Designer Jean Interviews
Here is an interview with Beija-Flor’s designer Emilie Whitaker.
DB – What inspired you the most when creating your brand?
As a child, my great aunt in Brazil, took me to the Santa Teresa hummingbird reserve in my father’s home state. The experience had a great effect on me, and was an inspiration for the “beija-flor,” (Portuguese for hummingbird) brand. Since starting the brand, my mother and I have discovered that hummingbirds are found only in the Americas which has a special significance since my mother is from North America and my father from South America.
When I was living in Washington, D.C. my friend Katherine and I went jeans shopping and neither of us could find jeans that fit us, much less flattered our bodies. The next weekend my mom came to visit and brought me a pair of jeans from Brazil. They fit me. They fit Katherine. They fit my sister. It was like the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movie, and we realized there was something special about Brazilian denim. Within a year we were interviewing jeans factories all over Brazil, coming up with our own flattering fit, and a few months later the Beija-Flor brand was born.
DB – What has been your favourite memory/experience since your company was founded?
When we started the Beija-Flor brand we initially sold our jeans at private events, or “jeans parties” often in women’s homes, salons, or even workplaces. Each event was extremely different, and women were very honest with us on their feedback about the jeans and their issues with fashion in general. I used to tell people that in these scenarios women spoke with me almost as if I was their doctor, open and honest, which made for some very funny conversations. Since we started we’ve probably fit over a thousand women in our jeans, each with their own story, which has been invaluable in helping us develop and design our collection.
DB – Do you have a favourite cut you have designed?
The Jennifer will always be my favorite jean because the fit is based on my body. Most denim companies use a size 0, 2 or 4 for their fit model, and I’m a curvy 6-8. And I think that’s why it has become such a great seller because it isn’t designed for a models figure, but for a one of a real woman.
DenimBlog got the wonderful opportunity to talk to Paige Adams-Geller, the gorgeous lady behind the fantastic brand Paige Premium! We did an interview with her a year ago and we thought it would be great to see how Paige is doing a year on from then. Continue reading for the interview with Paige. To see Paige Premium Denim’s Look Book for Fall 09, click here.
DenimBlog: So we did an interview with you a year ago, what exciting things have happened on your denim line since?
Paige: We are super excited about how Paige has evolved this year! For a brand that is and was known for being the best butt jean, we are now proud to say that we have the best washes from day to night – the key being tons of variety. Our daytime washes are incredibly cool and vintage inspired, while our nighttime washes are classic, clean and sophisticated. Also exciting this year is the growth of our celebrity fan base. We have developed our own Paigeaholics in the entertainment business like Gisele Bundchen, Rachel Bilson, Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, Hayden Panettiere and more.
DenimBlog: What has been your best seller throughout 2008 and the beginning of 2009?
Paige: My 10″, 12″ and 14″ skinnies that are part of my Skinny Core Collection have been a huge success – they offer gals a chance to create their perfect skinny from rise to leg opening. Another top style is actually the first style I ever designed: the Laurel Canyon – our low rise, boot cut. Finally our hot, sexy boyfriend cut – the Jimmy Jimmy – while most boyfriend jeans are oversized ours is almost a girlfriend jean in that it is made to highlight a women’s body. Our best washes have been Mckinley – a dark, crisp navy blue and Rebel – a dark, distressed jean with a vintage feel.
DenimBlog: What is coming up next season that we should be on the look out for?
Paige: After the great success of our 10″ and 12″ skinnies, we will now be offering them in several new washes. My favorites are Gypsy – a light vintage blue with rips and tears, Goth – a beat up, washed down black hue and Friction – a grey jean with ripped knees and worn in spots. Our Rebel wash is still going strong, so I’m happy to say that more great fits will be available in that as well.
DenimBlog: What are your favourite Paige jeans and why?
Paige: My all-time favorite is the Skyline Ankle Peg – a classic rise peg leg jean that skims the ankle bone. I adore it because its a jean for all seasons and occasions. In the Spring, girls can wear it with everything from gladiator sandals to flip flops, at night you can throw on some sexy platforms and rock them. Then as Fall comes around, they slide right into your favorite boots. We offer them in over 15 washes depending on the season so there really is a pair for everyone.
DenimBlog: What is most important to you when picking your perfect jeans?
Paige: All the things that are important to me when designing or picking out my perfect pair of jeans are even more prevalent in these tough economic times. The most important attribute is quality. I am a stickler for making sure that you get what you pay for. My jeans are made of the best denim I can get my hands on – fine fabrics from Italy, Japan and the U.S. I also want them to feel comfortable on the body and last for a long time so we use innovative wash and manufacturing techniques. Second, my jeans need to fit like a glove and not stretch out too easily – we do rigorous wear tests to ensure that they fit correctly and won’t give out over time. Finally, I need to be able to be adventurous with the details and the finish of the jeans while still maintaining the focus on the amazing fit.
We got the chance to talk to Sam Ku, the head designer of the gorgeous jeans brand AG Adriano Goldschmied. Carry on reading for this fantastic interview specifically for you DenimBlog readers! Click here for the Fall 09 Look Book.
DenimBlog: So tell us a bit about your brand?
Sam: AG is a brand that is centered on recreating vintage denim washes. We pride ourselves on offering the most beautiful and true vintage washes in impeccable fits.
DenimBlog: Who is your typical customer?
Sam: Our customer is smart and stylish in an understated way.
DenimBlog: What jean has been most popular?
Sam: Right now our Ex-boyfriend Crop in 17 Year Damage wash has been literally flying off shelves. Recently Gwyneth Paltrow, Eva Longoria, Heidi Klum, and Charlize Theron have been seen wearing this fit, so this style is quite popular with the celebs as well. Also, our Tomboy fit in 10 Year wash has been amazing. Basically anything in our ‘AG-ed’ washes has been amazing.
DenimBlog: So the ex boyfriend crop jeans have been very popular among the celebs, what makes them so different to the other boyfriend crops out there?
Sam: They are the perfect mix of boyishness and sexiness, and the wash is a beautiful medium-light shade with great distress and holes. It’s also a current favorite of my wife. Other boyfriend crops don’t have as nice a wash as ours. Countless brands out there are buying our jeans, taking them to their wash factories and asking them to try and copy our washes. I know this because these laundry factories are friends of ours!
DenimBlog: What inspires you when designing your jeans?
Sam: We always look to vintage jeans when looking for inspiration. As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, every jean really does tell a story, and no two are alike. There’s always a reason why a particular jeans has a certain wear pattern depending on the wearer’s lifestyle, job, etc.
DenimBlog: Do you keep up with the current trends or like to go your own way?
Sam: If you try and keep up with the current trends, you will always be one step behind. It’s nice to have groups or items that are currently “in trend,” but our focus is to go our own way and figure out what we think our customer will love to wear next season and for seasons after. We like to think our items have a hint of a classic look to them so that our customers can wear our clothing for years and years, rather than just one season. Also, sometimes going your own way helps spark a trend. Our Spring ’08 collection saw the birth of our AG-ed Vintage collection, our most vintage-inspired jeans, and now the vintage trend is a huge story. We like to think that we helped start that!
DenimBlog: What has been your favorite memory/experience since AG jeans was founded?
Sam: Working with people that are excited about the brand and love the product.
DenimBlog: Do you have a favorite AG cut and wash?
Sam: Personally I wear a pair of 50s Slim Selvage jeans in an unwashed, raw state. I like to wear jeans for a couple of years and break them in myself! For the AG girls, I love the Ex-Boyfriend Crop. It is the perfect mix of boyishness and sexiness
DenimBlog: What would be the biggest denim crime to commit?
Sam: Not owning a pair of AGs! Other than that, how about blinged out jeans coupled with a blinged out t-shirt?
DenimBlog: How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Sam: Right now I rotate between wearing two pairs of jeans (yes, only two.) One is the AG 50s Slim Selvage jeans in raw, which I wear at least 6 out of 7 days a week. The other is a pair of vintage Levi’s 501 Big E.
DenimBlog: We all love denim but what is it that makes your brand stand out?
Sam: Our brand stands out because we make the most beautiful vintage washes in amazing fits. Wow, I sound like a broken record…
DenimBlog: Lastly is there anything else you would love to include that we haven’t asked?
Sam: Nothing, you covered everything quite nicely.
So we were lucky enough to get an interview with the co-founders of J Brand, Susie Crippen and Jeff Rudes. J Brand is such an important brand among the jeans company’s out there. They brought skinny jeans to life! Carry on reading to see the exclusive interview specifically for you DenimBlog readers! Don’t forget to get your J Brand jeans as well, I definitely recommend them, they are super flattering and sexy!
DenimBlog: What inspired you the most when creating J Brand?
J Brand: We wanted to create a really classic and clean jean with a great fit. We looked at hundreds of pictures from the 60’s and 70’s to get the right essence and ultimately took elements from all of them to get our first sample.
Also there was a great desire for what I personally wanted to wear and Jeff just understood that notion.
DenimBlog: What has been your favorite memory/experience since co-finding J Brand?
J Brand: There are so many! Winning the Denim Designer of The Year. Kate Moss and Madonna wearing J Brand. Seeing any girl on the street in J Brand. Getting to make new things everyday that women love to wear.
DenimBlog: Susie, do you have a favorite J Brand cut/wash? and why?
J Brand: The 910 Bruiser and DKV, they are so perfect and I love the tight leg all the way down. My other new favorite is the Henderson, which is a higher waisted bell bottom in rigid denim. I switch off every other day between a skinny and a bell bottom.
DenimBlog: Jeff, since J Brand now has a men’s line, would you like to tell us a bit more about it?
J Brand: We’ve created a men’s line that is a classic timeless line and it’s very masculine. We foresaw the menswear going in that direction. There are no bells and whistles just great classic fits that are updated and it’s all about the washes. There is something for every guy no matter what their age might be.
DenimBlog: J Brand now has lots of different lines, green label, blue label etc. Which has been the most fun to work on?
J Brand: They all bring new challenges and bigger ideas so they are all equal in my mind.
DenimBlog: What J Brand cut has been the most popular overall?
J Brand: Our 912 Pencil leg.
DenimBlog: Are there any new trends coming out next season that we should be keeping an eye out for?
J Brand: Fantastic washes and expanded variations of classics from the past; like The Henderson and Babe (both bell bottoms) and our newest skinny the Marta in a slightly higher rise that is so flattering it is ridiculous!
DenimBlog: The boyfriend jeans trend has been a huge hit this season, will we be seeing anymore of this trend from you?
J Brand: We have a new fit for the boyfriend craze called ‘Q’. It is cropped and more fitted and still has that slouchy perfect vibe…it is more feminine and flattering.
DenimBlog: We all love denim, but what is it that makes denim so important to you?
J Brand: When I was younger and used to love a top or a shirt the first thing I would say is …’Okay, I can wear this with jeans.’ To me jeans go well with everything and the more you wear them the better they get.
For more information on the history of J Brand click here.