When East End-born fashion designers Yannah Bernelli Jones and Emma Kubek had the idea for their new clothing line, Vendetta, while they were both students at the Fashion Institute of Technology, it quickly became clear their nine to five jobs just weren’t going to cut it.
Originally from Montauk and a graduate of East Hampton High School, Jones will be returning to her hometown on weekends this summer — along with her business partner, Port Jefferson native Kubek — to participate in pop-ups and specialty vintage clothing markets at several locales throughout the hamlet.
The pair have been building their new clothing line for the past the past three years, originally operating out of the tiny, two-bedroom apartment they share in the West Village. February of 2022 was Vendetta’s official launch, offering everything from lacy bathing suits, lingerie and beach cover-ups to T-shirts, jewelry and tote bags.
“It just became an infatuation with an idea,” says Jones of their handmade clothing and accessories brand. “It slowly developed because we would come to each other at the end of the day and keep talking about it.”
Jones and Kubek want their clothes to give women of all shapes and sizes something to wear that’s not only the right combination of edgy, sexy and cool, but comfortable, functional and affordable, too (items run from around $25 to $100+). Priding themselves on size inclusivity and celebrating female energy, the line offers clothing from sizes XXS to 3XL. Most orders are tailor-made to the customer’s exact specifications, allowing Jones and Kubek to maintain a close relationship with their clients from start to finish.
Together, the two young females are a force to be reckoned with. Jones is the lead designer for Vendetta, earning her degree in womenswear fashion design from F.I.T. and specializing in intimate apparel. Kubek is the company’s art director, focusing on product development, merchandising and business management. She’s also the designer of the company logo: a card girl, painted red and suspended in mid-air, holding a heart above her head. For Kubek and Jones, she represents the crux of the brand — the femme fatale tempting customers to become her and embrace the beauty of their bodies.
But while the women claim inspiration from their lives in the urban crush of New York City, a large portion of Vendetta’s aesthetic influence skirts far closer to home.
Growing up, Jones was always drawn to performers and what they wear on stage to dance, move, sing, and entertain. “On top of that, I grew up in Montauk, where you are always wearing bikinis and swimsuits in the summer,” she says. “I’m also Dominican, so my culture really inspired the awareness of body-functional clothing.”
Kubek attended BOCES for fashion during high school. She grew up wanting to be a clothing designer, and at the last minute, switched to the business side of things. Now, with Vendetta, she is getting back into the sewing side. “Yannah is helping me relearn all the things I did as a teenager,” says Kubek. “It’s something that comes back to you.”
Every weekend this summer, Jones and Kubek will be on hand at two Montauk locales promoting and selling their Vendetta branded wares. On Saturdays, they’ll be at the flea market behind Joni’s Café (28 South Etna Ave.), while on Sunday you can find them at vintage clothing store Pre Loved Montauk (805 Montauk Hwy.).
“We started this brand kind of out of nowhere,” says Jones. “We both had the ambition to have this femme fatale, empowering, storytelling sort of brand that is a really aestheticized lifestyle brand.”