Denim has always been an undisputed fashion staple, but it seems over the past few years designers have gotten more creative making the fabric even more modern, versatile and desirable to the American consumer than we could have dreamed ( you can finally satisfy your need for a fresh kimono and denim in one purchase). Denim has covered the the runway, been splashed across the newsstands (Marie Claire, Nylon, etc.) and swallowed the streets. With the beginning of autumn on our heels fall denim hysteria is fully underway and if you haven’t heard of Natasha Wagner yet, well, it was only a matter of time.
Fit models are used by designers to check the cut and shape of clothing on a live model and make adjustments before being introduced to the market. Your favorite pair of jeans hug you in all the right places and stretch with your movements thanks to fit models. Natasha is a denim fit model who has been unofficially dubbed the “Best Butt In America” by the denim industry. She has been featured in Vogue and Refinery29. She has been a denim fit model for over a decade for all the biggest names in denim (like Seven For All Mankind). We recently had a great opportunity to get to know the model better firsthand. America, meet Natasha Wagner. Read our interview below.
My fit modeling career began 14 years ago while I was studying in college. I feel very fortunate I fell into this line of work because it has become my true passion. When I first started fit modeling, I was young, shy, and knew nothing about fashion. I began specializing in fitting denim because denim companies really liked my body proportions and height. I was slender yet curvy with long legs. Denim was also what I enjoyed fitting the most. I became an expert at measurements and detail proportions. Fittings can be long and boring if you’re just standing there while someone is pinning and making changes, so I decided to take a more active role. I loved learning about the denim making process and was able to become involved and provide useful feedback, beyond just standing like a mannequin. I also have an uncanny ability to remember numbers (something I inherited from my father, along with his long legs) and can remember most of the measurements of all the garments we fit, which helps when establishing target specs. Not to worry though, I am very professional and never share trade secrets with other companies.
Yes, I do have experience fitting raw denim (aka untreated, unwashed denim). Some companies use raw denim to create a fit block first. They then use that block as a base to cut the other jeans. Those jeans are then sent to the laundry to have the different washes they developed for the season, allowing them to have samples jeans ready to fit. Most of my companies do not produce just a raw jean, as cool as they are; they just aren’t comfortable to wear, especially for women. However, if you do have the time and patience to break in your own raw jeans, you can get the best denim character and effects that you created all yourself.
My favorite denim trend right now is the 70’s inspired jeans and details: high-waisted, braided waistbands with front patch pockets in a flare leg or skirt. I think for the upcoming seasons the palazzo pants, culottes and flares are going to make the biggest statement in fashion denim.
I’m the girl who said I would never wear skinny jeans. Now, I will probably be the last one to stop wearing skinny jeans.
In high school during the late 90’s, I was wearing low rise, bootcut jeans made by Gap, L.E.I, Mavi, or Z. Cavaricci that barely covered my Converse Jack Purcell sneakers.
I’m a little shy about using the word “butt” myself, but I find it necessary when describing my work. On a daily basis when fitting, I hear these comments: “This makes her butt look big.” “This makes her butt look flat.” “Her butt looks weird”.” “Her butt looks amazing!” I think those comments answers your question on the industry term. I personally like the French word for behind, derrière, over the words butt or bum.
I just finished the book Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, the president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation, about running creative companies and breaking barriers. I discovered this book on Mark Zuckerberg’s Year of Books list, which I also recommend. I am starting the book NeuroTribes by Steve Silberman, which is about autism and Asperger’s syndrome. I picked it up after hearing the author on NPR while I was driving home from work. I’m interested in learning more about the brain and the growing autism epidemic.
This is a question I ask myself everyday to make sure that I am achieving my goals and allowing them to shift accordingly. I would love to write a novel, loosely inspired by my life as a fit model as well as other personal experiences. I think I have an inspiring and interesting story to tell about a previously insecure girl who never thought she would become the most in-demand denim fit model in a multi-billion dollar industry. Don’t worry colleagues, friends and family; the book will be mostly fiction. Five years from now, I hope I am doing what I do now or something more creative and fashion related.
If you need an authoritative figure to tell you what to wear, we’d like to suggest Mother Denim. The new denim line by Lela Tillem (formerly of Citizens of Humanity), and Tim Kaeding, (formerly of Seven for All Mankind) has proven so far that Mother always knows best. We showed you their first lookbook for spring, featuring a full range of cuts and styles in a gorgeous spectrum of colors, and now we bring you straight to the source with this exclusive interview.
Denim Therapy: Lets start from the beginning. What inspired you to get this brand off the ground?
Tim Kaeding: The need for a new specialized denim brand—one that’s built from the ground up, with all of the ideas I’ve had over the years that didn’t make it through the big brand muck.
DT: How do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of popular denim brands afloat right now?
TK: The ‘competition’ really helps define us. As one company starts to get sort of run of the mill like all dark rinse skinny leggings we do a bright blue bell, something no one else is doing. And by contrast, as some companies go to town on senseless embellishments, we pull back and find the beauty in the classic detailing of jeans… Where some people worship the authentic, we aren‘t afraid to push the boundary’s of what jeans are supposed to be…
DT: Do you have any pre-designing rituals?
TK: Yes, all good designers are superstitious and ritualistic… My team and I travel to the desert and go on an over-night drunk. Then I leave them behind with nothing more than a canteen of rusty water and a pair of jeans to find their way back to Los Angeles. The one that returns first will describe how the jeans were used in rescue and will be spared – the latter will not…. and sometimes we just go to Barneys.
DT’s note: Interns beware!
? Click below to continue reading this exclusive interview! ?
Tags: Citizens of Humanity, hot new denim brand, interview, Lela Tillem, mother denim, Seven For all Mankind, Tim Kaeding
Inside the Bryant Park location for New York Fashion Week the vibe wasn’t all hustle and bustle as it was in previous years. Now that locations have been spread throughout the city between Milk Studios, galleries, hotels and whatever designers these days can budget for, the crowd inside the tents were thinly spread out with a lot of leg room to spare. But, I did eye a few fashionistas wearing interesting denim looks.
Heel boy heel! A whole new meaning for "boyfriend" jeans. Photo by Nikki Cho Russo
Skinny Levi's with falls trend of over the knee boots. Photo by Nikki Cho Russo
The city was alive and Fashion’s Night Out events had retailers serving up free booze and food. I downed a glass of champagne at Ferragamo and made a b-line to three pretty boys donning great denim ensembles.
Wilson, William and Bryan. Photo by Nikki Cho Russo
How adorable are these three?
(Left to Right)
Wilson: Vintage military inspired jacket, Levi’s jeans, Cole Haan shoes, Armani socks (he wanted to make sure I got that in).
William: Vintage JCPenny denim jacket, Levi’s jeans, Bess Boots (absolutely loved these studded boots).
Bryan: Costume National jacket, Marc Jacobs shirt, Etro bow-tie, Diesel jeans, Diesel boots .
Preppy chic! Photo by Nikki Cho Russo
And finally, this cutey, wearing Seven for All Mankind jeans, shirt, cardigan and blazer all by Club Monaco and artfully disheveled Converse sneakers . Preppy chic never looked so good!
–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: Bess Boots, Club Monaco, Cole Haan, Converse, Costume National, Diesel, Etro, Ferragamo, JC Penny, Levi's, Marc Jacobs, Seven For all Mankind
Anna Sui’s Target Line Debuts This Week
From WWD ISSUE 09/09/2009
An Anna Sui for Target metallic jacquard dress inspired by Blair. (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
NEW YORK ??” It probably goes without saying that privileged Upper East Side denizens Serena van der Woodsen, Blair Waldorf, Jenny Humphrey and Vanessa Abrams don??™t shop for their frocks at Target. After all, the four ???Gossip Girls??? collectively own enough designer garments to fill a warehouse.
But that may change now. Anna Sui for Target, part of the retailer??™s Designer Collaboration series, channels the well-dressed women of ???Gossip Girl??? and debuts in 600 select Target stores out of more than 1,700 units, and on Sunday at target.com/annasui.
Designer Collaborations taps established talents to create collections inspired by a muse, creative element or collaborative partner. Alexander McQueen launched the effort in March with McQ Alexander McQueen for Target, inspired by Leila Moss, lead singer of The Duke Spirit.
Sui had wanted to design for Target for some time but ???couldn??™t figure out what the concept would be,??? she said. When the retailer approached her with Designer Collaborations and the muse element, the project began to make more sense. During a trip to China in January when she was launching a fragrance, Sui said she was bombarded by teenagers asking the same questions related to ???Gossip Girl???: ???Where??™s Williamsburg???? and ???What??™s uptown????
Sui has become a serious fan of the show. ???I thought the characters were so dynamic, so different and each represented a different aspect of my design,??? said the designer. In the Target collection, Serena??™s European heritage and relaxed American style led to a leather jacket, $149.99; Blair??™s love of old-time glamour and modern fabrics informed a metallic jacquard dress, $59.99; Jenny??™s penchant for uptown couture inspired a silk off-the-shoulder striped dress, $59.99, and Vanessa??™s bold personality is reflected in a sleeveless silk wrap dress, $59.99.
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Message at WWDMAGIC: High Fashion at Value Prices
From WWD ISSUE 09/09/2009
LAS VEGAS ??” It was all about value at WWDMAGIC.
Apparel and accessories retailers and manufacturers at the trade show here found common ground in the new reality ??” consumer frugality ??” and in how to deal with it.
Although major challenges persist as the economy struggles for consistent traction, the three-day show at the Las Vegas Convention Center last week appeared more upbeat. But price sensitivity and cost-cutting remained key themes.
???Consumers are absolutely demanding high fashion looks at value prices,??? said Todd Frank, a buyer for Canadian chain Ardene, which owns and operates more than 400 stores, adding that quick response was essential.
???I have to carry a wide mix of merchandise, and integrating lower price points has been the key to my success over the past year,??? said Daniel Vargas, who owns V State boutique in Minneapolis. ???Customers are trading down, so you have to respond to their wants, which can be hard if you don??™t you have the right vendors.???
Vargas picked up sweaters and leather jackets that wholesaled from $20 to $50 at the CMT Apparel booth, while keeping an eye out for smaller accessories and accent pieces.
True Religion, the Vernon, Calif.-based premium denim brand, stopped using factors in mid-July, opting to expand its own credit division and work closely with international distributors as well as small boutiques that pay with credit cards or cash on delivery.
Seven For All Mankind, the Los Angeles-based jeans maker, is monitoring inventory on a weekly basis, trimmed expenses and changed core pricing. A year ago, its retail prices ranged from $150 to $350, with most between $225 and $250. Now, the sweet spot for prices lies between $150 and $189 ??” a change typical of similarly positioned brands.
???We have some styles over $200, but they have to be very special and innovative,??? said Topher Gaylord, president of VF Corp.-owned Seven For All Mankind.
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Varvatos Opens in Vegas, Launches E-Commerce
John Varvatos at the Hard Rock. Photo By Bryan Harraway
John Varvatos has changed his tune about the ???Bowery concept??? as his brand moves forward on multiple fronts.
After the John Varvatos store at 315 Bowery, the former home of the historic club CBGB, opened to great fanfare, the designer said he was resisting pressure to replicate the environment elsewhere, insisting the concept depended on site-specific authenticity ??” until a second Bowery-concept store opened last week at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Like the original Bowery store, the 3,000-square-foot Las Vegas store carries all three tiers of John Varvatos labels and is infused with historic flavor via flea market finds, rough-hewn materials and music memorabilia. Both stores are outfitted with a stage and specialized equipment for concerts, parties and live broadcasts of Varvatos??™ satellite radio show, ???Born in Detroit.??? One obvious difference between the locations is a wall of video screens in Las Vegas. In addition, the store is the exclusive Nevada dealer of James Trussart guitars.
Bruce Weldyn, director of stores, said the company chose the Hard Rock ???because of the entire spirit of this hotel and the music venue.??? Like 315 Bowery, where ???you can feel the decades of history,??? Varvatos wanted to be sure the Vegas store ???had the same spirit,??? Weldyn said. Regarding future Bowery-concept stores, he said it would depend on the right venue, but none are in the works.
On another front, John Varvatos has revealed the launch of e-commerce. Customers in the U.S. will be able to order goods from all three Varvatos labels, including footwear and fragrances, as of Sept. 15.
On the same date, a winner will be crowned in the brand??™s Free the Noise global talent search, which, over the past three months, has been narrowed from 200 entries to four finalists. The four bands will perform on Sept. 15 at 315 Bowery in competition for a contract with Island Records and to be the face of John Varvatos??™ contemporary label, Star USA. The four finalists are The Fast Romantics (from Calgary, Canada); Reckless Sons (New York); Howlers (Santiago, Chile), and Scrambled Eggs (Beirut). The judges will be Varvatos, Perry Farrell of Jane??™s Addiction, Spin editor Doug Brod, Island Def Jam chairman L.A. Reid, photographer Mick Rock and The Bravery??™s Sam Endicott.
–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: Anna Sui, John Varvatos, MAGIC, Seven For all Mankind, Target, True Religion
Before I sat down with Robin Schwartz she whipped out 9 pairs of jeans from the top of her closet to be in photos. Yes, this girl was perfect for a spotlight jean closet. Robin is many things, one of my closest friends for starters, so I didn’t have to look far for a subject. Robin also hates the taste of coffee and watches the food network obsessively. Between working at Kate Spade in Soho, interning at Beyond Vintage and gearing up to start her senior year at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Robin had a few minutes to chat with me about jeans in particular.
What is your favorite brand of jeans?
Uniqlo, because they are inexpensive and don’t have a lot of ornamental details so they match with everything. Also they fit very well.
What is your go to outfit when you are running late?
V-neck t-shirt, dark Uniqlo jeans and flats.
How does being a fashion student affect your shopping?
I over think. How much did it actually cost to make this, and I’m paying how much?? Also I think about fabric quality more.
If you could steal a celebrity’s jean collection who would it be?
Jennifer Aniston, I feel like she is always wearing jeans and looks good.
What is you’re advice for other denim lovers?
Always try something different. I used to only wear Seven for All Mankind, but then I started to branch out.
Any advice for men about jeans?
[Laugh] Aka, my boyfriend. I took him to Macy’s because they have a lot of variety–be prepared to try a bunch on. Don’t wear them too big, also not too tight. I don’t want to see the outline of your…
Yes Robin we get the picture. Just from this short conversation, I think it’s pretty obvious why I’m friends with her, apart from her killing jean collection, of course.
— Laura Kealey
Tags: Seven For all Mankind, Uniqlo
Gap, Seven For All Mankind Open Pop-Ups
From WWD ISSUE 08/06/2009
A rendering of Seven's Wash House concept in Boston (photo by Courtesy Photo)
Seven For All Mankind and Gap Inc. are taking advantage of the wealth of empty storefronts around the country to open denim pop-up shops.
Gap will open a pop-up store on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles on Friday featuring its 1969 selvage denim collection, while Seven For All Mankind unveils its Wash House temporary-shop concept on Boston??™s Newbury Street on Aug. 14.
Gap??™s 1969 collection was relaunched this year for the company??™s 40th anniversary with medium-weight denim and contemporary cuts, including skinny, straight-leg and boyfriend styles, and a $70 price point. The denim push is part of the two-year effort of Patrick Robinson, Gap??™s executive vice president of design, to reinvigorate the brand and reclaim the retailer??™s position as a denim authority.
???L.A. has always been the epicenter for the latest trends in premium denim,??? Robinson said. ???It??™s the city people look to to find out what??™s new and cool. That??™s why we??™re bringing our 1969 jeans pop-up shop to Robertson Boulevard.???
The store will host a launch party tonight, with Joel Madden, lead singer of Good Charlotte, as DJ.
The company is paying $40,000 a month for two months for the long-vacant, 2,000-square-foot space through the end of September.
The street has seen a number of tenants relocate away from the area over the last year, such as Madison, Diavolina, Peter Alexander and American Apparel. New tenants that have or will soon debut along the several-block shopping stretch include Moods of Norway, All Saints and Beach Bunny swimwear.
There are no plans to open additional pop-up stores, although a similar concept will open in Gap??™s ???white space??? in Manhattan on Aug. 13. The store space, which houses Gap promotional and artistic design concepts on a rotating basis, is adjacent to the Gap store on Fifth Avenue. The brand will highlight its denim line in New York City with an initiative dubbed ???Born to Fit,??? which integrates customers??™ stories about what they were ???born??? to do.
Meanwhile, Seven is developing the Wash House concept as a way to test new markets while seeding the ground for permanent stores. The 2,000-square-foot Newbury Street store will be its first in Boston and will be open for six months.
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Denim Brands Warm to E-Commerce
From WWD ISSUE 08/06/2009
A look by My Lovely Jeans (photo by Courtesy Photo)
PARIS ??” The once reluctant and skeptical denim industry is beginning to give its e-commerce operations a fuller embrace.
Denim players such as Replay, Guess, My Lovely Jean and Le Temps des Cerises are expanding their online operations in a bid to capture a significant consumer segment that has fled the real-world retail environment for the virtual one.
While overall economic conditions remain challenging, a recent report from Forrester Research shows e-tailers are benefiting from a steady migration to online shopping. Online apparel sales in Western Europe are forecast to grow from 13.14 billion euros, or $18.92 billion at current exchange, this year to 19.88 billion euros, or $28.63 billion, in 2014. That hasn??™t gone unnoticed by denim labels.
???Following the success of e-commerce in France and given the growing numbers of online customers, we decided to develop this axis,??? said a spokesman for Le Temps des Cerises, whose Web store opened for business last month.
As they join the online party, denim brands admit they were among the biggest skeptics. When My Lovely Jean founders David, Gregory and Gary Pariente established their first brand, American Retro, seven years ago, they were doubtful online shopping for clothing would succeed.
???So many things are hard to shop online for the first time because, for sure, women need to try, to touch, the fabric,??? said David Pariente, the company??™s president. ???After, when a woman has had a great experience, she??™s bought something she liked, received it, the fit is perfect, then you realize, it??™s like heaven. You don??™t need to go on to a busy street, to get on the [subway], to get a parking penalty.???
Pariente, whose father founded French fashion chain Naf Naf, added that not opening an online store at this point ???would have been last century. It??™s become a way of consuming for everything ??” for travel, for food, for clothes.???
The online environment is also expected to weather the downturn better than other retail formats as consumers change their shopping habits.
???The global recession will hit online sales less hard than other channels as increasing numbers of consumers shop online to find better prices and save on overall costs,??? said analyst Victoria Bracewell Lewis in the Forrester report, titled ???Western European Online Retail and Travel Forecast, 2008 to 2014.??? The report also found online shoppers are less adverse to economic conditions because they tend to be better educated with slightly higher incomes.
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–Nikki Cho Russo
Tags: American Retro, Gap, Guess, Le Temps des Cerises, My Lovely Jean, Replay, Seven For all Mankind, WWD
Photo by Courtesy Photo
I am excited to see the revamping of Joseph, the fashion retailer and label. My first two pairs of Joseph jeans were purchased in the early 90s at Harvey Nichols. I remember feeling like a little girl in a candy store over the vast selection and not to mention that they were not cheap. Joseph jeans and pants always fit like a glove and have amazing style. I still have all my Joseph bottoms and they are as fresh and up to date as they were years ago.
For Spring 2010, Seven for All Mankind will be launching a line for Joseph! The stores worldwide will continue to carry great designers such as Martin Margiela, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, but I’m most excited about seeing how their own label evolves.
–Nikki Cho Russo
Brit Retailer Joseph Revamping Stores, Label
Posted MONDAY JULY 06, 2009
From WWD ISSUE 07/06/2009
Photo by Courtesy Photo
Photo by Courtesy Photo
LONDON ??” Joseph, the fashion retailer that??™s been selling designer labels to Londoners since 1972, is getting a long-awaited facelift, and building its wholesale and retail businesses under new chief executive officer Sara Ferrero.
Ferrero, formerly ceo at Furla, who joined the company last year, has begun revamping stores, introducing edgy new designers and giving the Joseph private label collection ??“??”which counts Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Le Bon March?© among its stockists ??” a new lease on life.
Alain Snege, a former buyer at Colette, has also joined as artistic director and head of buying, with the job of giving a new direction to the company??™s 28 freestanding stores worldwide.
???We want to reinterpret the role of Joseph and be a protagonist in fashion with a strong point of view,??? said Ferrero. She said she hoped to restore Joseph??™s reputation as a ???fashion curator,??? first laid by its founder, Joseph Ettedgui, who sold his share in the company in 2005. Joseph is now owned by Onward Kashiyama Co.
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Tags: Harvey Nichols, Joseph, Seven For all Mankind