We introduced you to Williamsburg Garment Co. this fall—the brand that’s committed to the highest possible quality at the lower possible price in a unique business model discussed in our Q&A with founder and designer Maurice Malone (check out the Q&A if you missed it). Renee tried on a few pairs of WGC skinny jeans to give you the inside review on what to expect from this Brooklyn-born denim brand.
What was your first thought when you tried them on? The three pairs of jeans come with refreshingly different details. The light pair have interesting details around the leg, giving them a motorcycle feel. The medium pair are my first pair of ankle jeans, which are very in right now. The darkest pair are a nice, solid wash that give a great sheen.
Where/when would you wear these? The three different washes and styles allow for a lot of wardrobe versatility. I’d wear the lighter pair during the day (summer or winter, accessories can carry these throughout the year), and the darker could pass for nightlife wear.
How’s the fit? A little on the tight side, but the stretch allows for that. At 5’8″, I’m not short, but I wish these came cut slightly longer! Overall, great jeans for the near-factory-direct price the brand aims for.
Renee in Williamsburg Garment Co. Light wash Twist Jeans “Chrissy” ($106)
Renee in Williamsburg Garment Co. Super Skinny Jeans in Blue Wash ($98)
Renee in Williamsburg Garment Co. Skinny Jeans in Dark Dip ($98)
Exclusively available at…
OPENING CEREMONY (New York & Los Angeles)
TG-170 ( New York)
BROOKLYN DENIM CO (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
SUGARCUBE® (Philadelphia, PA)
Online Store: www.WilliamsburgGarment.com
—Michelle Christina Larsen & Renee Sykes
Tags: denim review, denim under $100, factory direct price, maurice malone, skinny jeans, williamsburg garment co
The denim industry’s all-out explosion of options, from designer to discount and novelty to classic, is a double edged sword. While we all have five times as many options for jeans shopping as we did just a few years ago, that means there are more potential candidates to weed through before you find the brand with the perfect fit for you. And while fit is the ultimate deal breaker, you’ve also got fabrication, wash, price, and overall aesthetics to think about. Dang!
But never fear—we’re gonna make it a little easier for you, by breaking down some of our favorite brands into price points that work with your budget, and selecting our favorite currently-available jeans from each. You can scroll, click, shop, or take notes on which jeans you want to try on next time you’re braving the fitting room. Got a question about your body type or a brand you want to know more about? Email us, tweet at us, or ask us on facebook!
Denim Under $100
1. Forever21 Denim. Let’s just say it is hard to turn down Forever 21 jeans. Not only do they produce fun, on-trend styles, but you can’t beat the price! Quality is obviously not top notch, but you can wear out a pair of F21 jeans for over six months before they’ll need some Denim Therapy. While they have your classic blue jeans, they also have cuter, younger looks (rhinestones… we can’t really comment, but think prints, colors, and fun accents).
Our recommendations for Forever21 Men’s
Forever 21 Classic Slim jeans ($21.90) – buy it at Forever 21.
Forever 21 Slim Fit Jeans ($33.90) – buy it at Forever 21.
Our recommendations for Forever21 Women’s
Premium Denim Colored Skinnies ($22.80) – buy it at Forever 21
Damask Skinny Jeans ($29.80) – buy it at Forever 21
2. Express Denim. Express denim looks more expensive than it actual is, and that’s always a plus. They have best-sellers like bright colored denim, a range of stretch-skinnies, distressed dark wash, etc. Their men’s selection is almost as varied as their women’s, with straight leg, boot cut, slim fit, and other styles available.
Our recommendations for Express Men’s
Extra Slim Fit Straight Leg Zach Jean ($88) - buy it at Express
Slim Fit Straight Leg Rocco Jean ($88) – buy it at Express
Our recommendations for Express Women’s
Express Flare Leg Stella Regular Fit Jean ($69.90) – buy it at Express.
Express Zelda Jean Legging ($79.90) – buy it at Express.
3. Lucky Brand Denim. What we really love about Lucky jeans is that while they have a simple look to them, their great fit makes them good for everyday. These are not jeans for risk-takers—the styles are classic, the washes are versatile (but not head-turning), and they carry your basic fits in men’s and women’s.
Our recommendations for Lucky Brand Men’s
Lucky 121 Heritage Slim Jeans ($99) – buy it at Lucky Band.
Lucky 487 Relaxed Fit Jeans ($99) - buy it at Lucky Brand.
Our recommendations for Lucky Brand Women’s
Lucky Brand Zoe Skinny Jeans ($99) – buy it at Lucky Brand.
Lucky Brand Charlie Capri Jeans ($99) – buy it at Lucky Brand.
Denim From $100 – $200
1. Hudson Jeans. Hyper-stylish Union-Jack-wearing denim brand Hudson is a cult favorite for a reason. The fit is great, the brand DNA has major sex appeal, and their collaborations and products are innovative and exciting! Their mens and womens denim range works for every customer .You can feel confident that you’ll find a solid pair of jeans no matter what style you get.
Our recommendations for Hudson Jeans Men’s
Buckley Five Pocket Athletic Fit in Athletics ($154) – buy it at Hudson Jeans
Beau Five Pocket Micro Boot ($189) – buy it at Hudson Jeans
Our recommendations for Hudson Jeans Women’s
Hudson Nico Super Sinny in Purple Coated ($198) – buy it at Hudson Jeans.
Hudson Sadie Mid Rise Wide Leg Trouser in Burgess ($176) – buy it at Hudson Jeans.
2. AllSaints Jeans. Allsaints jeans = rock’n'roll. If you want some edge in your wardrobe, you can’t go wrong with this brand’s attention to details (vintage-inspired hardware, 3-D baked creases and resin finishes on some jeans) coupled with desirable price points (none of their jeans are over $150, including their raw and selvage denim).
Our recommendations for AllSaints Jeans Men’s
Luger Cropper Runner Jeans ($120) – buy it at AllSaints
Moonshine Texel Jeans ($150) – buy it at AllSaints
Our recommendations for AllSaints Jeans Women’s
Huko Pipe Skinny in Petrol ($150) – buy it at AllSaints
Petrel Brodie in Black ($130) – buy it at AllSaints
3. Current/Elliott. Current/Elliott is known for re-introducing the Boyfriend jean and getting the hype back up to “must have” status. They’re a go-to denim brand for flattering fits and refreshing takes on denim separates. Their subtly arched waistbands protect your modesty and heritage denim inspirations in their designs, season after season, provide jeans for women and men that will outlast most fashion trends.
Our recommendations for Current/Elliott Men’s
The Relaxed Straight in Cove ($184) – buy it at REVOLVE Clothing
The Slim Straight in Cast Iron ($178) – buy it at REVOLVE Clothing
Our recommendations forCurrent/Elliott Women’s
The Stiletto In Grey Leopard ($198) – buy it at REVOLVE Clothing
Denim From $200 – $250
1. Nudie Jeans Co
. Nudie Jeans Co. believes denim is like a memory log of your life (we couldn’t agree more). All of their dry denims are made from organic cotton, and the company encourages you to break in your raw jeans through living your
life and seeing what kind of stains and abrasions show up. The Swedish label doesn’t explicitly delineate between men’s and women’s denim, which gives you all the more options for fit and style.
Our recommendations for Nudie Jeans Co. Men’s
Nudie Jeans Thin Finn in Black Coated Indigo ($225) – buy it at Revolve Clothing
Nudie Jeans Average Joe Jeans in Dark Organic Used ($225) – buy it at Bloomingdales
Our recommendations for Nudie Jeans Co. Women’s
Nudie Jeans Grim Tim Dark Night Jeans ($249) – buy it at SSENSE
Nudie Jeans Tight Long John Black Jeans ($200) – buy it at SSENSE
2. Acne. Acne does denim and it does denim well. The Stockholm line produces jeans that look classic and chic enough that they’ll probably never go out of style. No pair is overly-trendy or too outrageous, making them the perfect jeans to pair with everything and to grow alongside you (and your fashion preferences).
Our recommendations for Acne Men’s
Acne Moc Raw Jean ($203) — buy at farfetch
Acne Max Cash Jean ($242) — buy at farfetch
Our recommendations for Acne Women’s
Acne Needle high-rise stretch-denim skinny jeans ($230) – buy at Net-A-Porter
Acne Dark Flex Jeans Dark ($230) – buy at Gargyle
3. Vince Denim. L.A.-based Vince Denim is known for its casual-cool aesthetic–think ’70s-inspired flares and lightly whiskered, distressed jeans–and its sleek, slimming lines. Instead of sticking with just plain blue jeans, the brand also offers an array of colors ranging from rust to forest green to chartreuse to coral, allowing you to easily select jeans for many different occasions. Day? Night? Work? The country club? They’re game.
Our recommendations for Vince Denim Men’s
Vince Denim Slim Leg Jeans in Cannon ($225) — buy it at Vince
Vince Denim Straight Leg Jeans in Smuggler ($225) — buy it at Vince
Our recommendations for Vince Denim Women’s
Vince Denim Fonda Trouser Jeans, Nella ($225) — buy it at Neiman Marcus
Vince Denim Easy Rider Aiko Jeans ($225) — buy it at Neiman Marcus
Denim From $250 +
1. MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA. Forget blue jeans! Try denim in different colors for a change! Don’t get us wrong, we love our blues, but sometimes its good to venture out. Not sure where to start? Check out Maison Martin’s selection of colored denim. From brights to toned down washed out tones, there’s definitely something for the daring fashionista in everyone.
Our recommendations for MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA Men’s
Maison Martin Margiela
slim fit purple jeans ($465) — buy it at SSENSE
Maison Martin Margiela
J-pocket jeans ($440) — buy it at Barney’s Co-Op
Our recommendations for MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA Women’s
Maison Martin Margiela
fushchia jeans ($490) — buy it at Neiman Marcus
MM6 by Maison Martin Margiela
faded brown skinny jeans ($340) — buy it at SSENSE
2. Balmain. It might cost you a pretty penny but you can always count on Balmain to have you looking like rock n’ roll royalty. It’s no secret we’re fans of the brand and its iconic biker-style jeans, but nowadays this rockin’ brand offers much more than that. If waxed boot cut jeans sound intriguing, then we’re totally on the same page.
Our recommendations for Balmain Men’s
ultra slim fit stretch jeans ($970) — buy it at Luisa Via Roma
Our recommendations for Balmain Women’s
off-white mid-rise skinny jeans ($1,685) — buy it at Net-A-Porter
waxed fustain boot cut jeans ($1,223) — buy it at Luisa Via Roma
3. DSQUARED2. No one does cool, cutting edge denim with killer personality like Dsquared2. Definitely not for the timid, a pair of these babies are sure to get you noticed. Perfectly distressed and detailed to perfection, there’s no going wrong with Dsquared2.
Our recommendations for DSQUARED2 Men’s
biker leather patch jeans ($730) — buy it at Dsquared2
Our recommendations for DSQUARED2 Women’s
distressed dark wash jeans with leather appliques ($690) — buy it at Dsquared2
Tags: cheap jeans, denim by price point, denim on a budget, denim shopping guide, denim under $100, Designer Denim, what to buy, what to wear
Williamsburg Garment Co. is designing denim for the people: quality over quantity at the closest you’ll get to factory direct prices. Founder, owner, and head designer Maurice Malone (who’s no stranger to the denim business—he’s served as head of design and project manager to a top freelance denim design studio for over ten years) says one of Steve Jobs‘ famous quotes sparked the company’s beginning: ”Think Different”. And different, he’s doing it. With the utmost in fabric quality, pristine washes, and some serious neighborhood pride (all fits are named after Streets and Avenues in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), WGC is about to be the new favorite brand of every denim snob on the East Coast (and those of us who just want an awesome product we can afford). Read on to find out how all of this started, and where it’s headed.
Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning. What inspired you to get this brand off the ground?
Maurice Malone: I went into business with virtually no money by today’s business standards. My love and passion for design is what inspires and drives me. My knowledge, experience and limited budget drove me to come up with the formula for this brand. I can’t out-BIG any company, so I made being a small my advantage.
I approached launching this brand inspired by Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, Steve Jobs, Facebook and Opening Ceremony’s marketing power.
DT: How does WGC differentiate itself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?
MM: Retailers like me because I can deliver a great product at nearly factory direct prices, allowing them an incredible mark-up on product that is among the lowest priced and highest quality in their stores. For consumers looking for a great pair of jeans, my product is a no-brainer. Pay an extra $100 or more to be branded with labels on your jeans or save $100 and get a pair of jeans: a better product with no outer labeling. Our branding is in our unique coin pocket, subtle logo on the inside of the waistband.
DT: We could probably talk for pages about this unique business model for WGC, but let’s talk product. Do you have any pre-designing rituals?
MM: I constantly remind myself to keep it simple and clean. Quality, Fit and Simplicity are the core goals of the product. Low pricing is achieved through streamlined operations, production savvy and putting less in my pocket. WGC is not a brand selling the consumer a lifestyle, image or marketing to a specific segment. Product is increasingly becoming secondary in today’s market, but we’re making a high quality product competing with jeans upward of $200, for less then $100.
No, this isn’t a new idea, and I don’t pretend it to be. But when you look at my product inside and out, there’s a huge difference between brands that claim this kind of quality at low prices, while they’re driving costs down by using low quality fabrics, inferior construction and high volume to lower their prices. I can beat big volume brands because I’m not profit driven. I don’t have all the expenses (sales commissions, warehousing, staff, returns, etc).
I’m a “small time operation” doing “small time business”. That’s my advantage.
DT: Describe your ideal target customer.
MM: I see the brand product based, so I don’t really have a target customer as much as I have a target retailer. I would like to see the brands consumer acceptance as wide as Levis… but while Levis offers both low price/low quality and high price/high quality, my goal is to be at a lower retail price than Levi’s, and never lower quality (or sell hideously washed styles). As for my target retailer, I’m aiming for better stores I can partner with to deliver their customers a product that will have them excited about the next shipment.
DT: What would be your dream collaboration? Any plans of that in the future?
MM: I would be happy collaborating with Opening Ceremony, Barney’s and Lane Crawford in my first year, along with a few other select retailers. I showed Opening Ceremony the collection recently and they loved it. I have an in with Lane Crawford that’s panning out too—fingers crossed.
All in due time—right now I’m all over the place doing everything single handedly. One week I’m building the website, one week I’m designing, one week it’s all about production… then there’s my blog, the freelance design I do, production for other brands… I don’t have time to waste, so I have to plan carefully. Basically, the coming weeks are all about promoting and pitching. And besides pitching a story to CNN recently, you’re my first real interview, so when the brand becomes a hit, you can claim breaking the story!
DT: Street style and style blogs are huge in the industry right now as a source of inspiration, influencing the high-end labels rather than vice versa. How much does street style influence your designing?
MM: To me, small blogs have the big impact as opposed to big corporate media outlets. It’s the difference between the shopping experience of department store and a small shop where the owner is greeting you from behind the register. Blogs are a bigger part of my marketing plan then my designing inspiration. My goal is to have personal relationships with a thousand blogs around the world.
DT: How do you see your jeans being styled?
MM: Clean, mature and tasteful. It’s not a loud, youthful or trendy brand.
DT: Can you give us hint about what’s next?
MM: Well, you know you’re doing something right when investors start calling you before your product has even shipped. I’ll be expanding to a full collection for Fall 2012. I’ve been asked by one of my factory partners to open retail stores next year with their backing (which I am seriously considering). I’ve been rejecting wholesale operation backing as it would destroy the entire formula.
Above all, I can tell you I won’t be in the business of chasing profits. I believe if you make a good product, offer good customer service and work smart, profits will success will happen.
Check out the men’s and women’s styles from the line below:
Huge thanks to Maurice for this insightful Q&A—be sure to check out Williamsburg Garment Co. online, on facebook, and on Twitter.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: denim for less than $100, denim under $100, factory direct price, maurice malone, Opening Ceremony, Steve Jobs, williamsburg garment co