Don Draper in Denim: Discuss

by Kristen Philipkoski



Denim Don is extremely pensive and possibly having some type of breakdown.

If you haven’t yet watched the last season of Mad Men, I won’t spoil anything for you except to note that Don Draper rocked some pretty great denim in the final episodes. Hats off the costume designer Janie Bryant (whom I interviewed here). Also, it was my all time favorite season finale I’ve ever seen—I even loved it more than Breaking Bad and True Detective’s ultimate episodes.

If you’ve seen it, come in a little closer. How awesome was it to see Don wearing denim? He is feeling lots of feelings while wearing jeans. I’m assuming they were Levi’s, but I didn’t catch a glimpse of a tag. Anyone?



Denim Don hugs strangers.



Denim Don races cars and drinks BEER. I would very much like to share a Schlitz with him.

The Best Men in Denim on Album Covers

by Kristen Philipkoski

With the upcoming re-release of the Rolling Stones‘ Sticky Fingers album, I felt ESD needed to say something. Because the Sticky Fingers album cover, today as much as back in the day, certainly says something about a man in denim.

On June 8/9, the band will re-release the classic 1971 album along with previously unreleased material and alternative takes of album tracks including ‘Brown Sugar, Wild Horses’and Sister Morphine. And the band is back on tour, proving that hard livin’ is actually the key to longevity.

To celebrate the Stones and men in denim on album covers, witness my collection of favorites below. I hope you enjoy.

The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers


The cover of the original vinyl release featured a working zipper and mock belt buckle that opened to reveal cotton briefs. The buckle was modified eventually because it was damaging the records.  The model is sometimes assumed to be Mick Jagger, but it likely was an Andy Warhol (who conceived the cover) groupie. In 2003, VH1 named it the best album cover of all time.

Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA

born in the usa

It was the album cover that launched The Boss into pop stardom. There was no questioning whose butt appeared in Annie Leibowitz’ photo, and America was smitten (even though the songs weren’t exactly flattering to the U.S.A.). It didn’t hurt that the album was a masterpiece.


Neil Diamond, Hot August Night


I mean, whoa. Neil Diamond may be synonymous with “adult contemporary music,” but look at this. He’s smokin’ in this denim ensemble. Fun fact: Hot August Night is a double album recorded live during a series of 10 sold-out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles in 1972. The album features the August 24 show, and the title is from from the opening line of the song “Brother Love’s Travelling Salvation Show.”



The Ramones released their self-titled first album in April 1976. Roberta Bayley, a photographer for Punk magazine, shot the iconic cover. The magazine ran a cover story about the band in the same year as the album’s release. Over the next 22 years, the band performed 2,263 concerts. That’s pretty much nonstop touring—and pretty punk rock. Has anyone ever looked cooler in jeans in the history of denim?

Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan


I may be biased when it comes to this one, because Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite musician in the whole world. But even an objective observer has to admit this is a cool album cover. Combined with some of the best songs ever written, including Blowin’ in the Wind, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall and Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, plus with some stylish high-waisted jeans, it’s a legendary piece of history.

The Beatles, Abbey Road

abbey road
The image was photographed on August 8, 1969, outside EMI Studios in London by Iain Macmillan, who had just 10 minutes to capture the image while standing  on a step-ladder and a police officer stopped traffic. “Paul is dead” conspiracy theorists used the photo as evidence that Paul McCartney was dead. John Lennon, in white, was said to represent a clergyman or heavenly figure. Ringo, in black, was the undertaker and George Harrison, in all-denim, was the gravedigger, making Paul McCartney the dead one. False, of course, but how much do we love John’s double denim?

Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash Is Coming to Town/ Boom Chicka Boom

Johnny_Cash-Johnny_Cash_Is_Coming_To_Town-Boom_Chicka_Boom-Front-And with this outfit + this album title, Johnny Cash wins denim. It’s perfectly fine that he appears to be wearing corduroy pants rather than jeans, because one can only assume his denim duster with caramel-hued leather accents is amazing. Johnny also appears to be wearing some sort of double breasted denim shirt underneath the jacket. Chicka boom indeed.


Free People’s New Vintage Collection Answers All Your Festival Outfit Questions

by Kristen Philipkoski

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 7

Today Free People launched a new vintage collection, and at ESD we’re excited to see that it’s heavy on ’70s denim. I’m kind of freaking out about the jumpsuits. There’s also a denim bustier! And these vintage Brittanias are amazing. If you were wondering what to wear to music festivals this summer, wonder no more.

The collection is called White Out, and in addition to the denim includes lots of lace, crochet, and cotton styles. As the title suggest, the focus is on white.

Check out the beautiful lookbook below, which was shot in Venice Beach, California. Hurry, the pieces are already selling out fast!

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 8

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 6

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 5

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 3

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 4

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015 2

Free People Vintage Loves May 2015

Models: Melodi Meadows, Kelley Ash, Hannah Glasby, Morgan Gales
Photographer: Graham Dunn
Photo Assistant: Colin Levin
Hair: Tony Vin
Makeup: Karolina Bernat
Styling: Chloe Chippendale

Should TV News Reporters Wear Denim?

by Kristen Philipkoski


I like to think you can wear denim anywhere and everywhere. But a CNN anchor recently proved that the public is not ready for denim on-air. reports that Don Lemon, host of CNN Tonight, was in the City of Brotherly love on Thursday to report on the tragic Amtrak Train 188 crash wearing a crisp, dark denim jacket. And the Twitterverse went bananas.

Kylie Marie Dunn tweeted:

Who let Don Lemon go on the air in that denim jacket?! I need immediate answers. Let that be a lesson: People will actively watch you fail!

From Allesandro Stilla:

@donlemon jean jacket #fail on @cnnbrk

And there were many more outraged Tweeters. I’ll give the denim foes this one. It does look a bit weird to see a denim jacket on a news report. But maybe Lemon is a trailblazer and we’ll see more of the same in the near future. What do you think? Should TV news reporters wear denim?

Bloggers in Denim: Krystal of This Time Tomorrow Rocks Flares

by Kristen Philipkoski

Welcome to Bloggers in Denim, a new ESD series highlighting the best denim looks on our favorite bloggers.

krystal denim 2

Krystal Bick of This Time Tomorrow may have recently left the Bay Area for New York City, but she brought some laid back California Vibes along with her. I’m loving her black wide-leg Anine Bing jeans paired with a lacy white top.


She looks cool and collected, and she must be loving the opportunity to go sleeveless because it’s almost never warm enough for that in the Bay Area!

How This Designer Makes Sunglasses From Solidified Denim

by Kristen Philipkoski


Jack Spencer, a designer from Cornwall in the United Kingdom, has been working for four years to design sunglasses made from layers of denim infused with resin. On Tuesday, his company, Mosevic, launched the product on Kickstarter.

All of the sunglasses are handmade in the Mosevic workshop in the UK. The inaugural collection includes threes styles and color schemes, all of which are created using layers of denim. The polarized lenses are produced by Carl Zeiss Vision in dark gray and brown.

The Kickstarter effort is well on its way to reaching its goal: They’ve already raised $5,119 out of $7,577, with 38 days left in the campaign. I was intrigued, so I asked Jack for some more info. Read on for our interview!

Where does your denim come from?
“We are finalising suppliers of denim at the moment and so haven’t yet pinned down exactly where it is from. Most of the suppliers we are looking into are from Japan.”


Do the glasses feel like denim on the surface or are they smooth?
“One of the things that makes these glasses so interesting in my opinion is the blend of textures. The outside surfaces of the frames and the arms look and feel like denim whereas the edges and inside surfaces are impregnated with resin and are polished to a smooth surface.”

Are you targeting more men or women? What type of customer do you expect will be most enthusiastic?
“That’s a good question, the 3 styles that we are launching with are designed to be unisex styles and the nature of the product doesn’t seem more masculine or feminine to me. However, we do have some different colour schemes and we’ve found that the ‘heritage’ colour scheme (with the red stripe) is more popular amongst women. We will have to see how it goes on Kickstarter and then we can see if more men or women were customers.”


Will you be using vintage or new denim?
“We will be using new denim. If we used old jeans we could not guarantee a consistent high quality product as fabrics vary in weight and style. Trials using recycled old jeans have been inconsistent, as old jeans have been used and washed a number of times the fabric loses some of its properties and becomes tired, this effects the texture on the outside surface of the glasses.

That said, we are looking at using the waste streams of manufacturers of denim products so that we can take unused material that would be otherwise thrown out and turn it into sunglasses.”

Does the denim make the glasses heavier than normal glasses?
“No the glasses weigh about the same as an acetate frame.”

How do you get the red and white colors?
“We use denim that is dyed different colours. Because the glasses are made from layers of denim we can mix and match these colours to create interesting colour schemes. So to create the white colour and the red stripe we simply use white and red layers of denim.”
What’s your kickstarter goal? How long will the campaign run?
“The campaign will be running until the 21st June which is about 48 days. Our goal is set quite low. This is because we are able to make a small quantity of orders with our current workshop set up. The more orders we get, the more we can invest in our facilities and increase our capacity.”

Denim Culottes Are Officially a Must for Summer

by Kristen Philipkoski


If you pay any attention at all to fashion trends, you’ve probably noticed that culottes are a thing of late. And the coolest culottes, naturally, are denim ones. They are even cooler, in my opinion, if you call them gauchos. Here are three perfect pairs to wear through spring and summer—and even into fall paired with boots.

Raquel Allegra, $368


Closed culottes, $200

coh culotes

Citizens of Humanity, available July 1.

UBI-IND Founder and Designer on Why Size Matters

by Kristen Philipkoski


As you know, I am obsessed with denim—women’s denim! I confess I know next to nothing about men’s jeans. I am intrigued, though, by the often-male fascination with raw and otherwise dark and stiff denim, and the obsession with finding the best way to care for and wear it in perfectly.


So when I heard about Ulrich Conrad Simpson (AKA Ubi, pictured above), I wanted to know more. He is a designer of the aforementioned style of men’s denim, but for an even more niche clientele. With his San Francisco-based label UBI-IND, he specializes in designing jeans that fit the likes of Magic Johnson, Klay Thompson and Carlos Boozer. Rapper Waka Flocka, who is 6’4″, is also a fan, along with pro surfers, race-car drivers, and street artists. Ubi makes jeans for big dudes.


All UBI-IND jeans are made in the United States of Cone denim. And even though we only emailed, Ubi is one of the most candid and entertaining interviews I’ve ever experienced. Read on for his thoughts on keeping manufacturing in the U.S., his disdain for B.S., and who he’s voting for for president.


What is most important about the fit of men’s jeans?
“Well that’s hard to say because we try not to take a general approach to fitting you in our jeans. Similar to the women’s business, there isn’t one jean that fits all body types. At UBi-IND we have created five fits that, based on your body type, will fit you like a glove. I.e., if you’re a guy who has a small waist but large quads we have a jean for you, or if you’re the for-the-nose tackle for the Oakland Raiders, we have a jean for you. We actually sell at the Bay Club gyms in [San Francisco] which is an unlikely place to sell jeans, but I felt like, hey, you gotta go to the source. I mean what better place to sell jeans to a guy who spends his time working out? I could definitely use a little more time at the gym lately. The other important thing is how we scale in size. I not only fit on a size 32 model, I also fit on a 42 waist size, which has different needs. This is one of the things that make us very different from the competition. It’s more of a custom grade depending on your body type.”


What’s your philosophy when it comes to designing clothing for a not-average sized guy?
“We actually do have a good number of average size customers that love our jeans. It’s just not our ‘main’ focus. I think there are great brands that do it well for that guy. You have brands like Tailor Stitch, APC, Mister Freedom, etc., that do a great job. I guess our philosophy boils down to 2 words: SIZE MATTERS. Hahahhahahaah.


What have you found are the biggest complaints these men have about most of the denim they find?
“For our customer they are happy that someone is finally listening to them. My best selling size is a 34 and a 40. The industry standard is 32-34. Each of our five fits hits one or two different needs that hasn’t been serviced in the past.”


Can regular sized men also wear your jeans?


Are you from San Francisco? How did you decide to open a store in SF?
“I’m originally from NYC, but I’ve lived in SF for six years. My wife and I had our first child about a year and a half ago and I needed an office because shipping from our kitchen was getting a little much with a newborn. I stumbled upon Active Space in the mission—a great strip of shops with like-minded vendors. Originally, I was just looking for an office but I lucked out they had an opening on the ground floor and the rest is history.”


How did athletes learn about your brand?
“It started on a photo shoot for Flaunt Magazine with a stylist friend needing a pair of jeans for Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys.
So I sent them our Modern Slim style, which is currently our number-one fit. He tried them on and loved them so much that Alba Legacy, which specializes in custom suits for NBA, NFL and NHL Players, asked me to supply them with jeans for their athletes. Since then we haven’t looked back. P.S., I’m dying to work with the Oakland Raiders. I just love what they stand for so that’s my next move. Hahahahah.”

What motivated you to make everything in the U.S.? “I was tired of everyone bitching and moaning about jobs and our economy and no one doing anything about it. Let’s be honest, it’s much easier nowadays to get things done overseas, and not everything can be made in the U.S., which is a shame. But luckily denim is one of those last remaining categories that can survive. We’re doing our part. I can’t speak for others. With other companies I’ve worked overseas and you don’t have have half the politics and B.S. I’ve been on both sides of the coin for the last twenty years—I’ve consulted for brands like Diane Von Furstenberg, Tommy Hilfiger, Coach and Nike, so I get it. Luckily, we are small enough that we can be nimble. We are at a point now that we need to grow to two factories. So it’s important we pick a factory that works with the same values we have. We were introduced to Sky Blue a few months back and we will start producing in SF this season. I really like them. They’re smart, efficient, and stand behind their product with no B.S. You cant ask for more.

Speaking of B.S.: It’s funny, a few years back I sat on a panel in Los Angeles with 20 hand selected companies to discuss with the Obama team what were the big issues in manufacturing and what we thought should happen. You should have heard the bitching and moaning on how they couldn’t compete with brands like Old Navy and Forever 21. After about two hours of listening to the rhetoric, I got up and said ‘I’m sorry to break the news to you but that ship has sailed. Why don’t you focus on quality not quantity? How about even have some integrity and stop being a bunch of whores looking for 65-75 % Markup. Hah! I wasn’t around in the ’50s but what we did have in the U.S. was pride. Pride to be American, pride to buy American products. A pride in quality—something we lack now. Instead of focusing on mass-produced product, why don’t we focus on well made garments and stop being afraid of technology and embrace it already. You guys are going to die a slow death like the Music industry.’ Lets just say I didn’t make a lot of friends. But, you know what, they needed to hear it. I mean if every U.S. apparel brand made at least 20 percent of the goods in the US, we wouldn’t have nearly as many issues with unemployment. I’m no politician nor do I care to do that job. What I know is jeans and apparel. Can you tell I’m from NYC?”

Are you voting for Waka Flocka for president?
“No… but (for) some one with big balls or big ovaries!!!”

Skinny Jeans Are Out, Does Wrangler Have an In?

by Kristen Philipkoski


Now that many women are favoring a looser-fitting pair of jeans, the Boston Globe reports that an old-school brand is taking the opportunity to remind folks that it exists. Wrangler, long associated with cowboys and “W” pockets, is going with the tagline “Life is comfortable,” in hopes of attracting erstwhile skinny-jeans wearers.

But Wrangler’s parent company, VF Corp., isn’t relying on nostalgia to fuel sales. The company has introduced new product lines that feature four-way stretch, wicking, and sweat-controlling technology. It also has turned to athletes to tout the brand, with an ad starring Drew Brees.

I can’t help but think, though, that folks who wore trendy skinnies may not be the same customers shopping for Wranglers. The brand seems to be a trend-free zone that might not be on the radar of someone in search of the next big thing. What do you think? Is the Wrangler brand a viable alternative to skinnies?

20+ Favorite Looks from Ström’s Latest Lookbook

by Kristen Philipkoski

Photos by Julian Le Ballister

ERika Strömkvist, founder, designer and creative director of Ström is a native or Northern Sweden and first worked as a model in her early career. In the early 90’s she worked with Nicolas Ghesquire, Marc Jacobs, Ann Demeulemeester and others. Lucky for us stateside, the Los Angeles designer now creates made-in-USA jeans and more.

Says Strom: ”I always incorporate traditional Scandinavian qualities representing functionality, modesty, equality and beauty into every piece of my collection. For me fashion is about feeling and looking good without trying too hard. STROM Brand is about the right attitude, understated and streamlined, to enhance your own unique style.”

With this latest lookbook: Mission accomplished. Will you say yes to pleats?? They are a naturally progression of high-rise, no?


























Empirical Evidence of Skinny Jeans’ Demise

by Kristen Philipkoski

Rag & Bone skinny jeans

There’s been much chatter about whether skinny jeans are dead. Some want the trend to die STAT, while others hope the style is here to stay. Well, folks, Google has solved the argument. According to the search company’s first Fashion Trends Report, the style is in “seasonal decline,” meaning its popularity is expected to decrease in demand every year.

Boyfriend jeans, on the other hand, are on the rise, with an 89% growth in searches for the term. Ripped jeans grew 107%, denim dresses grew 198%, and biker jeans grew a whopping 552%.

So it seems the fall of skinny jeans will have no negative effects on the denim industry. Shoppers have plenty of interest in all sorts of denim styles. Skinny jeans though? It’s looks like we’ll be saying a long but steady goodbye.

Get Your Denim Look Ready for The Governor’s Ball Music Festival

by Kristen Philipkoski

The Governor’s Ball Music Festival is coming un on June 5. Lucky for the fashion and music oriented among us, Coachella gave us plenty of inspiration for outfit planning. Here are some of the best denim looks that came out of Indio. From jumpsuits to cut-offs to ’70s-inspired jeans, let these looks spark your creative getting-dressed juices.

Aimee Song of Song of Style

Aimee Song of Song of Style

Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge

Christina Caradona of Trop Rouge

Annabelle Fleur of Viva Luxury

Annabelle Fleur of Viva Luxury

Kayla Seah of Not Your Standard

Kayla Seah of Not Your Standard

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