Designer Jean Interviews
We got the chance to speak to stylist to the stars, Simone Harouche. It’s really interesting to know what inspires her and how she creates her looks. Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie are a few of Simone’s clients and they all look fantastic, I love how she works with their style and creates the outfits that she does. Simone also has some fantastic custom jeans that she created and the fans of her work will be pleased to know a little something she says at the bottom of her interview! I can’t wait! A huge thank you to Simone for this!
DB: What inspires you when putting an outfit together?
Simone: That depends, if we are talking about me, or for a client.
I think that for both myself, and my clients, that answer is constantly changing. Sometimes, a client could love a new pair of shoes, and want to create a look around the shoes. Other times, it’s a pant, or a jacket, the list is endless, but there is usually an item or a mood that sets the tone.
DB: Which item are you most likely to start with and then work the rest of the outfit around?
Simone: It’s not one piece in particular, it is different all the time. Could be a piece, could be a mood, could be the event or even could be inspired by the people that will be at the event.
DB: What are your best style tips?
Simone: To feel comfortable in whatever your style is. I am a big believer that when you feel good in your clothes, you look even better!
Another tip I have, is to know your body.
It is important to know what shapes and cuts of clothes look best on you. One shouldn’t wear clothes because they are really in fashion at the moment but don’t flatter their shape.
DB: What do you think is going to be the next big denim trend?
Simone: Denim is so all over the place, it’s hard to forecast. I would say you will be seeing more distressing techniques, also more varieties of interesting color denim washes/dye techniques, softer denim a la “the jegging”, and more embellishments on jeans such as studs, eyelets etc.
DB: What is your favourite denim trend right now?
Simone: I don’t really follow trends, because they are constantly changing. The jeans I custom made for myself 3 years ago, I still wear today. The same brands/fits I wore, I still wear today. I’m a big believer in sticking to what works, you can modernize and update your look, but don’t change your style for a trend that will be here and gone faster than you can say.
DB: We have seen your customized Ashley Tisdale Paige jeans and Miley Cyrus Siwy jeans, will you be customizing any other celebs denim soon?
Simone: I have customized for my other clients too! Christina Aguilera and Nicole richie have a bunch of jeans I have made for them, and they wear them too! I’ve seen the pics.
DB: We haven’t seen them yet, we will be on the look out for them!
DB: What are your favourite denim brands to work with?
Simone: I love Siwy, Paige Premium Denim, and J Brand.
DB: We all love your work, what made you decided to be a stylist?
Simone: Fate. It’s a very long story, but the short version is, I knew I wanted to get into fashion, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I happened to pass by a boutique in Los Feliz that was owned by a Stylist. She recognized me as someone her little brother used to play with when we were little kids. Asked me what I was up to. I let her know I was graduating college the following month and trying to figure out how and what to do with fashion. (keep in mind I still had no idea she was a very successful stylist) she had me intern for her that summer, and now, 6 years later I’m here, the rest is history!
DB: Do you have a favourite pair of jeans?
Simone: Yes, I do have a pair of favorite jeans. They are vintage Levis 646 bellbottoms from the 70’s. They are highwasted and the denim has been perfectly aged, so they are super soft and comfortable.
DB: What one fashion item could you not live without?
Simone: My cashmere scarves that I bought in India last winter. They are so cozy! Even when the weather is nice, I still wear them!
DB: What do you love most about being a stylist?
Simone: I love the fact that my work is constantly changing from job to job, the focus changes. It’s amazing because projects start and finish so quickly that you never have time to get bored. Your eye is constantly being inspired by new things because of the people you meet and the various jobs you are working on.
DB: Tell us more about what your job involves?
Simone: Everything and anything! I’m serious. I could write a novel on this question alone. But you name it, and it will most likely fall under the “styling umbrella”. As long as you get the job done, the road you took doesn’t matter- the result is the same.
DB: How do you decide to customize jeans? Do the celebrities ask you to?
Simone: I customize jeans for my clients. So I either make them for a specific job, music video, photoshoot etc. or it can happen organically, they will like a pair I made for myself and ask for something similar.
I get inspired by the look and feel of the project and from there, I create. It’s fun, I get to be totally creative and not worry about the end result, because usually, even the mistakes look good! Most of the time, I will start on a pair, with no specific intention in mind of what I want them to look like, but then through the process, they kinda take on a little life of their own.
DB: We see so many gorgeous outfits that you have put together, do you have a favourite one or do any stand out for you?
Simone: There have been so many different looks that have all been fun and unique in their own right. But how could I pick just one? I love my clients all so much, and their style is all so different. I think that’s why I love styling so much, working with my clients allows me to cater to all the aspects of my own personality and style. Some days I am girly, some days, more bohemian, some days I dress in all black with big chunky moto boots, and somedays I’m more classic, it really depends on my mood.
DB: Which is your favourite pair of jeans that you have customized?
Simone: Hmmm, my favorite pair of jeans I customized are a pair of grey J Brand skinnies I made for myself- they are awesome! They are super distressed and covered with paint splatters. Check out the gallery below to see them.
DB: Denim leggings are very hot right now, as a stylist what would you say is the best way to wear them?
Simone: You would wear denim leggings the same way you would wear leggings. They are made for comfort and ease, but are also very cute. You could dress them up or down. I think there are no rules when It comes to things like this. The best way to wear anything is to feel comfortable with your choices, because that’s the only thing that shows- if you feel beautiful and comfortable in your look, people feel that from you and believe it!
DB: That is how I love to wear my denim leggings, just like leggings, with longer tops to cover the butt and crotch area of them.
DB: What do you think makes denim so important in the world of fashion?
Simone: Denim is so important in fashion, because it is one of the great staples, a basic that continues to reinvent itself and stays in style. Denim started for utility purposes, but as denim started to go more mainstream, companies found ways to make denim more and more fashionable. It is so relevant because denim is utility, and mixing utility with fashion is a great coupling.
DB: Would you ever consider bringing out your own fashion line?
Simone: Of course!
I have worked on a few of my friend’s clothing lines as a guest designer for a few brands. I also make my own small line of handbags. Right now, I am just dabbling in it, as styling keeps me very busy. But yes, definitely, I will have a clothing line of my own.
DB: Lastly is there anything else you would like to say that we haven’t asked you?
Simone: No, I think that covers it for now. But I would like to just say, Thank you so much for all your support! I really appreciate that you like my work, and it was my pleasure to do this! Thanks!
Not So Long Ago in Southern California, Scott Morrison Was Playing Golf: “I was always trying to reinvent golf clothes in new, more modern ways,” said Morrison, but he knew that there was not too much evolution on that path. Thankfully he was also drawn to denim, where he saw greater potential to innovate and when a mid-90s jeans movement introduced new wash technologies to the industry, Morrison moved to New York to lead Mudd jeans’ march into premium denim – before the term “premium denim” even existed.
With more inspiration than the room to realize it, Morrison was compelled to create his own company. With Mudd owner Dick Gilbert’s blessing and investment, Morrison launched Paper, denim & cloth in 1999. He was the only employee:
“It was me and three pairs of jeans selling to Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Barney’s and Henri Bendel.” Eight months later, he hired a second employee and within four years, Paper denim & cloth was a 40 million dollar business. And his timing wasn’t bad either. The late 1990s saw an explosion in luxury denim. Prior to Paper denim & cloth, the only related companies in the market were Earl (who wasn’t doing washes) and Frankie B.. Soon there were hundreds of companies – start-ups and establishments alike – selling premium jeans. It was a revolution reminiscent of the one that occurred ten years earlier in Osaka, Japan.
Late 1980s: Japan: The Osaka 5 Are Born. Comprised of denim companies Denime, Fullcount, Warehouse, Studio D’artisan and Evisu, The Osaka 5 led the hundreds of brands that emerged to produce replica denim during Japan’s “Replica Movement ”. The period saw a wave of mania via avid collectors pursuing and paying thousands of dollars for vintage jeans. After WWII, U.S. acts to rebuild Japanese economy included donating outdated industrial equipment. Among the imports were original shuttle looms from the 50s. At least one of which still remains at Evisu and facilitated founder Hidehiko Yamane’s fixation with reproducing the Levi’s 1944 501xx. The original pair was made for only nine months.
During wartime, the American government prohibited nonessential production (restricting the use of metals, rubber, paper and plastics ). Temporarily, Levi’s turned to painting on their logo – a technique that Yamane hyper-stylized, hand-painting the Evisu seagull on every pair (about 14 a day as was the max output of the old looms). This attention to detail was exemplary of Evisu production. Fans’ obsession was matched by the designers’ (artisans’) diligence in building each pair. Yamane saw denim as aspirational and Evisu constructed pieces for the connoisseur – to be coveted and collected as luxuries.
Their selectiveness about materials so particular that the replicas were as close to the originals as one could get. In the early 2000s, Evisu boomed internationally. Different pop-culture groups, particularly in Asia, Italy and the UK embraced the cartoonish logo; however Yamane’s focus was (and remains) maintaining the Japanese image, which left the brand quite open to interpretation elsewhere. Says Morrison: “One of the things that’s really complicated about Evisu is that it represents different things in each country.” In the U.S., Evisu became and urban staple brand, “very street” – as well as the most counterfeited denim product in the world. The first denim brand to sell for more than $100 a pair, and the one that spearheaded a worldwide want for premium denim lost its way a few years later.
Please continue reading this interview with lots more pictures by clicking here.
We managed to get an interview with Levi’s Visual Merchant, Benoit Tordeur. They talk to us about styling tips, what’s hot and what will be big next season, their favourite jeans and more. Keep on reading to find out more. A huge thank you to Levi’s for this. You can also read Levi’s holiday styling tips by clicking here.
DB: Which Levi’s jeans do you love working with most?
Dark finish leggings and destructed boyfriend jeans.
DB: Which Levi’s jean is the most popular over all?
Skinny jeans (legging, skinny boot, low skinny) are our most popular style right now.
DB: Which trend have you loved the most so far?
The Boyfriend as it is the most versatile fit. It can be dressed up or down, with flats or Louboutin’s.
DB: Which trend do you wish would go away?
Over the top embellishment, rhinestones and crazy back pocket stitching.
DB: Do you have a favorite Levi’s jean you love to wear? Why?
Customized 501, pegged leg, slightly oversized. I love it because it is the only one like that. You can’t find it in the stores. They are my own and allow me to show belts really nicely (I love a good accessory in an outfit).
DB: What is the biggest denim crime you could commit?
A short bootcut with high heels.
DB: What is your best styling tip?
Always pick the jeans that fit your body the best!
DB: Who is your favorite celebrity you would love to see in Levi’s?
DB: What trend is going to be huge next season?
Clean finishes vs destructed finishes. We need both in our closet. Also, overalls, coveralls and other workwear trends.
DB: How would you describe your style?
Eclectic, authentic, unpredictable, elegant and always with a neck treatment.
DB: If you were only allowed to take 1 pair of jeans away with your for a month, what would you pick?
A pair of 1947 501 selevedge jeans with suspenders buttons.
DB: What is your styling tip for wearing boyfriend jeans?
Complement any Boyfriend look with a feminine element (top or accessories).
DB: I love Denim Leggings, do you think they will be as big next season?
A little while back we gave you the chance to submit your questions for a readers interview with Paige Adams-Geller, the founder and designer of Paige Premium Denim. She has been super busy lately promoting her new seasons collection but she took the time out to answer your questions in depth. Keep reading for the interview. A huge thank you to Paige for doing this for us and thank you to everyone who submitted your questions, we couldn’t use them all but we did use most of them.
Anna: Do you act as the fit model for your own label?
I do act as my own fit model and cross fit on others. I have a regular model that comes in because my schedule gets crazy, but I see things best on my body when it comes to design. It’s how I learned about design.
Bec: Knowing that Paige already has a huge and growing celebrity fan-base, what makes Paige jeans, the jean for every-one?
There are so many different styles to choose from; there is bound to be a style just for you. Pick a rise, pick a leg shape, pick a wash and go. I probably have that kind of jean for you!
Adam: What is your favourite film?
My favorite film is “Little Miss Sunshine.” I was little Miss Sunshine when I was growing up, I looked just like her. I am also obsessed with Hugh Grant movies. “Notting Hill” is one that I can watch over and over and over.
Lorna: What is your favourite colour?
My favorite color is pink and I don’t think that there is anything prettier than green shades found in nature!
Bec: What would you say to someone who hasn’t yet purchased a Paige Jean that was looking to make a good jean-investment?
If you have never bought a pair of Paige Denim, think about what you are in need of or want. What is the purpose – a going out jean, a work jean, a classic? What kind of shoes do you like to wear? Then we go from there to decide what is best for your body shape, purpose, and lifestyle. The foundation of Paige is based on the quality of fabric, fit and finish (the wash and details). I promise the investment will be worth it.
Jen: Do you enjoy designing men’s or women’s denim more? How’re they different?
I enjoy designing both equally. I like the challenge of mens, making sure it is masculine and cool. Experimenting with washes is so much fun, that is mostly what men’s design is about for me. I LOVE designing women’s because silhouettes are so much fun to work on. Details, sex appeal and shape is what women’s is about for me. I just love designing period.
Anna: This is a random one, have you ever met Tory Burch? I feel like you’d be good friends…
Yes, I have met Tory Burch. We were chosen as SHOP etc. Magazine’s top new designers to watch for in 2005 and we had lunch together in NYC with the other designers. She is lovely!
Dian: Since other brands have been starting “recession collections” have you considered that and do you think it brings a brand “down” or hurts the brand name if you do something like this? I.E. Start a lower cost collection?
I do think that a company needs to protect itself and its brand value. While I do believe a company needs to work with its customers and retailers during a recession, a company has to keep its reputation. I recommend staying within certain price brackets and not losing the reputation for good quality. Starting a new lower price line is a good idea but can also be risky. Marketing a new line takes a lot of time and energy. However I would rather have a separate line at a lower price point than devalue the Paige brand and reputation.
Bec: As the company and brand have been growing over the past five years, do you have any *surreal* moments you’d like to share with your fans?
The most surreal moment was when I launched at the Coterie show in NY. We had people in the aisles crowded around to see the product and get in my booth to write the line. I had been so nervous about the launch and I was scared no one would come, so I was really excited with the turnout. Another time I was in Florence, Italy and saw someone walk by me wearing Paige. I thought wow, Paige is International! Another time, before I even launched the line, I was fitting my first proto’s for the Laurel Canyon style and the front desk buzzed me and said that People magazine was on the phone and a writer wanted to meet with me to tell my story. I thought it was a joke. I about fainted, I really had to pinch myself. And now…I still do! I am so happy with my career and can’t imagine doing anything else.
Michelle: Will you be coming out with a cut for girls with smaller waists and bigger thighs? I would love to wear Paige but they don’t suit my body shape.
Yes, I have a style called the Montecito. It is specifically designed for the smaller waist, athletic thighs, or curvy figure and rounder derriere. Check it out on www.paigeusa.com.
Jen & Ali: What direction would you like to see your line go in? Branching out into accessories or other clothes or sticking with denim?
I would love to branch out with more product. Shoes and handbags are a dream. Anything and everything that goes with denim!
Lorna: What is the biggest denim crime you could commit?
The biggest denim crime you can commit is panties hanging out above your jeans!
Bec: What are some up and coming projects in the works now?
I can’t talk about my upcoming projects – they are top secret! But I assure you DenimBlog will keep you posted ASAP.
Jen: Do you have a favourite jean/cut/wash?
I would have to say my favorite jean is the Skyline Ankle Peg because it goes with all of my shoes. I can wear it with gladiator heels, tuck it in my boots or throw on my flip flops or sandals and go. It’s so flattering if you are tall like me or petite. My favorite wash of the moment is Mineral. I am also obsessed with our denim leggings in the Vinyl wash and the Dusk wash. I had them on while on the plane heading home from NY – so comfy!
Lorna: What are your vices?
My biggest vice is shoes, shoes and more shoes. Also puppies, I need more puppies, I have to pet every one I walk by, I can’t help it. I just love them.
Adam: What is your favourite country/landmark/place you have visited?
My favorite place I have ever visited is Capri, Italy, Sienna, Italy, Florence, Italy and Sardinia, Italy. I just love Italy. The food, the people, the architecture, the scenery, the mediterranean, the gelato… I can’t wait to go back.
Lorna: Did you have any childhood hobbies?
My childhood hobbies were singing, musical theatre, playing the piano, and making clothes and cookies for my Barbies and for myself. Oh boy, could I eat cookies!
Bec: If there were ‘jeans commandments’, what would be your top commandments buyers should follow?
Thou Shalt not show butt cleavage.
Thou Shalt not expose muffin top.
Thou Shalt not wear ill-fitting jeans just to be trendy.
Thou shalt not wear baggy diaper-butt jeans.
Adam: What is your favourite song?
My favorite song is sappy. I love Faith Hill so my favorite song is “Breathe” but I can’t just stop at 1 favorite song! I am obsessed with Kings of Leon “Sex on Fire” and I can listen to Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe” without ever getting sick of it. When I am feeling down, I need to listen to Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You” and “Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me.” My whole company is kind of about “LA Woman” by the Doors, which is also one of my favorites. Those songs are just some of my favorites, I am a music junkie!
Jen: What do you think is going to be the next big denim trend?
The next big denim trends will be all about leggings, jeggings and more leggings and jeggings in all kinds of washes and colors. I am really excited about our Stratus, Coal, Mystery and Coast washes. Also keep an eye out for lots of baby blues this Spring. Baby blue is the new white!