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Jen's Pirate Booty is known for its gauzy, twirl-worthy pieces that are just as beach-ready as they are globetrotter-friendly, so it comes as no surprise that the LA label's founder is the epitome of its bohemian-cool vibes. Born and raised in Malibu, Jen Rossi attended UC Santa Cruz and "took a little bit of everything—criminology, sociology, biology, poetry—but nothing ever grabbed me." She left the coastal college after about two years, moved to San Diego, and returned to the 'bu at 21.
Her fashion career began the day she came home after a stop at the then-just-opened Planet Blue at Malibu Country Mart. She was hired on the spot and spent 14 years working with owner Ling-Su Chinn as a buyer and designer for the retailer's in-house line, Blue Life. About nine years ago, Rossi took a vacay in Mexico and returned with a stylish souvenir that started it all: a breezy tunic that caught the attention of Planet Blue shoppers.
After several rogue dress-buying trips over the border, Rossi decided it was time to get legit and work directly with fabric factories in Mexico. Today, she produces five collections a year and her brand is stocked at over 500 shops worldwide. For her spring collection, Rossi commissioned exclusive lace inspired by hand-drawn designs. (Hello, Coachella?)
In addition, the cool mother of two is currently working with non-profits and hopes to donate a portion of sales to the international talents who help create her brand. We sat down with Rossi at SunLife Organics in Malibu to chat about her last great getaway, her spirit animal, spooky sightings, and much more.
What are you drinking today?
SunLife Organics's Elixir of Life.
Who are your top three favorite style bloggers right now?
Mimi Elashiry; she's from Australia and she's so rad. Rocky Barnes always looks incredible in my stuff; if she's wearing something, I will sell out. There's this woman, Anna Mavridis—she puts my stuff together so beautifully [and] she's a mom like me. She has that European French style; it's just so cool to see it styled in that way. There are so many beauties.
What's your spirit animal?
I would say a cougar; they're just fast and free, and they just have this wild, free spirit. And they're sexy. Or maybe a bird, either one!
Last great vacation?
Great vacation, I would say it'd be Thailand; absolutely incredible. But the last vacation I took was Mexico, down to the tiny little workshops, and Tulum, and it was really awesome. But I think Thailand just captured my soul. The people there were so amazing, the food was incredible, the beaches were pristine and gorgeous. You just leave there with this vibe.
Do you prefer fruity or floral scents?
What's your favorite place for guilty food pleasures?
A place that I absolutely love for the vibe is Old Place; It's this old rustic hippie restaurant that's been [on Mulholland Drive] since the '60s. Every musician has played there: Bob Dylan, Van Morrison. The food is definitely good; they have an amazing seafood chowder.
Hiking or swimming?
I prefer the beach, but I'm not a big swimmer. So I prefer to be hiking!
Little Dume, it's a private beach off Point Dume. It's just a little escape, you go down there and it just feels like the '70s again.
If you could have a chat with three people dead or alive, who would they be?
Marilyn Monroe has always been somebody that's intrigued me; she would be one. I mean Einstein, obviously; he'd probably make my head spin though. But he'd be very interesting. And maybe a plane crash victim; I always wonder what you're thinking at that last minute.
Silver or gold?
Both! But if I had to choose, gold.
Rhubarb pie. It's sweet and sour at the same time.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
My dad passed away when I was 16 from brain cancer. [One day] I was in Downtown LA driving and [I saw] a man walking with his head down. And then he just looked up at me, and he was my dad. I pulled over in my car and the guy was not there; there was nobody on the sidewalk. Another time, when I was 19, I had an old VW bug and in the back little triangle window, [I saw] my dad's face in the [reflection]. It was exciting, but sad.
What are your top two power colors?
Army green and white.