Tart is the Gilt go-to brand for luscious jersey pieces: from the comfiest maxidress to the sexiest going-out dress, husband-and-wife team Jamie and Dana Finegold have us covered for every occasion. Since we’re all such huge fans, we were thrilled that we got the chance to chat with Jamie about what makes him tick as a designer and an entrepreneur – and what we can look forward to next from the brand!
Q: How did you get started in the design business?
I had a clothing line I was designing in college. A sorority friend asked me if I could make 120 sailor dresses for her Delta Gamma sorority. The salesman in me said yes before I had thought it through. It was incredibly hard to pull this off from my dorm room in Santa Barbara, but I made it happen. I got a Ph.D in apparel in 4 months. Not a very profitable venture, but it started my career.
Q:How did Tart come to be? Why do you think the brand has resonated so well with women?
I was always critical of the wardrobe my girlfriend was wearing, her mom would show up with a box of Ann taylor and I would say, “You’re not wearing that”. I sort of took over as her personal stylist. I had always loved clothes for myself and was always spotting or developing my own trends. I guess I developed my own aesthetic of what I thought my girl should look like. After marrying her it was a continuation of what I had done with her all through college. It’s funny today to have myself and 2 oldest daughters still dressing Dana for any event we might go to. The brand is just cut right, the silhouette are all so flattering, the clothes make you feel great when you put them on. I have women come up to me all the time to tell me that have a five-year-old Tart dress that they cannot get rid of because it’s still their favorite piece in the wardrobe. If you want to go out and get stopped on the street, start dress is a sure way to make this happen.Women have gravitated to the line because it’s easy. Whatever you put on is effortless!
Q: Who do you see as your customer? Have you been surprised or extra excited to see anyone in your designs?
Our girl is definitely not any particular age. She cares about staying in good mental and physical shape. She prefers Whole Foods to 7-Eleven. Would rather ride her beach cruiser to the beach and loves to travel whenever possible. She also drives her kids to soccer practice and doesn’t have time to think about a complicated wardrobe. Toddlers are her main focus these days. I think our it girl currently would be Alessandra Ambrosio.
Q:What’s the secret to balancing work and relationship with the same person?
It can be a challenge, these days I ask the question, “Can we talk about work” if I get a smile that means its ok, a frown means back off. Our strengths are complete opposite so there isn’t a lot of stepping on each other’s toes. I respect her skill set and vice versa, our mutual appreciation for each other’s talents keeps things fresh.
Q: We all love the iconic Infinity dress, but what do you think your next must-have piece is?
We are seeing a big trend back towards our jumpers again. They are so versatile, it very cliche to say this but it’s true that you can dress them up or down. Great for looking casual but together at the pool and then super sext and glam at night. Everyone that puts them on oozes over the fabric . It’s so luxurious you feel like you are royalty.
Q: What’s the one item every woman should have in her closet?
Maxi dress! Every year someone predicts the end to the maxi. It’s constantly our best selling body. New prints keep them fresh and updated. They can always be accessories to fit your event and they are always sexy.
Q:What’s your favorite trend for Summer?
I grew up in the ’80s so I Have an affection for brights and neons. When I was at UCSB, Mossimo was just blowing up with bright neon beach gear. I was dripping in neon…good times.