Jessie Williams

On Independence Day in 2002, within two months of graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jessie launched Edge of Urge, an independent design label and retail shop from a heartfelt vision that was to her “clear as a sparkling diamond”, in a tiny 400-square foot space (let’s be honest, it was a storage closet) in Wilmington, NC.  Although physically tiny, the space had huge impact for Jessie and other local and independent designers as she began selling handmade clothing and accessories designed by her and her friends – creating a business model that acts as a launch pad for like-minded, risk-taking, passionate, some people may call them crazy, designers, creators, and artists. 

 As a direct extension of Jessie’s character, the shop shows an admiration for individuals who creatively use fashion and design as an outlet of personal expression. From her early days as an emerging designer to today, Jessie has fought to prove herself in an industry not always willing to accept the newcomer. But through diligence, determination and the love and support of a core group of family, friends and designers, she has proven herself as a person worthy of notice in the creative community. As a designer and curator for Edge of Urge, Jessie strives not for recognition, but to shift the perception of fashion’s role in our society by encouraging innovative responsible design, conscientious consumerism and empowering self expression.

 As the shop has grown into a larger space at 18 Market St, and the brand has established itself over the past 12 years, Jessie’s vision has garnered national press, an international customer base and helped support an ever-growing community of artisans and designers. The latter being a crucial piece of the heart of Edge of Urge -“I personally, truly enjoy watching designers grow and evolve,” Jessie states. “I truly appreciate each individual’s creativity, and appreciate their trust in us to represent their designs out into the world.”