Designer Jean Interviews
INDi, an online custom premium denim brand, wants to change the way you shop for jeans. On their site, www.indicustom.com, you step into the designer role and choose every style and fit detail about your jeans. With prices comparable to other premium denim brands, it seems that custom is now available to the masses. That’s not to say that celebrities aren’t jumping on board too, INDi already counts Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren and a number of NBA players among their list of custom denim converts. We talked to Ali Fenn, INDi’s VP of Marketing to find out what the brand is all about, why custom is hot, and how we can make our own jeans!
DenimBlog: Tell us about INDi! What makes your jeans different than other jeans that are out there?
INDi: Where else do you get to choose all your style details AND get custom fit jeans made from your unique pattern to fit your unique body?? At INDi, you get total control of how you want your jeans to look and how they fit your body.
DenimBlog: I’m a standard size, why would I need to get something custom fit?
INDi: Face it, even the most “standard” sized among us can still struggle with finding jeans that fit. Even if you and I are both a size 4, it’s absolutely possible for our bodies to look totally different. Bodies don’t come in standard sizes, so why should your jeans?
DenimBlog: True! So tell us about your fit profile, how does that work?
INDi: In our fit profile you fill out a few measurements and then answer some simple questions about your body and the way jeans usually fit you. We take this information and use an algorithm to compare your measurements to body scan data from thousands of people to determine your best fit.
DenimBlog: This sounds pretty involved, how long does the process take?
INDi: It takes a customer about 10 minutes to order.
DenimBlog: When we think about all the time we spend goofing off on the Internet, 10 minutes seems like a pretty good trade off for better fitting jeans. But what happens after that?
INDi: Once you click the submit button, we generate your unique pattern within 5 minutes. Then your jeans are cut and sewn individually. Nothing is mass-produced. The whole process takes about 4 weeks, but we do everything in our power to get you your jeans even sooner!
DenimBlog: What if they don’t fit?
INDi: People usually get their fit right on the first time, but if you don’t, no worries. We have a satisfaction guarantee and will exchange your jeans and remake them until you love them!
Ready to try custom? INDi’s custom premium jeans are offered for men and women in a variety of styles and washes. Jeans are available through their website, www.indicustom.com and pricing ranges from $175 – $200.
Well known for its rainbow colors and amazing fit, DL1961 sat down with DenimBlog to give us the real deal on why they’re fabulous. What follows are excerpts from our conversation with Director of Marketing, Sarah Ahmed.
DenimBlog: Your company was founded in 2008, according to your website. Why are you called “DL1961”? What happened in 1961? Does “DL” stand for anything (e.g., Denim Love)?
Sarah Ahmed: DL1961 used to stand for Denim Limited but we shortened it to “DL.” The 1961 is not only the owner’s birth year but in Chinese numerology it adds up to a very lucky number.
DenimBlog: Who is the Creative Director of the Women’s collection?
Sarah Ahmed: DL1961 is a family owned and operated vertically integrated brand. The creative director [is also the] co-owner…Maliha Ahmed, a New York City-based denim designer and veteran of the denim world. Prior to launching the brand with her husband, she travelled all over the world working in different aspects of the denim industry from design to production.
DenimBlog: What is Maliha’s favorite aspect of designing for the women of DL1961? Who does she design for (e.g., urban 20-somethings, career 30-somethings, etc.)?
Sarah Ahmed: For Maliha, it’s all about the product and the fine details that go into making denim. She revels in discovering new technologies, like X-Fit, and creating fits that flatter every woman regardless of age and shape.
DenimBlog: What travels, cultures, books/magazines/blogs, films, music, vintage collections and designers, or trends most inspire Maliha when she’s designing a collection?
Sarah Ahmed: She is constantly on a plane travelling to and from Europe, Asia, and North America. This way, she can get a good idea of the global denim market and trends, and ensure that our product always stays above par. Having said that, her color inspirations usually come from her appreciation of world art and a keen eye for what is hot on the runways.
Stay tuned for more excerpts from our chat with DL1961 coming soon!
We got the chance to do an exclusive live interview with Self Edge founder, Kiya Babzani. We talked about how he got his start, what got him interested in denim, how he came up with the name Self Edge, and more. You can see a few of the questions below:
DB: How did you get your start?
KB: I’ve had an interest in vintage clothing and denim for many years, far before my wife and I opened the first Self Edge almost six years ago in San Francisco. I found that the Japanese were doing reproductions of classic American styles better than the Americans themselves and wanted to bring some of those brands state-side.
DB: How did you come up with the name Self Edge?
KB: Self Edge is a reference to the word “selvedge”. Before the 20th century the edge of the fabric (denim in our case) was called “the self edge”. It was later shortened from “self edge” to “selvedge”. There are still some old tailors that you’ll run into that still call it “self edge fabric”.
DB: What got you interested in denim?
KB: I got really into rockabilly in the mid-90’s and sought out clothing that matched the music. Vintage jeans, johnny-collar shirts, etc… On some trips to Asia I discovered a few Japanese brands which were reproducing these vintage styles of jeans and shirts but had improved them very slightly and the production quality was something I’d never seen before. That coupled with the fact that denim itself is such an interesting fabric I became more and more obsessed with jeans and classic 1950’s style American garments.
It is so great to finally learn how Kiya came up with the name Self Edge. I never would have thought that is was just another form of the word “selvedge.” You can see more of the interview like his jewelry line and his thoughts on resin treatments by clicking here.
Image Courtesy of SelfEdge.com
Photo above: Lorna (left), Donna (middle) and Kim (right).
As you know I met up with Donna Ida from the famous Donna Ida boutiques in London to try out the denim clinic. You can see the previous denim clinic posts here. We thought it would be fun to do an interview with Donna, since she loves premium denim as much as we do, and find out some of her favourite trends, loves and experiences. Carry on reading below to find out more.
DB: What is your favourite cut in a pair of jeans?
Skinny then flare… and anything high waisted!
DB: What’s your most fondest memory since opening your boutiques?
There are so many – usually the funny ones though. I once ended up standing on the shop floor in just jeans and a bra because a customer had asked me to try a top on, then when she liked it on me she came into the fitting room, took it off me and threw me out! I always have a great time with Kim too, she’s our Managing Director and has worked with me for years. We had a lot of fun once driving through In n Out Burger in LA – a lot of my happy times tend to involve food. But the best memory of all has to be when I met my husband. He walked into the first boutique 2 weeks after we opened. A complete chance and very very lucky meeting. I got him at Donna Ida!
DB: You are really nice Donna, so what’s your secret to staying friendly and down to earth even though you are so successful?
Ah that is so nice of you to say! When people are nice to me, even if they just smile it makes me feel great, so if ever someone catches my eye on the street I smile at them and I’m sure it makes their day as much as it does mine. Nasty people don’t get anywhere, I firmly believe that.
DB: What trends are you loving right now and what is your favourite ever trend?
The high waisted flare that 18th Amendment did in 2006 were so me and I just loved them. They were completely new and fresh. One trend that I didn’t think I would love as much as I do is colour. It’s so easy to wear! Coloured jeans are a godsend, I just love them.
DB: Do you have a favourite food?
I have so many. I love Italian – I could eat pizza and pasta all day, but I also love Japanese, Greek, Lebanese…
DB: What sort of music and movies do you like?
I’ve loved the Rolling Stones and The Beatles for as long as I can remember, but my favourite song is Tiny Dancer by Elton John. My favourite movie is Moonstruck. The first birthday I had after I met Bobby Dazzler, he hired a private cinema and had it screened for me after dinner. He hadn’t quite worked out just how little I drink at that point and didn’t want to waste all the wine and champagne he had ordered so proceeded to drink the lot then snore through the entire movie. I still loved it though!
DB: Why did you decide to open Donna Ida?
Because I couldn’t find anywhere to buy jeans that I felt truly comfortable in. Department stores have a great selection but I couldn’t get the service I needed and I was paranoid I wouldn’t be able to get them up over my thighs and would have to get dressed and go out looking for more sizes myself. Which usually did happen.
DB: What shows do you attend?
I go to Coterie in New York and Tranoi in Paris. Sometimes I go to Project in LA and I do all the smaller shows in NY and Paris while I’m there, but really Coterie and Tranoi are the big ones for me. Trade shows are hell, but they have to be done.
DB: How do you decide what to buy?
I usually know what I’m looking for before I go, but mainly it’s just gut instinct and knowing what shapes sell at what time of year. I rarely dither, either I like it or I don’t, so I can make quick decisions.
DB: What new brands are you looking forward to this season?
Rag & Bone have been doing amazing skinnies so I’m looking to our January delivery of their legging which is gathering a huge fan base. Bleulab are a new brand who are doing reversible denim and they’re launching in the UK with Donna this December, and then there’s Rich & Skinny who have relaunched. Their fits have always been spot on – I’m looking forward to having them back.
DB: How many pairs of jeans do you own?
Not as many as you think – maybe 20 or 30? I have tended to turn them over in the past, which I now realise is a mistake. I’m not getting rid of anything from now on!
DB: Which is your favourite pair?
That is such a hard decision – there are so many I rely on but probably the one I wear the MOST is my Paige Verdugo skinnies. They’re fantastic.