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Charlotte Hess


Saturday, March 24

Label: isobel and cleo
Experience: Earned her BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and MFA at the Glasgow School of Art; worked for Free People, Karen Walker, NOM*D, Salaam, and Blake Standard
Awards: CFW 2011 Emerging Designer: East and Scottish Arts Council Professional Development Grant recipient
Sold at: Worthwhile in Charleston, as well as boutiques in Nantucket, MA; Palm Beach, FL; Burlington, VT; and Glasgow, Scotland
Facebook: isobel and cleo
Twitter: Isobel and Cleo

From her “small and messy” Nantucket Island-studio, isobel and cleo designer Charlotte Hess creates artistically innovative knit garments and accessories with worldly appeal. After winning CFW’s 2011 Emerging Designer Competition: East with a wild Native American-inspired show that included a mohair catsuit, a keyhole fringe cardigan, and high-waist wool pants, this textile tech wove her way into the high-end fashion industry with recognition from VENT and Sophisticated Living magazines, the ELLE blog, New York Social Diary, and more. With her organic process and playful humor, Hess fashions stunning boho pieces that are made to last. Her aim? To preserve the personal quality of hand-knit clothes in the face of today’s “disposable culture.” And while her medium may be traditional, her ready-to-wear designs—crafted from angora, lamb’s wool, leather, plastic bags, and “whatever I can turn into a yarn”—are anything but conventional.

Meet Charlotte:
Most people don’t know that I love old cars and am obsessed with my 1974 cherry red (soon to be seafoam green) Ford Bronco. Her name is “Big Momma Bronco,” and she is a total beast.

My inspiration wall is filled with business cards, magazine clippings, and fabric swatches that I can never find when I need them because I forget they are there!

When I work, I listen to the same music I would if I had time to work out—upbeat, fast, and
. If I’m pensive, it’s Death Cab for Cutie, Radiohead, and bands like that; if I’m frustrated, I turn on classical, at which point everyone knows to leave me alone.

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