JJ Martin radiates spunk. The Californian turned Milanese has called Italy home for 20 years, and while her formative years in Europe’s boot saw her scribbling as a fashion and design journalist, the latter half was a career pivot to found La DoubleJ. The creative outlet that began as a shoppable magazine of vintage wares in 2015 has evolved into a full-fledged lifestyle brand of heart-lifting fashion, homewares, and vintage prints.
Martin is a vibrant character on Milan’s creative scene. When Italy went into its first lockdown last March, she took her mantra of “raise your vibration” energy to social media for a Milan on Lockdown series. “I needed the outlet to emotionally discharge,” says the whimsical American in love with Italy. Watching her videos on Instagram was an emotional recharge; if you were down, she cheered you up. Feeling lazy? She made you want to do something. Your pandemic-fatigued spirit was boosted. She was, and continues to be, a carrier of positivity.
Eclecticism and fluidity are the DNA of La DoubleJ, whose core business has always been dresses—colourful, bolder-than-bold prints—with names like Long and Sassy, Visconti, Maxi Shirt, and Jennifer Jane (Martin’s proper name). The American expat has expanded beyond ready-to-wear to homeware: a collection of table linens, napkins, decorative plates, glassware, and vases so pleasing on the eye that you will find yourself setting your tablescape as an art piece.
A showroom visit to La DoubleJ in Milan for the spring/summer 2021 collection this past September was an entertaining affair. The locale in Piazza Arcole is always a hive of chatter and activity. “We’ve expanded our category offering to a sun-soaked swimwear and beachwear line,” Martin announced, wearing one of her vibrant swing dresses. The beach collection comprises swimwear, towels, bags, and pareos, all in signature La DoubleJ retro-style prints. “It’s all about mixing and matching,” Martin says, holding up various bikini tops from one-shouldered to triangle, bandeau, and ruffled, which partner with skimpy briefs or 1950s-style knickers, Bermuda shorts, and miniskirts. There are plenty of cover-ups and flouncy dresses too.
La DoubleJ is a mood-boosting universe of bold Italian design and, in many ways, an extension of Martin herself. A serial collaborator, she has worked on projects with Goop, Acqua di Parma, Kartell, and Valextra to name just a few. This creative venture of La DoubleJ is “to bring joy and people together and uplift,” Martin affirms—a state of mind.