Interview with Michelle Siwy of Siwy Denim
Celebs like Rachel Bilson, Ashley Tisdale and Kate Moss are huge fans of Siwy jeans. The brains behind the operation is Michelle Siwy, who launched the collection in 2004. (click here to learn more about the brand). Check out the interview below to learn more about how she got her start and where she sees the future of Siwy heading.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I knew when I was really young. I spent a lot of time in hospitals when I was a kid because of a bad car accident, and my parents would bring me all kinds of magazines. So I was like 8 years old, reading French Vogue and sketching what I saw. But my mom, who worked in a sewing factory, didn’t approve. To her, it was like setting out to do what she did, so I first went to school for nursing.
How did you make it to New York?
Well, while I was at University of Rhode Island, I was secretly taking classes at RISD to build up a portfolio. Then one semester, instead of signing up for more classes at URI, I applied to transfer to F.I.T., got in, told my mom that I was in at F.I.T., hadn’t signed up for more classes at URI, and was just like “Whatcha gonna do now?” So she drove me to New York soon after.
What made you decide to focus on denim?
For me, denim really is very personal. When I was younger and buying all kinds of jeans from vintage stores, my favorite part was imagining the people who wore them. Like, you’d know the shape of their wallet from the impression on the back pocket, or you could imagine a bike accident from a rip in the leg. I love that I design the beginning of other people’s stories.
What do you think will be the next big denim trend?
I think it’ll be the mixing of more fabrications. There are some denims coming out soon that are so lightweight they hardly feel like denim, which also makes it a lot easier to mix them with other things, like embellishments or lace.
What’s the first designer item you ever bought?
When I first started to have a little money, I bought Balenciaga cargo pants and wore them all the time.
Which trends are you appreciating right now?
The skinny look — it’s more flattering.
Which trends are you ready to see retired?
Jeggings, but the ones without pockets. They’re scary.
What should every woman have in her closet?
A classic pair of heels that are very clean, with a nice shape and hidden platform.
Are there any big plans in the works for Siwy?
We’ve added children’s and maternity for fall. Next year, we’re adding tops and hopefully shoes. But I want to do it all slowly. I don’t want it to seem cheesy.
Interview and image from NYmag.com