Kristen Doute has not only turned over a new leaf on Vanderpump Rules — she’s also expanding her career. The reality TV star is now a fashion designer. Doute launched her new line, James Mae, along with her partner in the collection Magen Mattox, feting the new project at Estrella in West Hollywood with friends friends and fellow cast members of the reality TV show including Stassi Schroeder and Tom Schwartz.
Stylish sat down with Doute and Mattox to get the scoop on the collection, from what inspired the designs to who inspired the name — and the friends that were the inspo for specific pieces (or weren’t) too. Check out the Interview with Doute and Mattox below.
Stylish: Let’s talk about your clothing line, the name James Mae … I can so see fans associating that with James Kennedy. So what’s the real inspiration behind the name?
Kristen Doute: He wishes! Ugh. Doesn’t he wish? It’s named after my niece and nephew, the two most important people in my lives.
Stylish: Oh that’s adorable. There we go.
KD: And I thought it had a certain beautiful ring to it, and it’s pretty gender neutral which was what I wanted for the line once we redeveloped the line. I didn’t want it to sound too feminine or too masculine. Well, it’s obviously more of a female-driven line, but we offer men’s tees.
Stylish: So tell Us all about the line, the inspiration behind it, everything we need to know.
Magen Mattox: We first met a few months ago. She really loved my line, which is called Girl Dangerous, and that’s how we met.
KD: Yes. I reached out to Magen asking for help with creative direction, but mostly the back-end of everything — the printing, the shipping — because they’re in local downtown Los Angeles and I loved the cut and feel of their tees, and I wanted to source through them. But then looking at Girl Dangerous because I own many of their tees, I think that we have the same vibe, like ‘70s, rocker chic, classic rock, boho. We just very much have the same vibe, so we had a meeting and fell in love.
MM: Yeah! It all went really seamlessly. Kristen really knew what she wanted when it came to, like, her aesthetic and what her vibe was. We wanted to incorporate the show and then her Vegaholic line (one of the categories of shirts on the site), so we were like, OK, let’s have three different collections on this site that encompass everything that she was doing before we came together. And yeah, it came together easily.
KD: It happened really quickly. Yeah, it’s just like sharing a Pinterest board and sharing a brain for a hot minute.
MM: And we both have the same love for, like, the Stevie Nicks, Rolling Stones, Tom Pettys … We’re very much on the same page on that, so James Mae collection came really easily to both of us.
KD: It really embodies all of the vintage band tees that I love and I seek out and I’m constantly pulling for, that I’m looking for in vintage stores or department stores in general I guess. But I wanted to create T-shirts that I want to wear.
Stylish: So what’s the price point and where can people shop the collection?
KD: Right now it’s just online only, it’s james-mae.com. In the future — we just launched — with Magen’s experience and my passion, I know that we’re gonna be able to branch out.
MM: It’s in the $30 to $45 range.
KD: I want it to be affordable for everyone. Everyone all over the states, all over the world. Dress it up, dress it down. I want this to be your go-to, like you wear it everyday. ‘Cause I wear it everyday.
Stylish: Like you’re making it work with a vacation-type skirt now. It really goes with anything.
KD: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. I also love the Reality Bites collection part of the line, I think it’s really fun cause not everyone’s a Vanderpump Rules fan. I hope that are going to buy this line. I wanted to be fashion lifestyle brand in general. But for people who do watch Vanderpump Rules, we have this small little collection of Reality Bites where it is very specific to the people who know who we are. Like our ‘Vagina Mafia’ shirt or ‘Hey, Can I Talk to You for a Sec?’ I really included all of the cast members that I love — all of my friends. So if there’s people missing, you’ll know. It’s not by accident.
Stylish: Any designers inspire you along the way, or was it just more about the ‘70s feel?
KD: It was really just I think between my creative brain and Magen’s creative brain and Carter, my boyfriend, as the photographer. It’s the way that he really sees everything aesthetically.
Stylish: And were there any pieces that Carter absolutely vetoed or he thought were so hot?
KD: There was nothing that he absolutely vetoed. I will say, I do give Tom Schwartz a lot of credit for the Vagina Mafia shirt, because he came up with that saying when he named us the Witches of WeHo, Stassi and I, and then he named us the Vagina Mafia. So it was very much… Magen and I knew that it had to be this Miami Vice, ‘80s sort of vibe. Like, the Vagina Mafia. But I did get Schwartz’s approval on the final product when it came down to the color choices.
MM: And I will say that I had a friend reach out today that doesn’t watch the show and was like, “F*ck yes to the Vagina Mafia shirt! Women’s empowerment.I need to be wearing that everyday. Is it weird that I don’t watch the show and I don’t know the reference? But, like, I am such a feminist and need to be wearing this everyday.” And I’m like, “No, that’s the point. It’s not just for the fans!”
KD: And I love that all the guys in our lives love that shirt.
Stylish: But for you, Kristen, are there any go-to date night outfits from the line that you love or that Carter thinks are so sexy on you?
KD: The day that I met Carter, and to this day… Ok, so obviously he likes slutty bandage dresses that I would never, ever wear.
MM: As does every L.A. man!
KD: But his favorite thing in the entire world is when I’m in a T-shirt and Converse. So any way that I wear a T-shirt, high-waisted jeans, a skirt, a pair of cute short, heels, flats, sneakers — doesn’t matter — or a kimono and a jacket. T-shirt and Converse are his favorite thing in the entire world.
Stylish: So relatable. And with Brittany and Jax’s wedding coming up, would you be open to designing her dress or bridesmaid dresses? Or is that too out of your range?
KD: No. I’m there for creative direction. Actually, not with Brittany’s wedding dress. Brittany has known about her wedding dress — exactly what she wants since she was about 5-years-old. She knew the ring, Jax got it. She’ll know the dress. But as far as bridesmaid dresses, we share a Pinterest board and I am giving direction on it. She had two very specific ideas, and I am pushing her in one direction that I think will be perfect. So we’ll see if she takes my direction
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