Travel has always held special meaning for Desmond & Dempsey’s Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffery. The entrepreneurs, who grew up in Australia and England, respectively, met in 2011 while they were both visiting Whistler, Canada, and they fell into a long-distance relationship once they returned to their separate homes. Two years of Sunday-morning Skype calls and international meet-ups laid the foundation for their luxury-sleepwear line, which launched in Fall 2014 and still channels their mutual passion for exploring the world in its hand-painted designs.
For their most recent collection, Goddard and Jeffery turned to Mexico City and Oaxaca for inspiration. "We choose Mexico City because we had fallen in love with the work of Luis Barragan and wanted to see his home and studio in real life,” explains Goddard. “Oaxaca, we choose because in our research we saw that a lot of traditional Mexican textiles came from the region.”
Before any research trip, Goddard connects with a handful of creative locals and asks to meet for a coffee or cocktail. Not only does the habit give her the inside scoop on where to go for inspiration, it gives both her and Jeffery the opportunity to connect with the culture on a deeper level. “In Mexico, everyone was so proud of their city and gave us their best tips,” she says, "but more than that, we found ourselves invited along as part of their weekend plans. Everyone we met was so generous with their time. It was really quite extraordinary."
Over the course of their five-day trip, Goddard felt particularly drawn to the country’s exuberant energy and rhythms, noting in particular "how the communities took time to enjoy life, to take pleasure in the food, the music, the colors and culture of their city.” Once they returned, the real challenge was whittling down the various sources of inspiration and turning them into prints. The result? Ernesto & Brown, Desmond & Dempsey’s biggest collection to date.
Among Goddard’s favorite patterns are La Loteria, which incorporates characters featured in the national game; The Milou, named after a cafe that she and Jeffery discovered through one of their new local friends; and The Zocalo, which taps into traditional Otomi textiles.
“Zocalo tells our story of walking around Oaxaca on a Tuesday afternoon and watching hundreds of people dancing to live music in the square,” Goddard says. "There are many different elements from Mexico that found their way into our collection, but what ties them all together is the real joy and color of the country."