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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

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

Q&A: Denim Therapy Catches Up With Julien Jarmoune Of Black Orchid


Designer Julien Jarmoune of Black Orchid Denim has wow’d us in the past with designs celebrities and street style bloggers alike are obsessed with, and the latest collection, which we got to check out at Coterie, is nothing short of rock star-worthy.  From studded side seams to the classic dark-and-sexy range of washes, we had to know what the designer’s latest thoughts were while whipping up this must-have uniform for girls with equal parts style and attitude. So, we asked him (and we also found out he only owns one brand of men’s jeans)!

black orchid denim interview Q&A spring 2012

Denim Therapy: Tell us a little about the spring 2012 collection. We noticed an emphasis on studs, zippers, and hardware (and we love it).

Julien Jarmoune: Yes, a selection of our spring styles feature studs and hardware which is geared towards high end image boutiques and our more rocker clientele.  However, the core focus of our Spring 2012 line is colors. In 15 color washes ranging from pastels to brights and neons, we offer a wide selection of styles including skinnies, flares, skinny micro flare, mini shorts, mini skirts,  pleated trousers and pleated trouser shorts. We also offer all 14 styles in white.  In addition to introducing new colors we’re also going back to our heavier sanded and torn washes.

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

JJ: Black Orchid is the only premium denim collection on the market that combines amazing fits and designs with a huge press and celebrity following all at a great price point.

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

JJ: When I am about to design my next collection, I usually get “stuck” and can’t come up with any ideas for almost a month and start loosing sleep over it. And then for an inexplicable reason I wake up one morning with the entire collection completely done in my head.  Everything becomes apparent to me and I end up designing a collection of 60 styles within the next 2 weeks. Always a stressful but such an exciting moment!

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

JJ: My ideal customer is a fashion trendsetter.  She is sexy and confident and looks great in her jeans whether paired with a nice bag and a pair of Louboutins or a casual tee and flats.

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

JJ: I don’t have any plans at the moment but would love to collaborate someday with brands such as Alexander Wang, Balmain or Thomas Wylde.

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

JJ: My favorite denim trend is a classic skinny jean because I think it looks great on any body.  I’m more resistant to the bell bottom trend, as it’s more difficult to pull this off.

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?

JJ: Believe it or not I never look at any of those websites for inspiration. I always design what I like and what I would like my BlackOrchid customer to wear.

DT: How many pairs of jeans do you own?

JJ: About 10 or 12, all from Dior Homme.

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

JJ: Colors, colors, colors.

Check out some shots we took at the Coterie spring 2012 preview below.

 

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Oct 04 2011 in Denim News » Interviews

An Exclusive Q&A With Kill City Jeans


If you are looking to find, create, and discovering your own style then we’ve got a killer option for you with the very distinctive jeans from Kill City. We had the opportunity to discuss styles that reflect great color, wash, fit, and function that just about anyone can relate to in our exclusive interview with Head Designer Paul Roughley. If you’re looking for a good read this afternoon, this is it. Check out the fall 2011 lookbook and read on to learn more about Kill City behind-the-scenes.

kill-city-jeans-q-a

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

Kill City: I was always interested in art & design as a kid, I didn’t have much concentration for subjects like English and Math and through my schooling and further education only excelled at anything involving pencils and paint brushes. After school I moved onto art college and through astute tutoring and my interest in music and fashion my teacher suggested I study for a BA in Fashion where the graduate opportunities are more frequent for employment than Textile Design which was originally my chosen field of study.

I helped to launch Kill City in January of 06 after 9 years of employment in the Fashion Forecasting Industry and design positions in New York and Los Angeles. In 05 premium blue denim had definitely peaked, I strongly believed that there was room for a brand at a sub $100 price point and a customer that lives and breaths music, art and fashion that has a distaste for the idiocy and ugliness of hyped, over branded and embellished clothing.

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?.

KC: Not really, there are common brands that share our customer wardrobe like Cheap Monday, RVCA, Obey and Insight but they are heavily marketed brands chasing a very specific customer.

Our products are about color, wash, fit and function that anyone can appreciate, we’re not dictating or implying that you have to ride a skateboard, hang out at galleries and wear a specific cap and sneakers to represent our brand. Artists, musicians, misfits and weirdo’s come in all varieties and as an eclectic mix of consumers is welcome and inspiring.

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

KC: What do we hate, what are we tired of seeing and what can we not find. This applies to fit, color, fabric and wash and we build upon our core skinny jeans.

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

KC: Creative, artistic, intellectual, open minded, loner, misfit, reactionary cynical haters.

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

KC: “Hmmmmmm”……I’m not so inspired by working with another brand that also has a strong identity, I’d be happy to use a template with the consent of companies like Vans, Levis or Nike for jeans and shoes. Maybe a store collabo with Top Man UK or Beams Japan would make me smile or the opportunity to design jeans for a designer like Gareth Pugh would be epic!

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

KC: Our skinnie’s are most popular by far, the Junkie fit which is our skinniest (13″ leg opening)  followed by our Wire which is also slim (14 1/2″ leg opening). As far as washes over dyed black, black wax,and our printed stretch twill styles always sell well. Personally my styling advice is to always make sure that your silhouette always leans towards being proportionally looser/heavier on top.

There’s nothing worse than seeing a guy in loose jeans and a tight tee shirt. I’m fairly simplistic in throwing an outfit together, slim jeans paired with a well fitting short sleeved crew or v-neck tee and a short jacket works every time. It’s hard to educate people on color, to be safe black works every time.

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

KC: The list could be long and bitter but I’ll keep it short.

Light wash jeans in loose fits and functional jeans with military styling in loose fits ( A prevalent trend in Europe). Most denim travesty’s are really consumer driven versus trend driven and the root cause is people not understanding what fit and wash/color is suitable to their body type.

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: Always, I very rarely observe runway collections, they have no bearing aesthetically or monetarily on my lifestyle or the consumer I design for. Street style is organic, you can be inspired by a guys styling on one blog and turned off on an item that is overly represented across all blogs.

DT: How many pairs of denim do YOU own?

KC: 50 to 75 any time though I only wear three, APC New Cure, Kill City Wire vintage blue with black spray and Kill City Wire in black wax coat. All of the other jeans I archive for future use and I always buy jeans at flea markets like The Rose bowl for wash and construction reference.

DT: Favorite celeb wearing your brand?

KC: Pass…. I dislike celebrity endorsements, Christian Audigier was the king of celebrity bull shit, Los Angeles based designers are doing a fantastic job right now and Christian almost single handedly fucked it up for everyone who’s based here trying to design with ethics, passion, quality and good taste.

I receive images often of well known people wearing our stuff but we rarely utilize it, our point of view is to use non celebrities in creative fields to represent our brand.  We made Shaun White some American Flag jeans to wear at The Winter Olympics, he gets a pass from us because he’s a cool guy, down to earth and a bit mad.

DT: Kill City: what’s behind the name, for those who don’t know?

KC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DjQLShe46w

You can visit the Kill City website to find retail locations or shop onsite and please “like” them on Facebook.

—Jackie Racer

 

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Posted Sep 29 2011 in Denim News » Interviews

Read Our Exclusive Q&A With Melissa Santos, Head Designer Of reco jeans


Reco jeans is taking the reigns as the ultimate in eco-friendly denim, and the more they grow, the more their passion for environmentally conscious product comes to the surface. We spoke to art director Nathan this past spring, where he introduced us to the concept of the brand and showed us first-hand some of the awesome products they produce. Since that informative encounter we had a chance to question the head designer Melissa Santos, and delve a little deeper into the mission of reco jeans.

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

reco jeans: This brand was inspired by the childhood of the two cousins (the owners of reco jeans). They grew up with the denim factory and would witness all the scraps left behind that would eventually end up in a landfill. As they got older they came up with the brilliant idea to keep all the denim scraps and have it all broken down and spun into a new yarn; a recycled yarn. This yarn would then be used to weave the new fabric, which is then used for reco jeans.

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

RJ: We differentiate ourselves by being the only brand to use TRUE recycled denim.

DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?

RJ: Before I jump in and start designing, I usually do some shopping and research first. I even ask my friends, fans, and followers what type of things they would like to see on their denim.

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

RJ: This young lady is very well into fashion. She gets our jeans because she loves the way they fit, and she loves the style. She may not know too much about the environment or of being eco-conscious, but once she finds out she is actually making a difference by wearing reco jeans, she feels great about herself and wants to continue the trend by finding more eco friendly goods.

DT: What would be your dream collaboration?

RJ: To collaborate with Lady Gaga would be a dream. She would definitely add a twist to the denim market, while unveiling things we’ve never seen done in denim before.

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

RJ: I am really loving our darkest blue/black wash, but I am also a fan of our bleached wash. Right now our mid rise skinny is fitting beautifully like a glove. It lifts what should be lifted and flattens what shouldn’t be bulging! This Fall I plan on wearing boxy graphic tees with my mid rise skinny jeans, and knee length grey/brown flat boots. I may even top off my look with a bowler hat.

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

RJ: I am not too fond of the white denim trend, but thats only because i’m such a klutz and i always end up spilling or dropping something on my brand new white jeans. However, I have seen white denim styled great on a few people.

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?

RJ: Honestly I am more inspired by street style. Sometimes I even skip the internet and magazine research and I just go straight to designing based on things i’ve seen on people out here in the city. Even all the fashion forcasting sites are showing more street fashion from the different cities around the world. How many pairs of jeans do you own? Haha too many to even keep track of!

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

RJ: We’re collaborating with some interesting designers/ labels. You can expect some punk/ rock n roll styles, but also some feminine fun looks in the near future.

 

A big thanks to reco jeans for doing this interview with us. Don’t forget to check out their lookbook and shop their collection online! While you’re at it, like them on facebook!

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Aug 22 2011 in Denim News » Interviews
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