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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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