Speaking in his charming British accent, Cheong explains that the name “Guerilla” came from his original idea of guerilla retail: selling his jeans out of food trucks. Eventually, Guerilla24 (for 24 hours a day) was born. Since every pair of jeans ($240 – $360) are handmade of Chinese or Japanese raw selvedge denim from Okayama, each style is also a limited edition in sturdy 13.5 oz denim weights, along with softer enzyme washed and sanded versions. Go to
to shop the denim and knits.
Last week we introduced you to Tears Of Bleu, the denim brand saturated with color and treated with unique washes. This week, we’re bringing you behind the scenes with designer Caius Olowu. Find out how the brand got its start, where the name comes from, and become a part of the Tears Of Bleu denim revolution!
Denim Therapy: We love the energy coming from this brand. Let’s start from the beginning. Can you talk about the creation story, beginnings in Japan, and how it grew to be what it is now?
Tears Of Bleu: I designed and sold my first denim line when I was still a student: 250 units of women’s Jeans, skirts and tops for Urban Outfitters UK that my sister and I cut and sewed ourselves on my living room floor. The collection ended up in Japan and I was offered a design Job. In 2006 I designed a menswear line in Japan and created a few pairs of jeans for myself (because I couldn’t find Jeans that fit me in Japan).
During a sales meeting a buyer asked where I got those jeans and wanted to place an order. Just as I was about to start producing my first order, True Religion Brand Jeans offered me a Senior design position in the US so I put the brand to rest for 4 years.
In 2010 I left True Religion and showed a few pieces that I created to a buyer in Japan. He placed 400 units and said he had never seen anything like it. I didn’t even have a name for it yet, but went with Tears of Bleu after my daughter, whose Japanese name is “Namida Blue” which means Blue Tears. It was a perfect metaphor for denim.
Now we are sold in Japan, US, UK, Germany and this coming Fall we’ll be in Hong Kong and and South Korea.
DT: What are some of the inspirations and aesthetics behind the designs in the current line? Any story behind the vibrant color scheme?
TOB: I was a civil engineer before I went back to college to study Fashion and Tailoring. I believe in the beauty of construction and every style has elements of tailoring, from the construction of the bound inseams on our premium turn-ups to how we create our women’s skinny to give a slim appearance.
The vibrant colors and processing are a completely new way of coloring denim developed by Jean Genie Studio and myself. I wanted my FW’12 look to represent contrast. I wanted to do color denim differently from everyone else. We use an enzyme wash to strip down the indigo before adding color. This keeps the highs and the lows in the texture.
DT: Are there any pre-design rituals for the team? Do the US and Japan teams meet often?
TOB: No design rituals, only that we continue with the same philosophy as we began with. We work separately from our Japan team who are based in Okayama Japan: they bring classic traditional modern jeans wear, with a vintage twist. The US team brings newness and experimentation. We do regularly exchange ideas inspired by the old, but what we do is for a new generation.
DT: Describe your ideal target customer.
TOB: A true denim lover who see’s denim as a lifestyle, an essential item in their everyday wear, someone who isn’t afraid to try something new, your everyday guy or girl that looks at denim as a revolution.
DT: How do you feel about the massive influence street style and blogs are having on fashion right now?
TOB: I have always believed that trends happen from the bottom up. They begin on the streets and end up on the catwalks. Thanks to bloggers, people are now much more aware of that. It’s the kids on the street that are really the leaders for trying something new and different which is noticed by designers and then in turn becomes fashion. The bloggers feed our desires and needs to know what new!
DT: Do you have any favorite style bloggers or fashion influentials?
TOB: My favorite style bloggers are Sara De Franza of SHELOVESUSA (www.shelovesusa.com), consueloblog (www.consueloblog.com) and Issam Hrs.
DT: Who would you love to see wearing your jeans?
TOB: It would have to be David Beckham, Zoe Saldana, Lapo Elkann and Gwen Stefani they all have individual self-styles, I would love to see them all in Tears of Bleu.
DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favorites?
TOB: The most popular washes are the Milkyway wash—an updated tie dye smoothed out for a flowy, celestial look—Double star and ALEX wash. My favorite fits are the Lennon (our men’s slim skinny), the Chloe (our women’s premium skinny), and the Hendrix boot cut.
DT: How many pairs of jeans do you own?
TOB: I own 80 pairs of Jeans, Tears of Bleu, G Star, Gap and True Religion.
DT: Can you give us hint about what’s next for Tears of Bleu?
TOB: What’s next is a new collection of Hand Crafted Jeans. Each piece is unique, not only from a look point but also from the way we approach the aesthetics. All the hardware is authentic vintage, sourced through flea markets and auction sites. The inside of the waistband has a hanger loop that allows the wearer to hang their jeans up like they would a coat and we have also included an aged Leather back patch without any visible branding.
We intend to show that branding can come not only through logos but also through the construction of a garment.
Visit Tears Of Bleu online and check out their FW12 lookbook.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: acid wash jeans, colored denim, denim designer, interview, tears of bleu
to shop the Hazlewood jeans.
While resort season is generally known for clothing conducive to poolside lounging and exotic vacations, when denim is involved it tends to be in the form of super wear-able styles and a dominance of light wash. We also saw some trends pop up, like wide legs and printed boyfriend jeans. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite blue jean cameos in the resort 2013 collections.
Above, Derek Lam
Above, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam; Anna Sui; Band Of Outsiders
Above, Theysken’s Theory
Above, House Of Holland; Gucci; Givenchy
Above, Rachel Comey
Above, Jen Kao; Diesel Black Gold; Chanel
Above, Nina Ricci; Marc by Marc Resort; Proenza Schouler
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: denim dress, denim skirt, Designer Denim, light wash denim, resort 2013, resortwear, what to pack for vacation
Denim Habit, one of our favorite denim retailers—who happen to have just launched their online retail site—had a few minutes to answer some of our Q’s about brands, trends, and their latest ventures. Check out what CEO Brett Perloff had to say below!
Denim Therapy: We’re big fans of Denim Habit and the selection they provide to denim-lovers. Can you tell us the philosophy behind the brands you carry?
Denim Habit: We carry what we know our customers want. That’s the easy answer I guess. But the reality is that our customers are fashion forward and know what they look and feel great in. It is no surprise that the best brands in the world – the brands that we carry – are the ones who understand these fashions and continue to improve their products, expand categories and evolve.
DT: The e-retail site just launched, which is so exciting! How is that impacting the way you can reach out to your customers?
DH: Aside from being able to offer product in a different medium, our online presence allows us to speak to new customers all over the world who might never have heard of Denim Habit and certainly have not been to one….not yet at least.
We are able to explain who we are and what we do and it gives us a forum to educate fashionistas everywhere, even if they are not buying something. Without a doubt, our website also gives us the chance to learn from our customers in so many valuable ways.
DT: What are some of the most successful brands you sell?
DH: J Brand, DL1961, Adriano Goldschmied, Hudson, Henry & Belle and TEXTILE Elizabeth and James in denim. Non-denim brands that are very strong right now are Joie, Equipment, Patterson J. Kincaid, Feel The Piece, Emile and Zoa.
DT: Do you see the difference between customers for certain brands (ie: J Brand customers vs. AG customers)?
DH: Denim is a lot about fit and certain brands are better for certain body types. So, yes without a doubt, the customers can be different. What’s great about our sales associates is that they are so knowledgeable about our brands and which style fits an individual best. Our customers love that when they come in they are not wasting time in fitting rooms trying on jeans that will never work for them. It’s really one of the things that distinguishes us from other retailers.
As far as our online store is concerned, we are very excited about some new technology that we will be implementing to provide the same efficiency online.
DT: Can you tell us what’s next for Denim Habit?
DH: Special events are always on the horizon because we believe that we are not just a seller of clothes, but a community for those who understand the importance of fashion in our everyday lives – both functionally and as a form of expression. Events where we can get together and celebrate those are really important to us.
Also, we have a very unique program we are about to launch which we really think the fashion world is going to be excited about. All I can tell you is that the end result will be some really great new clothes. But that’s all I can say about that for now.
Shop your favorite brands at Denim Habit!
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: buy jeans online, denim habit, Designer Denim, where to buy jeans