Talley: A New Denim Design Every Week, a Birth Certificate for Every Pair

by Kristen Philipkoski

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The most important thing to know about Talley is that if you see something you like, you better snap it up quick. It could be discontinued without warning at any moment because each design is a limited edition model and available only while it seems relevant to the brand’s creative director, Ben Talley Smith. The coolest thing about Talley is that each pair of jeans comes with its own birth certificate and garment identification number. When you order a pair, you’ll get an email update at every step in the jean-creation process.

Smith launched the eponymous brand of men’s and women’s jeans late last year, after doing time with some serious names including Alexander Wang, Aritzia, Rag & Bone/JEAN, Helmut Lang, Marc by Marc, 3×1 and Vince.

The business is mostly online, but the brand hosted its first pop up in LA a month ago, so look for more of those potentially in NYC and LA (Smith is bicoastal) this year. Read on for more about Smith’s affection for laundry, his love of ’90s supermodels, and the exaggerated reports of skinny jeans’ death.

What was the thought process behind deciding to release new denim designs weekly? Was it partly because trends are moving so quickly these days?
“It seemed interesting to provide newness as much as possible so launching items every week seemed interesting. Being online only currently we don’t have to abide by season or specific deliveries, our only goal is to promote product we like. It allows us to continually design new items and washes and give the customer something special every week. Something to look forward to.”

Will the designs be available for a limited time only? Will some designs be available continuously?
“No, we are building the line so for the time being everything is available until we feel its relevance is no longer necessary for the collection.”
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Will you release one men’s and one women’s design weekly?
“Yes, we are doing one of each every week. Either a new wash or fit.”

How will the customer’s ability to track each order work? And what made you want to offer this amount of transparency?
“We update customers every few days with the real time status of their jean. Anytime a jean moves from stage to stage (cutting to sewing, sewing to laundry) we update the customer with interesting facts on where there jean is as well as the people involved.
I wanted to show what goes into the process because it is so hands on. Every jean is made almost 100% by someone’s hands, so I really wanted to showcase that to the end consumer. So they take pride in what they wear.”

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What denim trends are most important for the current and coming seasons?
“For women’s it’s all about vintage inspirations and non-stretch denim. This is amazing for me since I’ve always been inspired by vintage and it allows looser silhouettes like our anti fit or the new boy fit we are launching soon. For mens its always about great innovative washes. Most of the Talley washes have a signature local coating on the side seams and waistband setting them apart from other washes in the market.”
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How do you stay inspired to create new and exciting denim styles?
“I’m mostly inspired by being in the laundry and coming up with new washes and techniques. It’s really an exciting place to be and you can dream up just about anything. I’m also always inspired by street style. I spend half my time in NY where I get most of the inspiration for the line. It’s usually based on seeing how people actually wear their jeans in thier daily life.”
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Do you have an all-time favorite denim style?
“Currently it’s our high rise slim in LOLA. It’s the perfect replica of a vintage jean but it’s so much better. We were also able to create LOLA, an amazing vintage blue wash that really marbles like an old jean you would pick up at a flea market. It’s in 100% cottons, so I love that and the fact that girls are willing to wear it now.”

Who is your favorite denim-wearing icon?
“Kate Moss always, but really the Calvin ad’s from the 90’s. Really any of the supermodels of that time, Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields.”

Is the skinny jean finally going away?
“Not that I can see. The trend is shifting towards 100% cotton or looser silhouettes but I still feel the skinny is an effortless staple.”

Levi’s Wants to Help You Hack Your Denim

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Levi’s clearly got the memo that denim-lovers’ latest passion is DIY customization. The company will soon release a DIY Hacks kit at Levi’s stores across the country, according to Refinery 29, which is rolling out a series of denim DIY articles with the brand. Look for a tutorials on making your own jeans, cool cutoffs, as well as a sew-free way to hem your jeans. If these articles are any indication, the Denim Hack kit will contain chalk, sandpaper for distressing, a pumice stone for more aggressive distressing, a seam ripper, scissors, and perhaps a needle and thread. Look for it in Levi’s stores on April 20!

Fidelity Denim’s New Women’s Designer On the Rise of Wide-Legs, the Fall of Skinnies, and Her Love of Anti-Fit

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Fidelity Denim has a new lead women’s designer, denim maven Rokhsan Enanoria. Her 20-year career the denim industry has included creative director at Larry Hansel’s Grass Jeans and for the past six years she was the creative director at Level 99.

We got a sneak peek at Fidelity’s fall/holiday 2015 women’s collection, the first to see her influence. The appointment is perfect timing for the brand—the ’70s and anti-fit (a.k.a. dropped crotch, relaxed or boyfriend) jeans, both of which are trending hard, hold a special place in Enanoria’s heart. Look for the fall/holiday collection in stores and online in August, and read on to hear Enanoria’s thoughts on trends, how she stays inspired, and the death (or not) of skinnies.

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1. Which pieces did you design for the fall 2015 collection? And how would you describe the collection?
“I joined the company a bit late in the game for fall, so I had only a few insertions in the collection. The collection was very eclectic, with a lot of amazing fabrications and finishes. One of my favorite pieces was the Slash body. It’s a slouchy-straight. It is an updated, forward version of a boyfriend body with an 11-inch rise. So depending on your body type, it can be worn in a variety of ways.”

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2. What trends were most important for this season?
“Anti-fits were a big part of our collection, and of course wide legs.”

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3. It seems like we’re seeing every denim trend imaginable all at once: high + low rise, skinnies + wide legs, drop crotch + fitted. What’s going on? Are trends going away?
“I don’t think so. We have the ability to reference a lot more now than we did in the past. Hence the wide range of information available to consumers now online (Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, etc.) That being said, I think women are becoming very savvy now. There was a time that things were very simple, we had 2-3 major denim brands and the girls had 1-3 pairs of jeans they loved and wore for years. Now, there are way more options and information to go along with those options.”

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4. The dropped crotch trend in particular is interesting to me because we’ve been seeing it creep in for quite a while—is the general public now starting to get comfortable with it?
“I think it depends on the region. Europe has been comfortable with this for a while. So it’s nice to see anti-fits and drop crotches now being accepted more in the US.”

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5. Many people are saying skinny jeans are dead. Do you agree? Are wide legs taking over, and for how long do you think we’ll see them?
“I think it’s a bit premature to say that skinny jeans are dead. I think there is still an entire market out there wearing them. But, wide legs are huge, and they may stick around for longer than people think. I think what’s important about wide legs now is the diversity in inseams and rises. More choices are out there for different body types. Remember, there was a time 8-10 years ago, when people would say they couldn’t get caught dead wearing skinnies!!!”

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6. When it comes to designing denim, how do you stay inspired to create something new each season?
“History, movies, music, and family albums all play a really big role. I have been scrolling through my family albums for inspiration for the spring/summer 2016 collection. We lived in London in the 70’s and I traveled all over Europe and the U.S. during that period. The albums are just amazing and filled with inspiration!!”

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7. Over your 20-year career, what has been your favorite denim design? What is your favorite denim trend?
“That’s a hard one… I don’t think I have ever had a favorite over the past years specifically. I have a niche and love for anti-fits. That’s what I have always worn. I have been wearing my Stella McCartney drop crotch cotton pants for 10 years now.So I guess that would be considered one of my favorites! I do have a favorite era though, and it’s definitely the ’70’s.I love the Bohemian, I love the classy Halston and YSL … all across the board, the ’70’s is amazing.”

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The Denim of the Moment Is Re-Made, Re-Done, Re-Imagined and Decades Old

by Kristen Philipkoski

Re-tooled vintage denim from Vetements, Paris.

Re-tooled vintage denim from Vetements, Paris.

You know those jeans that look like they were someone’s grandfather’s, but somehow are incredibly chic on a very thin French woman outside the Isabel Marant runway show in Paris? You become determined to find a similar pair, and finally score some old Levi’s at a thrift store in the men’s section. Sartorialist, here you come!

Re-done denim by Re/Done

Re-done denim by Re/Done

But then you try them on and you look nothing like that French street style star. The word frumpy comes to mind. They’re mom jeans in a bad way.

Re-tooled denim by Protagonist

Re-tooled denim by Protagonist

Well say goodbye to all that because a handful of companies is taking those old Levi’s and tailoring them to look good on women—even those who don’t subsist on croissants and cigarettes—and to have the silhouettes we’re looking for now. They’re taking them in a bit at the waist, tapering the ankles, and shortening the hem. They don’t come cheap, but each pair is one of a kind. Time to start practicing your French accent.

For ’70s Denim Inspiration, Gucci’s Spring Campaign Is Everything

by Kristen Philipkoski

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We’ve told you, and so had everyone else everywhere, that flared jeans are back, and seventies style is THE trend for spring. But after a solid decade of the skinny-jeans reign, it can be tough to imagine incorporating flares into your everyday wear. Well, wonder no more, because Gucci has nailed the look.

And while head-to-toe Gucci may not be in your cards, take cues from these looks and you’ll be seventies-ready in no time. Pair your flares with a high-heeled suede boot, carry a great bag, find an interesting non-jeans denim piece, and pair your washed-our flares with bright colors and patterns for a style that’s less hippie (maybe just a touch) and way chic.

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JNCO Jeans Are Coming Back and Teenagers Are Confused

by Kristen Philipkoski

Do you remember the incredibly wide-legged, frayed and embroidered jeans by JNCO that were all the rage in the ’90s? Skaters, ravers, hip hop performers and even metal heads all loved them for a hot minute. If you remember this, you might wish that you didn’t. And, like the teens in this video, you might be very confused as to why anyone would want to introduce them back into the world (Jennifer Aniston looks confused, too). But the company that makes them is doing just that. Their explanation:

(JNCO will) appeal to trendsetting men and women who wore the brand in the nineties, as well as a new generation of consumers who will be introduced to the brand’s fashion-forward sensibilities for the first time.

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And it will be fun for those who just like to know their entire body will fit inside their pant leg.

How Tom Ford Does Denim

by Kristen Philipkoski

Tom Ford walks the catwalk in a Canadian tuxedo after his spring 2015 show. Photo via Style.com

Tom Ford walks the catwalk in a Canadian tuxedo after his spring 2015 show. Photo via Style.com

Now that we’ve all had a chance to digest the shows that happened in fashion capitals across the globe the past couple months, let’s take a closer look at some of the strongest denim to walk down the runways for fall 2015. Tom Ford’s take on denim is to me the most exciting, because it’s SO glamorous. His denim skirts incorporate patchwork in a decidedly un-hippie way, and I think I would do just about anything for that denim peplum top.

The day Tom Ford has this much denim in a collection is the day you know denim is going to be huge for the season. A strong 70s influence is also evident, and the combination makes me extremely happy.

Ironically, when the designer himself came down the catwalk, he was wearing a chic black suit, in contrast to the previous season when he sported a full denim-on-denim ensemble—looking handsome as ever in both cases, naturally.

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Photos via Tom Ford

Kendall Jenner Is the New Face of #MyCalvins—This Can Only Mean Trouble

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Photo via Calvin Klein on Instagram

Calvin Klein confirmed last week via Instagram that Kendall Jenner is the new face of the brand’s #MyCalvins denim series, “a limited edition line inspired by iconic logos + classic sportswear.” The line will be available soon at CalvinKlein.com and select retailers.

Anyone remember the original “Nothing gets between me and my Calvins” ad from the ’80s? It featured Brooke Shields, who at the time was only 15, even younger than Jenner is now at 19. It was, apparently, controversial because she was so young, and because it seemed to suggest Shields wasn’t wearing underwear. Ah, the ’80s. So quaint! But Calvin Klein is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to its ads—the brand has been accused of promoting child porn, gang rape, violence, and drug use. I imagine we should all clutch our pearls in preparation for a campaign featuring a member of the Kardashian clan.

The Night When Every Vogue Editor Wore Jeans

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Images via Vogue

Last week, Vogue, Rodarte and the denim blog Jean Stories got together to celebrate all things jeans at L.A. restaurant A.O.C. Editors Sally Singer, Lisa Love, Lawren Howell, Susan Plagemann and others mingled with celebs including Mandy Kaling and Jaime King, all of whom were wearing their favorite denim from brands including Mother, Current/Elliott, Frame and Rodarte. It was a night when everyone could don denim and not feel one bit underdressed—which in my opinion should be every night.

Skinny Jeans Aren’t Dead Yet

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Despite murmurings across the fashion internet (including on this very site), the skinny jean is not dead. That’s according to denim expert Amy Leverton, denim trend forecaster at WGSN. She has predicted denim trends for the past eight years, and tells The Debrief skinnies aren’t going anywhere just yet:

The skinny still constitutes over half of sales. It’s easy for people in fashion to think it’s over, but actually for the wider public, who are only just becoming comfortable with boyfriend jeans, it can take a really long time for styles to come in, or out.

She should know, she literally wrote the book on denim: Denim Dudes was published in February, the paperback is available as of March.

So don’t chuck your skinnies just yet—or any jeans ever, according to Leverton: “There’s always something you can do with denim, it can change with you, from adding patches, to unusual stitching, to embellishing with sequins and eyelets.”

Denim Maxi Skirts: Your Go-To for Spring

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Kenzo Stone-Washed Denim Flare SkirtPreen Line Celina Denim Skirt

I’ve only been at this gig for a couple weeks and we’ve already discussed the ’70s trend a few times. There’s no denying it’s one of the biggest influences for getting dressed right now. One item in that category that I love seeing is the denim maxi skirt. I particularly love the Saint Laurent patchwork version—it’s looks straight out of Woodstock (OK that was in ’69). And you can be sure you’ll witness this style repeatedly at this year’s music festivals.

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Saint Laurent Denim Patchwork Skirt

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Stetson Long Denim Skirt With Back Slit

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Paul and Joe Alcove Stretch Denim Maxi Skirt

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Further proof that the trend is going strong? This $813 Chloe skirt is sold out.

Greetings, Fellow Denim Lovers!

by Kristen Philipkoski

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Photo by Jennifer Henry-Novich

You may have noticed a new byline (mine) around these parts, and I thought perhaps I should introduce myself. My lovely friend Jennine has moved on from blogging, and I’m stepping in to attempt the difficult job of filling her stylish shoes. My obsession with denim, and writing will hopefully help me in this endeavor.

I’m also editor over at Independent Fashion Bloggers (again trying my best to fill Jennine’s shoes!), I write about luxury style and design at Forbes.com, and I have a personal blog called Stylenik (where you’ll find gratuitous photos of my toddler and me, both of us often wearing denim). But for all things denim and only denim, stay tuned here. I’ve got lots of reviews, features, trend alerts, designer interviews, and other musings on deck that I hope you’ll be into. It’s awesome to meet you!

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