We were personally interested in learning about Elvis’ relationship with denim and we were not disappointed. Remember Elvis’ denim jacket and drainpipe jeans he wore in Jailhouse Rock? Denim uniforms had roots in the penitentiary system due to its durability and the Jailhouse Rock outfit helped cement denim as the fabric of youthful rebellion. We learned from Goto that ironically, Elvis later avoided wearing denim on stage as he associated it with the poverty of his childhood and opted most often for suits or leather instead. With this in mind his intensifying penchant for luxe, outlandish designs throughout his career makes sense as he was ever-determined to upstage himself. Elvis would grace the stage in a Canadian tuxedo once more about two 20 years later- this time in a white denim Tiger suit. Elvis is arguably the first true celebrity- saturated in the media and marketed globally as a product. Goto’s thorough exploration of his relationship with American culture and his impact on fashion makes this book a fascinating must-read.
One of the best things about a denim jacket is that the fabric’s hardiness lends well to customization. Its strength and endurance makes it the perfect piece in your closet to keep for years as it gather’s scuffs and patches, reminders of where you’ve been with it and who you were when you wore it. This spring patches are a big trend on the runway and street style blogs. You can always purchase cheap patches to remove once the trend is over, but we think it’s far more worth your while to invest in a one of a kind patch that you’ll love in the longterm. If you have nimble hands make one yourself! If you’re a bit lacking in skill or time there are plenty of artists online making patches that work for any budget. The most vibrant patches we have found yet are created by UK based artist Sophie known better by her store name King Sophie’s World.
The patches are hand embroidered with vivid metallic sequins. Sophie thinks of the patches as a mix between fine art and a fashion collection and there tends to be a different theme for each batch. In the past the patches have been inspired by emojis, aliens, heartbreak and horror movies. We were particularly smitten with the short run of patches focusing on carnivorous aliens with a taste for the human race.
The patches range in price from $40 to up to $300 for the large intricate pieces (depending on the conversion rate). Custom commissions are available as well starting at about $55. It’s easy to see why these patches are beloved by stylists and celebrities allover the world.
All photos credited to King Sophie’s World unless otherwise noted.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: custom, customization, DENIM, hand-made, jacket, patch, patches, style, trend
Happy 2016 everyone! Denim Therapy is officially a decade old. Since 2006 our founder, Francine Rabinovich, has turned a labor of love into a business known internationally, recognized by Vogue, and recommended in the Wall Street Journal. Over the years we have had the honor of working with giants in the industry and our latest collaborator is no exception. In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we teamed up with fellow Garment District neighbor and longtime friend of the company Donwan Harell of PRPS. PRPS’s slogan is Bruised Never Broken and their designs illustrate Harell’s appreciation for the beauty of aged denim. We bonded over the stories distressed jeans carry with them. It should be no surprise that the Denim Therapy team believes with more repair comes more unique character, and the more unique character the better.
We have teamed up with PRPS to create a limited edition collectible 2016 wall calendar. The calendar is made of a 82 x 35 cm swath of 15 oz Kaihara raw denim. It has two brass eyelets for hanging, silkscreened design, selvedge side, and neatly hemmed bottom. Quantities are extremely limited as a run of only 200 were manufactured by PRPS. The calendars will be given to our friends and a select group of loyal customers in honor of our 10 year anniversary.
–Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: 10 Year Anniversary, anniversary, Bruised Never Broken, calendar, contest, DENIM, Denim Therapy, Donwan Harell, Giveaway, Japanese denim, Kaihara, Kaihara denim, prize, PRPS, raw denim, selvage, selvedge, selvedge denim, silkscreen, vote
After years of public school education the association between September and that back-to-school anticipation has been burnt onto our synapses. This antsy feeling often results in a strong compulsion to get prepared for the changes autumn brings, in other words, binge-shopping. The women on the Denim Therapy team always turn first to ASOS to satisfy this urge. The UK online retailer started in 2000 and launched ASOS Marketplace in 2010. This new expansion to their site serves as a platform for independent boutiques to sell their goods. We try to support our fellow small businesses whenever we can and ASOS Marketplace is a pretty good place to start if you like the styles the online giant sells. Check out our favorite denim pieces for fall sold on the Marketplace below.
Left: Denim Crop Top by Mint Vintage, Right: Denim Crop Top by House of Jam
Left: Reworked Denim Jacket by Avelinas Vintage, Right: Dark Denim BF Shirt by Cherry Cameto
Left: Buckle Pinafore Dress by Re:Dream, Right: Button Down Mini Dress by Vulgar
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: 70s denim, 90s denim, ASOS, DENIM, denim boutique, denim crop top, denim dress, denim jacket, denim jumper, denim patch, denim pinafore, denim shirt, independent boutique, marketplace, reworked denim, UK, vintage denim, western dress, womens denim
Denim has always been an undisputed fashion staple, but it seems over the past few years designers have gotten more creative making the fabric even more modern, versatile and desirable to the American consumer than we could have dreamed ( you can finally satisfy your need for a fresh kimono and denim in one purchase). Denim has covered the the runway, been splashed across the newsstands (Marie Claire, Nylon, etc.) and swallowed the streets. With the beginning of autumn on our heels fall denim hysteria is fully underway and if you haven’t heard of Natasha Wagner yet, well, it was only a matter of time.
Fit models are used by designers to check the cut and shape of clothing on a live model and make adjustments before being introduced to the market. Your favorite pair of jeans hug you in all the right places and stretch with your movements thanks to fit models. Natasha is a denim fit model who has been unofficially dubbed the “Best Butt In America” by the denim industry. She has been featured in Vogue and Refinery29. She has been a denim fit model for over a decade for all the biggest names in denim (like Seven For All Mankind). We recently had a great opportunity to get to know the model better firsthand. America, meet Natasha Wagner. Read our interview below.
Natasha in Mother Denim Photo by Tommaso Mei
When did you start fit modeling? How did you begin to specialize in denim in your career?
My fit modeling career began 14 years ago while I was studying in college. I feel very fortunate I fell into this line of work because it has become my true passion. When I first started fit modeling, I was young, shy, and knew nothing about fashion. I began specializing in fitting denim because denim companies really liked my body proportions and height. I was slender yet curvy with long legs. Denim was also what I enjoyed fitting the most. I became an expert at measurements and detail proportions. Fittings can be long and boring if you’re just standing there while someone is pinning and making changes, so I decided to take a more active role. I loved learning about the denim making process and was able to become involved and provide useful feedback, beyond just standing like a mannequin. I also have an uncanny ability to remember numbers (something I inherited from my father, along with his long legs) and can remember most of the measurements of all the garments we fit, which helps when establishing target specs. Not to worry though, I am very professional and never share trade secrets with other companies.
What was the first major denim brand you modeled for?
My first major denim account was the brand GUESS. My career in premium denim really skyrocketed a couple years later when I started fitting for Seven For All Mankind. It was perfect timing because I had just graduated from college and was able to take on more work, even though I was already taking mostly night classes to accommodate my fit schedule during the day. It was also the beginning of the premium denim boom and I was able play a role in its success; it was all about the fit.
Do you have any experience modeling or fitting raw denim?
Yes, I do have experience fitting raw denim (aka untreated, unwashed denim). Some companies use raw denim to create a fit block first. They then use that block as a base to cut the other jeans. Those jeans are then sent to the laundry to have the different washes they developed for the season, allowing them to have samples jeans ready to fit. Most of my companies do not produce just a raw jean, as cool as they are; they just aren’t comfortable to wear, especially for women. However, if you do have the time and patience to break in your own raw jeans, you can get the best denim character and effects that you created all yourself.
Photo courtesy Seven For All Mankind
What is your favorite denim trend right now? What trend do you think will become big next season/over the next few years?
My favorite denim trend right now is the 70’s inspired jeans and details: high-waisted, braided waistbands with front patch pockets in a flare leg or skirt. I think for the upcoming seasons the palazzo pants, culottes and flares are going to make the biggest statement in fashion denim.
What is your favorite cut?
I’m the girl who said I would never wear skinny jeans. Now, I will probably be the last one to stop wearing skinny jeans.
I’m sure you are familiar with all the big brands today, but we have a flare for nostalgia here at Denim Therapy. What brands were you wearing in high school?
In high school during the late 90’s, I was wearing low rise, bootcut jeans made by Gap, L.E.I, Mavi, or Z. Cavaricci that barely covered my Converse Jack Purcell sneakers.
We have a lot of customers shyly referring to some holes as being in the “inner thigh” or “groin area” but we just say crotch! So we have to ask: butt or bum? Is there a formal or correct industry term?
I’m a little shy about using the word “butt” myself, but I find it necessary when describing my work. On a daily basis when fitting, I hear these comments: “This makes her butt look big.” “This makes her butt look flat.” “Her butt looks weird”.” “Her butt looks amazing!” I think those comments answers your question on the industry term. I personally like the French word for behind, derrière, over the words butt or bum.
Photo courtesy Seven For All Mankind
Let’s not forget the brain behind the bum! What books are you reading right now?
I just finished the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, about running creative companies and breaking barriers. I discovered this book on Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Books list, which I also recommend. I am starting the book NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman, which is about autism and Asperger’s syndrome. I picked it up after hearing the author on NPR while I was driving home from work. I’m interested in learning more about the brain and the growing autism epidemic.
What are your goals for the future? Where would you like to see your career 5 years from now?
This is a question I ask myself everyday to make sure that I am achieving my goals and allowing them to shift accordingly. I would love to write a novel, loosely inspired by my life as a fit model as well as other personal experiences. I think I have an inspiring and interesting story to tell about a previously insecure girl who never thought she would become the most in-demand denim fit model in a multi-billion dollar industry. Don’t worry colleagues, friends and family; the book will be mostly fiction. Five years from now, I hope I am doing what I do now or something more creative and fashion related.
Natasha in Levi’s Photo by Tommaso Mei
Want to see more of Natasha? Follow her on Instagram!
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: 2015, best butt, Cavaricci, DENIM, denim trends, fit model, Gap, Guess, interview, L.E.I., Mavi, Natasha Wagner, Seven For all Mankind, skinny jeans, womens denim
We knew Mr.Harrell’s jeans long before we met the man inside of them. His love of preserving vintage denim brought many pairs of his into our hands. It was through this mutual passion that at long last we were able to meet Donwan. We recently had the opportunity to visit his studio in midtown and talk shop.
Harell’s strong taste for nostalgia makes him our kind of designer. He has amassed an impressive denim collection over the years, as well as stacks of Japanese denim magazines, action figures and American ephemera. He has a particular penchant for vintage Lee’s. While talking in his office we learned that JCPenney had its own selvedge brand called Ranch Craft that copycatted Lee’s. Thinking back to a time when department stores carried their own selvedge lines kind of blew our minds.
When we arrived at his office his crew was getting ready for trunk shows in Vegas. We got a glimpse of the new PRPS line at Liberty Fairs and we got an even better peek of the new PRPS Noir line at his studio. The washes Harrell designs are inspired by real pairs of old jeans. PRPS stands for purpose. Harrell strives to mimic the personality of aged jeans, mimicking the tiniest flecks of oil to stress marks all derived from the original purpose of workwear, from real movements of auto mechanics on their knees or painters on scaffolding.
The designer in his element.
PRPS headquarters in midtown.
Tags: african cotton, DENIM, Donwan Harell, Japanese denim, menswear, PRPS, PRPS Noir, raw denim, zimbabwe cotton
The Denim Therapy team’s Market Week tour continued at Liberty Fairs held at Pier 94. The space was enormous with over one hundred booths to cover. We scoured the long aisles and prioritized. Our top priority? Denim. Our featured picks from the show are all Japanese and American brands including Feltraiger, Kato and Fullcount.
Feltraiger is a Brooklyn-based brand focused on making products you can pass down from generation to generation. Their customer base ranges from hardcore motorcyclists to anyone inspired by American subcultures of the 20th century. Feltraiger’s new Core collection features their bestselling basics. We’re fans of the Destitute Vest in indigo available for Fall 2015.
Th co-founder’s motorcycle parked in front of the new collection.
Destitute vest in indigo.
Kato jeans are made of Japanese denim, designed in Kyoto, and manufactured in Los Angeles. Kato was started by Hiroshi Kato in 1996 and has become one of our favorites. We favor the immaculate construction and details such as the diagonal belt loop and selvedge coin pocket. Highlights from the Spring 2016 line are the 13 oz. Raw Slim jean and a 7 oz Shawl Collar Blazer. Their leather patch has also been updated for the first time since the brand’s inception.
Perfect distressing detail on the hem of the shawl-style blazer lapel.
Fullcount denim is made in Okayama mills in Japan and was one of the first brands to start using Zimbabwe cotton back in 1992. Fullcount is here to stay, check out a peak of their Spring 2016 offerings below.
Rust-looking wash on Fullcount jeans.
Boro-like stitching detail on a chambray shirt.
All photos credited to the author.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: American Denim, DENIM, Feltraiger, Fullcount, Japan, Japanese denim, Kato, made in japan, market week, mens denim, menswear, raw denim
Last week at Project we had the chance to stop by the Jean Shop booth. Read on and check out the photos to see what we gleaned from our quick encounter during our preview of their Spring 2016 collection.
Conversations with denim heads combined with our intuition tells us that overalls and coveralls are going to make a strong comeback next year. Below is a prototype of a potential piece.
The personal touch of patches and repairs is timeless and certainly not going out of style any time soon. We saw extreme distressing, apparent darning, and patches galore during Market Week.
We strongly approve of the women’s denim vest in Jean Shop’s Spring 2016 collection.
We are always excited to see selvedge denim crossing into the women’s market. The Jean Shop Spring 2016 women’s selvedge shorts are kind of fulfilling our fantasies. We can only imagine the coolest of babes rocking orange selvedge shorts in the summer heat.
Jean Shop’s famous orange stitching and pockets.
A great styling suggestion after our own hearts from Jean Shop: denim on denim on denim. Triple the denim triple the fun.
—Emily B. McIntosh
Tags: American Denim, DENIM, Jean Shop, menswear, Spring 2016