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.
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?
You can visit the Kill City website to find retail locations or shop onsite and please “like” them on Facebook.
Tags: beams japan, Cheap Monday, exclusive interview, gareth pugh, insight, Kill City, Kill City Jeans, Levi's, Nike, Obey, q&a, RVCA, skinny jeans, Top Man, Vans
Karmaloop, a great one-stop shopping on-line store for fun, trendy and street savvy fashion at affordable prices. Here are a few of my favorite picks from Karmaloop!
Plus, spend over $75 on New OR Regular items and get 15% off on New/Regular Items + Free Shipping. Outside USA gets $8 Off on Shipping instead of Free Shipping
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New York Boutique “Alicia” Studded Dress, $50.00
This dress is chic, trendy and so much fun!
Tripp NYC Over-Dye Twill Jeans, $45.00
Cute gray tie-dye jeans at a fantastic price!
Blaque Label “Elena” Batwing Dress, $84.00
A beautiful and simple one-shoulder batwing dress. This dress can be worn all year long. Pour on the glitter for a cocktail party!
BB Dakota “Lombard Jacket” in Black, $80.00
Stay in trend with a great band jacket! Try them over a pair of harem pants and ankle boots for instant downtown fun!
RVCA Legacy Fedora, $21.00
A sharp fedora to glam up any outfit.
Dolce Vita “Gia” over-the-knee boot, $182.00
A must have item for this fall/winter season is the over-the-knee boot! Great over leggings, jeans, with a mini-skirt and denim shorts.
–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: BB Dakota, Blaque Label, Dolce Vita, Karmaloop, New York Boutique, RVCA, Tripp NYC
Fashion enthusiasts and industry insiders have long admired Erin Wasson’s paired-down personal style, as her look is unwaveringly cool and thoroughly uncontrived. We’ve always appreciated her wardrobe selections as well, primarily because she’s adept at mixing edgy pieces and laidback basics in an incredibly appealing way. In short: she stands out from the neo-boho or prim-and-pretty pack. Now, the world at large can achieve a similar sexy-utilitarian style, with a little help from the supermodel-turned-stylist’s first clothing collection??”Erin Wasson x RVCA.
The line marks the start of a three-year collaboration between Wasson and RVCA (an amazing, arts-supporting, surf/skate/lifestyle brand) and is comprised of highly wearable pieces. There’s a perfectly worn-in pair of boyfriend jeans done in bleached-out denim (crucial for spring), fashionably oversized tees and tanks, and tiny jean cutoffs, similar to the designer’s own celebrated pairs. There’s a perfectly proportioned blazer for the slightly more conservative buyer and an acid wash vest that will certainly appeal to the downtown customer. Rounding out the collection are a few nineties-inspired essentials, including a cropped black bustier with crisscrossing straps and a sweet little floral dress.
Wasson’s own vintage collection and wardrobe favorites inspired many of these debut pieces. In her typical no-fuss style, she acknowledges that the items might not be revolutionary, but they will easily slip into anyone’s wardrobe. ???I can hardly call myself a ???designer??? really,??? she says. ???It’s a collection of certain pieces that we all love and adore??”a pair of jeans, a tailored jacket??”but it’s very interchangeable, so you can wear everything together, in a million different ways.???
Unlike some design partnerships, Wasson was thoroughly immersed in the creation of her line, from picking buttons to serving as the art director for the look book. Her hands-on involvement is clear; even the smallest details were elevated with thoughtful touches. Take, for example, the fact that Wasson enlisted two of her artist pals, Spencer Sweeney and Hisham Bharoocha, to create the artwork for the hangtags and jacket linings. By partaking in the process so intimately, Wasson successfully created a deeply personal collection, one that is certainly worth seeking out.
But enough back-story, dear readers, it is time to discuss the clothing particulars. Please read on for Wasson’s words about what inspired the collection, as well as how she suggests styling each piece. The line will be available at LaGarconne in mid-February, as well as at Opening Ceremony, Barney’s Co-op, and Ron Herman in Melrose and Malibu. ??”additional reporting by Madison Robbins
Black Heart Bustier ($175)
???This top is hot to trot,??? Wasson says. ???It looks great with any of the denim shorts??”just throw on a pair of Louboutins and go out dancing all night!??? If you’re not sure about wearing such about brief outfit, or just want to make it a little more formal, try the top with a pair of high-waisted dress shorts (for midriff coverage) or trousers and a blazer.
Hish Jean Shorts ($230)
???Denim cutoffs aren’t complicated, but they can be so chic,??? Wasson says. ???They’re also unbelievably sexy!??? She created two styles for spring??”the Hish, seen above, and the Lover ($287)??”both of which add a playful element to any outfit. To give the Hist an unexpected pop of color, Wasson added a Bharoocha-designed patch on the back of the shorts. She suggests wearing the cutoffs with the Unknown Legend Vest ($250).
Hard Nation Blazer ($250)
We’re a little jaded about blazers, since there are so many on the market, but even we must admit that Wasson’s version is something special. ???From the front, it looks like a normal blazer, but in the back, you get a little pizzazz,??? she says. Lots of pizzazz, as it turns out! The jacket has a double zip up the back, so you can customize the look. That’s not all: the blazer’s lined with a lightening bolt print fabric (which is subtle, we swear), so if you decided to roll the cuffs, you’ll get a little style flash!
Grateful Acid Wash Vest ($200)
Wasson wanted to riff on the traditional vest, which she certainly accomplished with her acid wash version! ???It’s my take on the three-piece suit,??? she explains. ???Instead of wearing a proper vest and a pair of pants, you can throw on the acid wash??”just to throw in a weird element.??? Personally, we appreciated its boldness and statement-making style: it’s Givenchy meets Judas Priest.
EZ-E Tee ($50)
The inspiration behind Wasson’s aptly named oversized t-shirt came from personal DIY experiments. ???I used to buy a three-pack of Hanes t-shirts and would cut the v-neck out, so that it had a really raw edge,??? she says. Of course, the Erin Wasson x RVCA version is a little more luxe (it’s made from pima cotton jersey) and tweaked for better style, like a stitch in the sleeve to give it a permanent roll.
Gin Soaked Jeans ($220)
As you probably know by now, the boyfriend jean is the must-have denim silhouette as of late, and Wasson’s beautifully pale version looks super fresh right now. ???I’d rock these with a blazer, or one of the tank tops and a beaded vest,??? Wasson says. In other words, either play up the androgynous angle or femme things up with an embellished waistcoat and a slightly bare shirt. Click here to read more…
From the looks of the denim offerings, the collection sounds more like a blast from the 80s — not that Erin Wasson would remember any of it — when young party goers would talk their way into various clubs on the Sunset Strip to rock the night away, get booze spilled on their jeans by someone more out of it than you, and ride home on the back of some aspiring rock god’s Harley. Not that I’m speaking from experience, but it seems not much has changed in Hollywood. I can see the skater-California-laidback inspirations in the line, but I think it is overshadowed by the grunge-mullet imagery that can be conjured from an acid washed denim vest and ripped, “carwash” jeans. This is a tricky line to wear. If you’re a supermodel, you can probably get away with most of it. If you happen to have a pair of Louboutins, you might be safe with the denim shorts. Otherwise, I’d wait till the line goes on sale at Barney’s.
— Kathy Ng Hassan
Tags: Erin Wasson, RVCA