The Sensibility of JED

JED is a reinvigorated luxury brand, offering a range of categories and price points, juxtaposing products from the rare to the rustic.

JED was founded by partners Jed Krascella and Ashley Leeds, out of a desire to present an alternative, younger, unprejudiced point of view about the classic luxury category, infusing it with a sense of joy, a love of faraway places and cultures, and a personal graphic sensibility. Krascella began his career as a designer at Perry Ellis, where he worked there for 11 years. After a stint in set design, Krascella was ready to return to knitwear.

JED offers a broad range of product categories across multiple price tiers, firmly believing that luxury today exists on many levels – products and experiences from the humble to the divine, from the rare to rustic. While sweatersmithing is the core of the brand, haberdasher shirtings have been added as a compliment to our sweaters, as well as ranges of printed and knitted accessories, jewelry, and home.

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Name :
Formally it’s John Theodore Krascella, But everyone calls me Jed, a nickname my father gave me when he was in grad school.

Birthplace : 
Born in upstate New York, raised in Connecticut, art school in NYC.

Métier :
I guess I’m what you might call an “orchestrator”! Ha!! …….But by trade I am a designer of many things, a merchant, a businessman, a tinkerer. And I draw. I paint. I write.
But deep down inside, there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’m really just a comedian.

Sources of inspiration :
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING… never know what may strike you. It just happens. I don’t examine it too much. After years of this, I just “set the stage” and wait for something to manifest itself. And the more you do, the quicker it happens. Usually lightning hits about two dozen times a day. I am inspired by my daydreaming, imagining, solitude…….by something that just catches my eye and starts a thought-chain-reaction…………from our huge library, the internet, endless travel, the street, colour juxtapositions, artists I admire, our collection of paintings, a conversation, nature, the sea, MUSIC, museums and exhibitions, pottery and ceramics, theater, opera, dance, film, science, folk art, handcrafts, fabrics new and ancient, interiors, memories………products everywhere and anywhere. Great shops. An untrained eye always inspires me as to how they see and interpret. Chance inspires me. History! History! History!………Laughter seriously inspires. One great chuckle can unleash a slew of ideas for me.
PS – I hate it when I get a great idea in the middle of night – from insomnia or a dream…… have to get up and write it down or kiss it goodbye. Then if it’s really a good idea you can never get back to sleep because it’s all so exciting.

Sources of motivation : 
Honestly I’ve never thought of this much before……..I guess I have a burning need to make things, to send a little beauty out into the world in hopes of making it a better place, of making people happy. I feel the weight of providing for others. I want to see and experience as much as I can. I want to have a good time. I think I always feel the need for approval, to meet others expectations. I recognize the gift my ancestors gave me by travelling from Italy and Russia in order to open up worlds for their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. If they could endure such hardships and prejudice – surely I should just shut up and get on with it all. My life has been a walk in the park compared to so many others. Gratitude motivates me.

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What makes you happy :
I’m generally a happy person. Thank God. I don’t know why but I wake up in a good mood every morning. So much makes me incredibly happy…..among the many:  Being with my wonderful partner of over 20 years, Kamyar Atabai – anything and everything I do with him is a joyous experience – from travelling the world to mopping the floors. Spending time with our cherished friends and families. Sharing great conversations, hysterical laughter, glorious food. Traveling, exploring, discovering. Taking a great nap. Observing the change in the seasons. Staring out at the sea. Singing at full voice. Making things. Playing with colour. Snuggling up with a good book. Cuddling dogs. Collaborating with brilliant craftsmen. Re-connecting with people. Getting lost in performances. Discovering an artist’s work I’ve never seen or heard of before. Planning a new project. Forward movement. Accomplishment. Naivete. Christmas. Twilight. Memories of my parents, grandparents, great aunts and cousins. Enjoying good health……And antiquing – shops, flea markets, shows……..I could go night and day without a break. And believe me – I have.

Favorite reads :
Oh, books are perfect companions. We have a bit of an issue in our house as neither one of us can throw out a book. Now, I did once – but I’m still regretting it. I cannot imagine a home without lots of books everywhere. My favorite types of rooms are libraries – and studios. I just feel at home in them. Favourites would be everything by Muriel Spark, Barbara Vine, Anna Del Conte, Patricia Highsmith, Anton Chekhov, Jeffrey Eugenides, Lewis Carroll, Samuel Beckett, Elena Ferrante, Alan Bennett, Orhan Pamuk, Jane Grigson, Graham Greene……..Shakespeare’s sonnets. I have a huge library of art and design books that I transferred from home to my studio so the entire team can utilize them. I love Cornucopia magazine, The World of Interiors, The Cut, Milk Street, Vogue, The Guardian…….The New York Times seriously tops my list of favourite reads.

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Favorite tunes :
Music is outrageous…..the most transporting experiences happen when u listen to music you love. We have an astonishingly large collection of music at home – much of it recordings you will never again see. I have always favoured classical music. I was raised on it, quizzed on it in school, trained to sing it from an early age. I took to it like a duck to water! I have so many favourites: the quartet from Verdi’s RIGOLETTO, the sextet from Donizetti’s LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR……Prokofiev’s ROMEO AND JULIET and PETER AND THE WOLF, Bartok’s BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE, Glass’s SATYAGRAHA, Mussorsky’s BORIS GODUNOV, Delibes’ LAKME, Mozart’s COSI FAN TUTTE, Wagner’s TANNHAUSER, Adams’s NIXON IN CHINA……every single Bel Canto opera………..Ravel’s sonatas, Italian and English Madrigals, Brahms lieder……All of Chopin, Britten, Stravinsky, Sainte-Colombe, Purcell, Marais, Gershwin, Satie, Debussy, Chabrier, Monteverdi, Vivaldi. Anything Handel ever touched!!!  He’s a genius. Works for the harp, the celeste, the mandolin, the viola da gamba, the piccolo, the oboe, the harpsichord…….Anything featuring the mezzo soprano or the contralto voice.     Since I was eight, my favourite piece of music has always been Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat major. It still sends chills up my spine. Every time.
Classical aside, I just love the Tango, the Bossa Nova, Fado, Manos Hadjidakis, Michel Legrand, Charles Trenet, Cole Porter, Nino Rota, Aretha Franklin, Cass Elliot, Scott Joplin, Andres Segovia, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Alberta Hunter, David Bowie, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald, KD Lang, Fats Waller, Queen, Jule Styne, Miriam Makeba, Kander and Ebb, Stephen Sondheim, Petula Clark…….the Beatles.
Rhythm is everything. Sometimes I think I like rhythm much more than melody. Sometimes.
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Favorite foods :
OMG. Did you know I’m a glutton? I could type ten pages on this alone. Here goes:…….gnocchi, cavatelli, fresh mozzarella, roast chicken, spanakopita, eggplant anything, foie gras, pruneaux d’agen, Persian tahdig, pistachios, braised anything, avocados, quesadillas, hearts of palm, gorgonzola, little gem lettuce, watermelon, torta di marmellata, raspberries, sapodillas, borek, pierogi, lobster anything, Balmain bug, kumamoto oysters, beet juice, Symi shrimp, pastel de nata, Prinsesstarta, fresh herbs, rosti potatoes, NYC tap water, citron presse, pimento cheese, chicken salad, calissons, salmon any way, garlic, drinks with fresh lime, Eccles cakes, whiskey sours, celeriac, all risotto, mango lassi, bual madeira, canelle, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, a perfectly ripe pear, sticky toffee pudding, anything with frangipane, Belgian Manon, Tarte Tropezienne, marzipan, Lakerol pastilles (white), Greek yoghurt, halva, Dan-Dan noodles, sauce Bernaise, Mariage Freres Earl Grey French Blue tea with milk, quenelles, oatmeal, chocolate egg creams, crespelle, celery, brownies with pecans, burrata, Pedro Ximenes sherry, steamers, macaroni and cheese, thick crust pizza, Medjool dates, soup, mangosteens, dosas, poached eggs, rice, sushi, ankimo, raclette, cinnamon, saganaki, bleak roe, osso buco, roast goose, guava juice, toast, sun-dried peppers, dressed crab, herring in sour cream, bread crumbs, Horiatiki, grilled anything, Bakewell tart, artichokes, fennel, tarte flambee, leeks, focaccia, scamorza, mushrooms, melomakarona, salade olivieh, summer rolls, frog’s legs, sandwiches, huitlacoche, Malotira tea, bisteeya, Pavlova, Huffkin’s fruitcake, filet mignon, stollen, financiers, gravlax, tartufi bianchi, pignolia, quiche, rapini, manouri, stews, dirty martinis, bella di Cerignola olives, sticky buns, brioche, caramel, chocolate covered raisins, Coronation chicken, paella, gougeres, sea urchin, most-e-khiyar, candy corn, Peking duck, navel oranges, amygdolota, raspberry pie, gooseberry pie, rhubarb pie, semifreddo, sumac, mezedes, lasagna, fava beans, cherries, basil, confiture de lait, flavoured mustards, dumplings, souvlaki, a perfect cheeseburger, tomatoes in season, ricotta, candied rose petals, toffee, almond granita, baklavadakia, coconut sticky rice with fresh mango………Are you sorry you asked? I could go on, but that’s enough…..just writing this is giving me indigestion big time.

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Beauty tips :
Well, let me tell you, I’m no beauty. So…..I stopped looking in the mirror first thing in the morning. No one looks great upon awakening and it can ruin your day. I enjoy being outside in freezing weather – it tightens up all the wrinkles. One should severely limit one’s drinking – the undereye area puffs up uncontrollably and makes you look old. You should stop wishing for a full head of hair if you don’t happen to have one (I don’t.) It just makes you miserable – trust me. Use a toner. Use an array of masks. Drink water all day long. Keep searching for the perfect eye cream. Exfoliate. And get enough sleep. Don’t forget to laugh!
Brands I love and use regularly (why you’d want to know I have no idea, but they make me happy…)……YonKa, Malin&Goetz, Clarins, Sonia Dakar, Micheline Arcier, Neal’s Yard Remedies, No.7, Papoutsannis, Nancy Boy, Santa Maria Novella, Philip Kingsley, CICA Biafine and Korres.
Frankly, the best beauty tip is to spritz on a bit of fragrance – it’s incredibly uplifting…..and if you feel great, chances are you’ll look great. My favs are Ormonde Jayne ISFARKAND, Astier de Villatte SPLASH, George Trumper FLAURA, Diptyque L’EAU TROIS, Creed SELECTION VERT, Klorane L’EAU DE BEBE, In Fiore ROSE NOIR, Il Profumo di Pantelleria, Neal’s Yard FRANKINCENSE. I cannot live without fragrance. Seriously.

Favorite ways to unwind :
A great meal, having a good laugh, reading an amazing novel, binge watching a spectacular series, Pilates, an aromatherapy bath, trolling eBay, swimming, walks in Greenwich Village, car rides, listening to music, getting away from NYC, visiting the Aegean, stopping and smelling the flowers, reflexology.

What gets you in a working flow :
Being prepared; making the day’s notes every morning when I arise; drinking a cup of tea for focus; having an organized desk; setting the mood with the right music; having a battery of fully sharpened pencils; wearing loose clothing; deciding on a goal for the day; experiencing ZERO interruptions; being in a great mood. Then I begin to flip through a pile of inspiration and get lost in it until the muses speak. Then I don’t look at any more inspiration – I just GO……..for a long time. When the ideas are coming there is no reason to stop.

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What are you working on now :
At JED – developing product for Fall 2019…….sweaters, shirtings, tees, accessories, gems…..almost done with it. Reorganizing our studio. Making additions to the website. Focusing  and expanding our marketing effort. Developing an updated merchandising strategy for 2019. Meeting everyone I can.
Personally – losing weight, exercising more, cooking more/eating out less, balancing work and life, planning travel for the year.

Favorite motto / quote :
What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

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JED Resort 2019
Shot at JED Studio NoMad NY
Photographer: Stanislaw Boniecki
Model: Codie Young @ MUSE
Hair & Makeup: Rie Tsukui