HOMETOWN HEROES: DESIGNER SIMON ST. JAMES LECOMTE OF NEWMADE LA
We’re back with a new batch of local creatives we love—aka, the second class of our Hometown Heroes Collective (!). Let’s kick things off with Simon St. James LeComte, the founder and designer behind housewares brand NewMade LA. We stopped by the studio to learn about his design inspiration, day-to-day agenda, advice for future creators and more.
First things first—tell us how NewMade LA began.
The idea of creating a product line came about two years ago after seeing how the rise of mid-century modern furniture was driving prices higher than most people can afford. We realized there was a huge gap in the marketplace and a big opportunity to provide people with great design at a reasonable price. We believe that mid-century modern designs should be accessible to everyone. NewMade LA is our attempt to offer that.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes largely from the design aesthetic of the mid-century era, particularly Dutch design. Our parent company (quite literally, because it’s owned by my mother), Amsterdam Modern, is one of the largest importers of mid-century modern furniture from the Netherlands. I pull inspiration from these incredibly rare pieces. I also grew up in a home in LA designed by Edward Fickett. So I’ve been exposed to this style and era of design, from architecture to products, since I was a kid and I’ve always been attracted to its simplicity, beauty and function.
And what about when the inspo runs out—do you do anything to recharge creatively?
I always hope that the inspo never runs out, but if it does, I try to detach for a bit—whether it’s traveling or taking a step back from the studio. Sometimes working on something for too long makes you numb to new ideas. Other times, I turn to subjects like architecture, art, nature or fashion. The world is filled with endless inspiration—it just might take looking at things in a different perspective to find it.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Coffee always comes first. Then I’ll answer emails before I go into the studio. Starting that way helps me get into a creative space. It’s thanks to my awesome team that I’m able to create; they ensure that the ship stays afloat while I do what I do.
Do you have any advice for others looking to make it in a creative field?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself and your work out into the world. Be original and be true to your craft and values.
Thanks, Simon. Meet more of our Hometown Heroes and shop their goods right here.