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Denim Therapy On The Crosby Press Denim Mythbusters Video


Owner Francine Rabinovich and denim expert Raffael Flores-Contreras are featured in the latest episode of the The Crosby Press Denim Mythbusters! The two talk washing jeans in the ocean, raw denim addiction, and even sticking your jeans in the oven. Check it out below.

Via The Crosby Press: For Episode 3 of Denim Mythbusterswe rolled uptown to the Garment District, where our savvy denim-saving friends at Denim Therapy bring jeans back from the dead. Francine Rabinovich & Raffael Flores tell us some of the weirder solutions they’ve heard from their customers for cleaning denim, from baking jeans in an oven, to rolling around in the surf.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwcKAG-woO0

Special thanks to The Crosby Press for including us in this segment!

—DT Staff

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Posted May 08 2013 in Ask the Denim Therapist » Denim Therapy

Interview With Tears Of Bleu Designer Caius Olowu


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

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Posted Jun 20 2012 in Denim News » Interviews

Exclusive Interview With Big Star USA


Denim Therapy had a chance to interview Big Star USA‘s women’s designer Miki Flores on the summer lookbook, the brand’s latest happenings, and what’s in store for next season. Go behind the scenes with this exclusive Q&A!

Big Star USA Interview summer 2012

Denim Therapy: We’re in love with the Summer 2012 campaign/lookbook. What was the inspiration behind it?

Big Star: We used “Road Trip” as our theme for the Spring look book. A bit of a laid back bohemian vibe, which fit perfectly with our collection that included vintage denims, neon shorts and easy fitting jersey dress.

DT: Who is the Big Star customer right now?

BS: Our customers are independent and confident individuals who take youthful and modern approach when it comes to  styling their outfits.

DT: What kind of washes are being emphasized in the line right now?

BS: We have always focused on bringing authentic denim washes to our customers. For this season, we focused a little more on paler shades and a bit of destruction with a twist of contemporary furnishings.

DT: Does your team have any pre-designing rituals?

BS: We normally take inspiration research trips to Europe or Asia to bring in freshness and also to step out of our daily routines. But doing vintage treasure hunts at flea markets or vintage stores are also very inspiring as well.

DT: Can you give us a hint about what’s next for F/W?

BS: Darker casts in authentic washes, leggings, wax coating, COLORS, prints, cozy cords, and workwear-inspired denims.

DT: How do you see street style/the web/developments in the online fashion community shaping the brand’s interaction (and even its DNA) moving forward?

BS: They play a huge role in shaping trends and what gets accepted at mass level.  Most of us are spending more and more of our awake moments online or on our phones and seeing these influencers pushing new and edgier looks is definitely helping trend directions. I believe this plays a huge role on current trends of colors and prints.

DT: Finally, what message would you like to give to denim consumers right now?

BS: Be BOLD!

big star USA summer 2012 lookbook

Visit Big Star USA to view the summer lookbook and shop!

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Jun 14 2012 in Denim News » Interviews

Exclusive Q&A With Agave Denim Designer Jeff Shafer


Denim Therapy had the chance to interview Agave Denim designer Jeff Shafer on their latest releases, evolving design process, and what sets them apart from other denim brands on the market right now. Check out the answers below!

Denim Therapy: Thanks so much for taking the time to Q&A with us. First, tell us a bit about what the design process is like for each collection.

Agave Denim: First, we have a meeting to discuss our current inspiration. We talk about the mood, colors, textures, graphics, etc, and Lauren makes a giant story board. We review several “top secret” color trend services to compare to our inspiration board before generating a first draft color story. We review thousands of fabrics and order hundreds of swatches. Once we narrow down swatches and finalize our color story, we review accessories, packaging, fits, shapes, and silhouettes. We edit, design, drop, and curate, while keeping emerging trends in mind.

Lauren creates patterns and sews samples for the womens line based on the fits and silhouettes we’ve developed. Then comes the merchandising plan and ordering of sample fabrics. After cutting and sewing the first protos, we make the necessary adjustments, and then start shooting our lookbooks!

DT: Agave Denim is definitely known for rich, interesting fabrics. How do you go about sourcing them? When do you know a fabric is perfect?

AD: Over the years, we’ve gotten to know the best mills in the world, from Japan to Italy, Spain, Greece… But you can only “learn” so much about fabric. In the end you either have the passion and an instinct to know or you don’t.  Really beautiful denims and other quality fabrics get me super stoked.

Similar to a chef, a winemaker or a cheesemaker or quality butcher. I can see the potential of a fabric in its color, yarn character, texture, etc. It’s instinctual.

DT: We think it’s awesome that the two of you work as a team and have the technical and creative aspects of the process covered. How has that shaped the way Agave Denim does things differently?

AD: Lauren taught me all the basics of the industry 20 years ago, including how to put a collection together. Our roles differ in that I’m more into colors, pretty fabrics, seeing the design process through rose colored glasses while she is more technical, tailoring, cost sheets, etc. We both have incredible respect for each other.  We share the same vision for design, quality and integrity.

DT: Give us three key words that describe Agave’s line.

AD: Authentic WestCoast Luxury

DT: Do you have any favorites in the spring line you want to shine a spotlight on?

AD: For women, the Chica jegging, the Peace Corps tomboy fit Capri, and the Linea jean. For men, the slim fit Maverick limited edition selvage jean, the vintage slub Lobster hoodie, and the classic fit Pragmatist cotton/linen jean.

DT: Describe your ideal female and male customers.

AD: They’re into music, art and fashion… and they’re definitely health conscious.

DT: What would your ideal collaboration be?

AD: I would like to shoot a look book with Ansel Adams.  I would like to do a leather collection with Belstaff.  I would like to do a Tesla “Model X Agave Edition” automobile.”

DT: What message do you have for denim consumers who are more or less lost in the sea of options right now?

AD: Invest your hard earned cash in high quality timeless pieces. Choose vintage whenever possible, especially where quality is involved. Know the difference between disposable and quality and don’t get ripped off!

Visit Agave Denim online and on facebook to learn more—also, don’t forget to check out their spring 2012 lookbook!

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted May 01 2012 in Denim News » Interviews

Q&A With OPENMARKET Menswear Denim Brand’s Kevin Chen


The guys in our office recently became fans of the menswear denim brand OPENMARKET and reviewed a pair of red skinny jeans and dirty-mint skinny jeans accordingly. Launched by designer Kevin Chen, OPENMARKET is all produced, manufactured and designed in LA. We had a chance to ask Kevin some questions and get the behind-the-scenes on what makes this brand unique.

Denim Therapy: Let’s start from the beginning. What inspired you to get this brand off the ground?

Kevin Chen: I’ve always been inspired with all things old and new and I think a lot of that has to do with my affinity with flea markets (like Rose Bowl. It has a lot to do with rediscovering old ideas, and seeing if we can reinvent them. It’s from these experiences coupled with my creative design instincts that I felt I wanted to create a brand  that could facilitate old ideas into modern ones. That is the premise of OPENMARKET: a collection that puts new meaning to MODERN work wear.

DT: How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?

KC: We pride ourselves upon the fact that OPENMARKET is 100% made in USA, and not only does the collection comprise of our signature 6-pocket denim jeans, it also includes our uniquely oil-stained carpenters, henleys, Tees, chunky-knit sweaters, leather jackets, blazers, denim jackets, hooded/non-hooded sweatshirts in a multitude of fabrics.

All designs reflect a deconstructed approach to vintage work wear, re-engineered with a modern appeal. We like to believe that we extend beyond the traditional denim line, because our collection is multi-dimensional and offers many essential items. Even our denim is done in a non-traditional way (details like the 6-pocket design set them apart).

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

KC: I’m not sure if it would be called a “ritual”, but I do often research trends by people watching and make a mental note of what they’re wearing. From there I meet with my team and we search for vintage garments (often times at flea markets) that possess old work wear details, good for merging with unique and unexpected fabric.

It’s important to me that my designs are timeless and as the brand grows with each season, I want to add new silhouettes and colors that are modified from the original concept.

DT: Describe your ideal target customer.

KC: Our ideal target customer is a self-assured, confident, cultured, and well-composed man. He is artistic, athletic, and is that guy that is admired by his peers.  Not only does he have a good job, but he’s a humanitarian that actively participates in charitable causes. During his free time, he enjoys quality dining but can sensibly appreciate hole in the wall restaurants. He goes by the philosophy of working hard, and playing harder.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration?

KC: In the future, I would like to collaborate with a great footwear company. I want OPENMARKET to have a diverse product line that will dress someone from head to toe.

DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favorites, and how would you style them?

KC: A few of my favorite pieces is the K8-Grey Herring Carpenter pants, O3-Dk Indigo Raw Blazer, O4-Burgandy Leather Moto Jacket, and our ultra plush O6-Black Alpaca Wool cardigan sweater. I like pairing my bottoms with blazers for a more dressed up look, and when I’m doing a casual look, I like wearing it with a basic t-shirt accompanied with some loafers.

DT: Do you have any favorite/least favorite denim trends right now?

KC: I like that trends are leaning towards a cleaner cut with simpler details. What use to be a market full of logo-centric designs has taken a more subtle approach. However, I do think that in the men’s market, bright and vivid colors will be on the rise. Men today seem to be open to colors. I think it has to do with wanting to diversify their wardrobes and express themselves.

I remember when wearing “pink” signified a man as being more fashion forward, but I do believe times have changed, and colors will be very inspirational. I also think that there will be a transition in their wardrobes as they begin to seek non-denim jeans… or should I say the look and feel of denim, but constructed with non-traditional fabrics.

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?

KC: I take into account what is happening on the streets. There are a lot of distinct styles that I have seen in “streetwear” and I think it embodies a sense of “coolness” to it. When you look at the OPENMARKET collection, I’m sure you can see a lot of elements that are traditional yet modern, as well as street edgy. It’s important to keep in mind that street styles range from the inexpensive & chic to the lux & exclusive. The OPENMARKET collection will definitely encompass all these elements.

DT: How many pairs of jeans do you own?

KC: I own way too many jeans and too many that I call my favorite. But I’m going to be honest, my two most favorite pairs right now is OPENMARKET K1-6 pocket jeans in Dark Orange, and the K8 Carpenter pant! These two pairs have been on serious rotation for me. Both great washes with amazing fit!

DT: Can you give us hint about what’s next?

KC: Denim tops with non denim bottoms, and of course, a lot of colors.

Keep up with OPENMARKET online!

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Apr 02 2012 in Denim News » Interviews

Exclusive Interview With Brice Partouche Of April77 Denim


We’re really psyched that we got the chance to Q&A Brice Partouche, designer of French denim brand April77,  1/2 the mastermind behind the April77 x Calla Romantic Rights collaboration (which turned out some seriously dreamy jeans). Brice revealed some admirable denim snobbery and, very interestingly, an interest in creating jeans out of Lady Gaga‘s hair.

Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning. How did you know you wanted to be a designer?

Brice Partouche: I never wanted to be a designer. I studied medecine. I wanted to be a cardiac surgeon! But I was into music too, playing in bands. Fashion wasn’t (and still not) important to me. It’s all about attitude.

My dad was a jeans maker and I learnt everything from him, even if he tried to keep me out from this business. I guess he wanted me to have a real job… and now we are working together. April77 is a family company. I started the brand in 2001. The idea was simple : clothes that me and my friends want to wear.

DT: Are there other denim brands you consider your immediate competition? How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?

BP: We don’t have competitors and if we have well I don’t know them. I guess we are different from others brand because we have a real story to tell. We’re authentic and passionated and that’s what make our customers special. They are more “fans” than customers.
People who knows me will tell you, I’m a real nerd. I feel only concerned by authentic denim brands and I try to avoid that profusion of storyless denim brands flooding the market.

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

BP: You mean like doing pagan rituals, turning upside down black jeans and waiting for the inspiration? Well not really, but I try to leave Paris for 2 weeks, going to NY or California. The USA have always been my most inspiring country.

DT: Describe the person who represents your ideal target customer—the customer you have in mind when you’re planning a collection.

BP: I figure a one-step-ahead teenager or a 35-year-old guy still stuck in his skaboarding years. At least, both are music nerds , clever customers and not under the fashion industry influence.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration? Any plans of that in the future?

BP: Jeans made with Lady Gaga’s hair would be awesome. But a collaboration with Henri Rollins would be the absolute dream!

DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favorites, and how would you style them?

BP: The JOEY Overdrive Raw is our best seller. It’s our basic skinny jeans in natural indigo raw denim. It’s unisex. DICTATOR are a slim/straight jeans, very popular too. Raw jeans with a blank or band tee are the best… I’m not a fan of washings. I ‘ve always prefered raw blue or black denim. It’s a real pleasure to see that our customers prefer raw denim as well.

Of course we make couple of washings. They are always inspired by my personal or my friends jeans after 6 months or one year without washing or cleaning. I know it sounds dirty but that’s how jeans are supposed to be worn.

DT: Do you have any favorite/least favorite denim trends right now?

BP: I like open end denim. They were famous in the 70’s and 80’s , when denim fabric production became massive, suppliers had to make cheaper denim. The quality was good because the fabric was thicker…but the price was cheaper.

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?

BP: Well, street style is of course one of my main inspiration. I’m lucky because my job makes me travelling a lot. I meet very inspiring people, some are my friends, some are just random cool guys and girls.

DT: How many pairs of denim do YOU own?

BP: Guess what, I have two pairs : one blue, one black. I wear them till they die, then I change.

DT: Favorite celeb wearing your brand?

The Kills, Amy Winehouse (when she was around), Julian Casablancas.

 

Keep an eye on April77 for denim-snob approved releases this spring! Huge thanks to Brice Partouche for doing this Q&A with us.

—Jackie Racer & Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Mar 02 2012 in Denim News » Interviews

An Exclusive Q&A With CLOSED


CLOSED is known for classic clothing that meets two basic needs for every modern consumer: function and style. Unhindered by passing trends, the CLOSED collections for men and women are a mix of utilitarian-inspired details, carefully calculated fashion-forward silhouettes, and often neutral color stories that celebrate the rich hues of their denim looks. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Closed Spring/Summer 12 lookbook, you’ll want to do that ASAP.  We had the opportunity to discuss the future of CLOSED and get a sneak peek at what’s going on behind the scenes as well in this exclusive interview below.

Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning.  What inspired the beginning of the brand?

Closed: The desire to produce authentic, wearable clothing is what inspired us to get the brand off the ground and it continues as our primary motivation today.

DT: Are there other denim brands you consider your immediate competition? How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?

Closed: We don’t like to think of other denim brands as competitors, but as comrades. Hopefully we can inspire and push each other to keep working with innovation and artistry. We distinguish ourselves from all the other denim brands because of our highly researched design approach, our innovative dying techniques, and the fact that we’ve been at this for several decades now.

DT: Does your team have any pre-designing rituals?

Closed: We don’t have any specific pre-designing rituals, but we always strive to keep open eyes and minds to the amazing creativity that is going on around us.

DT: Describe the person who represents your ideal target customer—the customer you have in mind when you’re planning a collection.

Closed: Closed is a family brand and we really design for the whole family, all the way from kids to adults. Our clothes are designed in mind with quality, versatility, and comfort – and let’s face it, those three factors are important for everyone (especially when they look good).

DT: Can you give us a hint about what’s next?

Closed: For Spring/Summer we introduced a new satin band along the side of our chino’s which looks so fresh, so its about meshing fabrics this year an element that continues for Fall/Winter with leather matched with sweats/cashmere blends.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration? Any plans of that in the future?

Closed: We are always dreaming up fantastic collaborations in our heads. Closed is a family brand and we truly operate as a family unit with a homegrown approach to collaborations. We are currently casting our next “X Series” campaign, an ongoing collaboration with ten innovators from ten different cities around the globe – art collectors, artists, actors, bloggers and more.  The campaign celebrates individualism variety, creativity and location.

DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favorites, and how would you style them?

Closed: The chino’s are always a hit – they fit perfectly and are basic enough to be dressed up or down.

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?

Closed: Tremendously. We are constantly inspired by street style from across the globe. Our designing is directly influenced by the creativity and innovation from bloggers, artists, editors, and friends.

DT: How many pairs of denim do YOU own?

Closed: Too many to count…

DT: Favorite celeb wearing your brand?

Closed: Jake Gyllenhaal always looks good in CLOSED, as does Elle MacPherson. She really knows how to mix up a sophisticated, ultra-chic elegance to our jeans.

—Jackie Racer

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Posted Dec 02 2011 in Denim News » Interviews

We Talk Denim Awards With People Style Watch Senior Market Editor Marissa Rubin


As most of you know, People Style Watch had an epic round of Denim Awards to delve out recently, bestowing honors like Best for Work, Most Eco-Friendly, and Best Butt Boost (see a list of awards and winners below). Honorary titles like these label each winner an “It-Jean” in its category, and makes finding problem-targeting denim easier for consumers to find. We had a chance to ask Senior Market Editor Marissa Rubin a few of our own questions about the awards. Here’s what she had to say.

denim-awards-people-style-watch

Denim Therapy: Which brand(s) are you surprised didn’t make the list?

Marissa Rubin: This question for me is really more about the fact that I was surprised a certain jean didn’t win a specific category—or it didn’t even place. Yet then we’d consider it for another category and it’d win.  It was unbelievable how everything ultimately came together.

DT: Which brand is your personal favorite in terms of fit?

MR: I am a big fan of DL1961.  Their jeans are made with revolutionary four-way stretch denim called XFIT, which NEVER loses its shape.  It’s unreal! They honestly suck me in and never sag, bag, or stretch out—regardless of how many wears! I own them in flares, skinnies, high rises, etc. and I always feel my thinnest in them.  Plus they have great back pocket placement, so my butt looks lifted and my hips appear narrower—which as a curvy girl my backside is always my biggest gripe.

DT: Which new denim brand are you looking forward to trying out?

MR: In addition to its affordable price point and great fit, it goes beyond basics with its spot-on trend driven jeans.  I am truly loving this new line!

DT: Which of your favorite fashion labels should be creating a denim line?

MR: Rebecca Taylor. Her brand already resonates with celebs and fashionistas everywhere, so denim seems like a great addition. From her signature florals, to her chic animal prints, I’d love to see this New Zealander’s girlie feminine take on jeans.

People Style Watch Denim Award Winners

StyleWatch hand-picked the best jeans of 2011 and takes a look at the most flattering, well-designed, perfectly priced styles out there.  We started with more than 700 pairs and whittled it down to the top choices in 25 categories.  From petite to plus-size, slimming to butt-boosting, supersexy to eco-friendliest, StyleWatch’s Denim Awards has it all and plenty of ideas for some new favorites to try. Denim Award Winners include:

Celeb Fave Style: Paige Demin ”Verdugo Ultra Skinny” for $158.  Tons of celebs from Gwen Stefani to Kate Moss to Rachel Bilson are fans of the soft, super stretchy skinnies.  They look great with a simple top, blazer and a great pair of heels.

Celeb Fave Brand: J Brand. Trendsetting brand in a variety of styles including skinny, flared, trouser and dark washes, and worn by celebs like Heidi KlumBeyoncéKim KardashianAngelina Jolie and more.

Most Comfortable: Red Engine “Flare” $168

Best for Work: Raven Denim “Mackie” in Dark Star $196

Sexiest: Gap “1969 Gummy 5-Pocket Legging” in black $69.95

Most Eco-Friendly: AG Adriano Goldschmied “Farrah Skinny” $210

Best Stretch: Agave Denim “Fortuna” $198

Most Slimming: Hello! Skinnyjeans “NiteWash Barely Bootcut Slimming Jeans” $178

Best Body-Shaping: Denizen From Levi’s “Totally Shaping Mid Rise Boot” $27.99

Best Butt Boost: Black Orchid “Black Jewel High Rise Skinny” $118

 

For the complete list of Denim Award finalists, please see page 143 in the November issue.

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Nov 16 2011 in Denim News » Interviews

Q&A With Imogene + Willie’s Carrie Eddmenson


Imogene + Willie became a DT staff favorite in a very short time. The Nashville-based brand won us over with their rustic Americana-esque sportswear and inspiring background story. We even spotted one of our favorite bands wearing the brand during a secret acoustic gallery performance! Recently we had a chance to chat with Carrie Eddmenson, one half of Imogene + Willie, about what got the brand started and what direction they’re headed in. Check it out below.

Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning. What inspired you to get this brand off the ground?

Imogene + Willie: It came less from an inspiration and more from a need for a job. We were approaching winding down our family’s business, a company that developed and produced jeans for 26 years. All we knew how to do was make blue jeans. Our hands have always been blue. We dreamed up various business plans – a restaurant or a food truck, among other things. We just wanted to do something where we could offer hospitality. But we would get half way through the development of a non-denim concept and then come right back to what we know and love: making pants.

DT: How do you differentiate your self from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?

I+W: We are very dedicated to knowing our customer. We have held off on wholesaling to other retailers for two and a half years in order to have the opportunity to connect with the consumers we already have. We needed to know them. We needed to know exactly how they felt about our product. The relationship between the consumer, our team and the two of us is the pinnacle of our business.

The first 10,000 people around the world wearing their Imogene + Willie jeans have made the company what it is today. Those folks validate the brand. It is theirs, as well as ours. Now we’re finally ready to give it to retailers who we believe in and who will love the product and love on the customers for us. Imogene + Willie jeans will be available in stores for holiday 2011 is some markets and then into wider distribution for spring 2012.

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

I+W: No sketching. We tell Nestor, our pattern maker, exactly what we want. He can read our minds. The ritual, I guess, is sitting by Nestor’s sewing machine, waiting impatiently to try whatever it is he’s making on. Matt is always the first fit model for men; I try on the women’s prototypes.

DT: Describe the woman who represents your ideal target customer.

I+W: That, interestingly, is evolving and changing right now. In the beginning, our “ideal” woman was one that believed in and supported our commitment to making our product in America. That’s still valid, but we find that now that same woman is obsessed with the fit, as is her significant other who sees her wearing our jeans.

This isn’t a mom jean: it works on 18 year olds and 75 year olds alike, which is something that makes us really happy.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration?

I+W: Our dream collaboration would be to partner with an American company that has a big interest in bringing jobs back to this country.

DT: What are the most popular washes/fits in the line? What are your favorites, and how would you style them?

I+W: We have five fits for women and two for men. The best sellers for women are Imogene Stretch; it gives the illusion of an extra few inches of height! However, Alice, our newest women’s jean with a mid-rise and a slight boot cut, is quickly catching up. For men, it’s the Barton Rigid, a moderate slim-straight with a lower rise.

Matt’s favorite jeans is the Willie, a straight-leg, mid-rise jean that is our inaugural fit for men. My favorite is the Imogene, a straight-leg, mid-rise jean that’s our inaugural fit for women.

Matt and I both dress very simply. The shirt I wear almost every day is a vintage Wrangler shirt that my brother got for me ten years ago that I had Nestor rework to fit me. I will layer it up with some special turquoise pieces, which I think are just the most beautiful artistic expression of Native Americans. Matt wears a white T-shirt every day in the summer, and he puts a couple of layers on top of that same ol’ rag when it’s chilly.

DT: Do you have any favorite/least favorite denim trends right now?

I+W: We really struggle with trends. To be honest with you, we’re not really into fashion.

DT: Street style and style blogs ar e huge in the industry right now as a sour ce of inspir ation, influencing the high-end labels rather than vice versa. How much does street style influence your designing?

I+W: We should start paying more attention! The best part about setting up shop in Nashville is that we don’t really watch what’s going on in the larger world of “fashion.” We keep our heads down and just work on what we’re doing here.

DT: How many pair s of jeans do you own?

I+W: Matt has three: Willie, Willie and Willie! He has one pair of Willie’s for each year we have been in business. He got rid of everything else: he just sold his last 501 xx.

And me? Well, one pair of Imogene Rigid – the first one ever made; one pair of Imogene Indigo Stretch; one pair of Imogene Black Stretch; one super-high-rise black jeans in a style that has yet to be named (it’s the proto; I have it on now); one pair of Wranglers from the ‘60s; twenty pairs of Levis ranging in age from the late ‘40s to the late ‘70s.

DT: Can you give us hint about what’s next?

I+W: It’s blue.

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Nov 01 2011 in Denim News » Interviews

80%20 Designer Ce Ce Chin Talks Shoes, Jeans & Dream Collaborations


If you recall, we’re obsessed with 80%20 shoes. We ran into designer Ce Ce Chin at Coterie last September and got a sneak peek at their newest super-cute kicks. After going on something of a splurge for our shoe collections (hey, we gotta do something to ease the summer-to-fall transition), we had the chance to ask Ce Ce a few questions about her line, her denim preferences, and the future of 80%20! Check it out below.

8020 shoes ce ce chin QA interview

Denim Therapy: What style/cut of jeans do you envision being worn with the fall collection?

Ce Ce Chin: Skinny jeans and colored denim looks great with our Bex shoe, which is kinda like an Orvis meets Chanel quilted Look (see above). Also, all of our short boots will look great with denim cut off shorts, tights and colorful or knee high patterned socks.

DT: What are YOUR favorite pair of jeans?

CCC: Siwy denim fits me great—great flattering feminine cut—brings out the curves in me! And I have an amazing Denim skirt from Junya Watanabe, like Spring 2002 or something, that is practically couture.

cecechin-junya-skirt-denim-1

DT: We love that! Do you have any favorite/least favorite denim trends right now?

CCC: I love the high-waisted MILF 70s style denim- when the pant legs are really long and I wear my KIP platforms, I look really tall.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration?

CCC: There two artists that I really admire: the filmmaker Miranda July and the “knitting bandit” Olek. Miranda created a very touching shoe scene in her first film, “Me and You and Everyone We Know“. I admire her personal style and quirky sensitivity—I’m definitely thinking about her work and her most recent movie, “The Future” as I move forward with Fall ’12. And Olek, well, she does these crazy crochet pattern sculptures. Could be cool for some Winter boots!

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?

CCC: Oh street style is, and has always been very important to me. While I will watch the runway reports, I gather most of my inspiration by witnessing the girls on the subway, or at places where creative people gather, like art openings or performances.  Recently I’ve been scoping out the footwear at my yoga studio.  There’s a place in front of the yoga class where everyone kicks off their shoes. I see quite an interesting mix in this shoe pile!

DT: Clever! Can you give us hint about what’s next for 80%20?

CCC: We’re planning a pop up store in March 2012 for the Spring ’12 collection.  Scouting locations now….

Huge thanks to Ce Ce Chin for spending some time with DT! Stay up to date on 80%20 Shoes via facebook and twitter, and shop their current collection online now.

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Oct 31 2011 in Denim News » Interviews
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