection.
What’s the inspiration behind your label?
I have this sort of effortlessly cool girl in my head. The holiday collection is all about spontaneity: The prints are unconstructed and asymmetric, and some of the embroidery looks like paint falling down a canvas. The spring collection is a mash-up: high and low, stripes and plaids, boy and girl — I was listening to the Michael Jackson and Biggie Smalls mix in the studio.
A look from the 2009 holiday collection.Photo courtesy of Jodi Arnold.