Job description: Creative Director and Co-owner
I started James Jeans because…: When I first moved to LA from the East coast, I went searching for a perfect-fitting pair of jeans. After all, that’s all anyone wears out here, and coming from New York, I wasn’t exactly equipped. As I searched through literally dozens of premium and even non-premium brands, I grew frustrated as I felt there was always something missing, always something that just wasn’t right – whether it was the pockets giving my rear a strange shape or the back rise being too low and leaving me semi-exposed when I sat down or bent over. In my mind there were just so many fit elements that left me unsatisfied. This got me to thinking that I must not be the only woman who suffers from this. There must be thousands of unsatisfied women who were craving that perfect fit just as much as I was. From that point on, I decided to dedicate my time to creating the ultimate-fitting pair of jeans. My background in classical draping made this…I wouldn’t say a challenge, but it was definitely interesting. I am accustomed to draping fabric on a dress form, but denim requires a more 2-dimensional approach. I decided to stick with the artistry route of draping and give it my best. I created my first fits on actual models (size 27), and when it came time to place the back pockets I found that I just I couldn’t do it. A woman’s rear is 3-dimensional and curved, and here I was trying to optimally place my flat 2D back pockets on it. My hands just took over as a reflex and started folding a dart which made the pocket lay along my model’s curves naturally and even give support – who wouldn’t want this! Well, that was the beginning of the James Jeans patented back pocket dart, and the rest is history. So much has changed since then – new fabric technology, new washes, details, and even machinery to make the creation of a pair of jeans completely automated! And yes, we evolve and move forward just as you have to in any industry, however there are three things that I will never let change about our products. The fit, the quality and the trust. I will always stand by our fit and will provide uncompromised quality with no bearing on economic changes. And lastly, we at James Jeans can always be trusted to create everything from the patterns to the sewing – even the washes – by hand. That was the only way for us nine years ago and we will continue this way forever.
The first piece of clothing I ever designed was…: A handmade cable knit vest that I made with my grandmother when I was nine. I loved my powder blue vest and remember the feeling of pride when I wore it. Oh and I wore it everywhere!
My favorite denim trend for fall is: COATED DENIM! I cannot get enough our Twiggy coateds. They are seriously the softest coated jeans on the market and I am not just saying that because I made them!
My go-to pair of jeans on a rushed morning: I rotate between my Neo Beaus and Shortys throughout the week. Not only can I work all day in them since they’re oh-so-comfy but I also feel very sexy and chic. They are my ultimate day-to-night styles.
If I wasn’t a designer, I’d be…: My dream, or more so my retirement plan, is to open up an animal shelter. I just don’t know how I am going to resist not keeping all the animals for myself!
Best piece of advice I’ve ever received: It would be the very first advice that I received from my grandfather. I was about six years old and he read me an ancient Chinese poem. It is very long and a bit hard to explain but the gist of it was about never giving up, never surrendering, and that you can truly achieve anything that you put your mind to. Don’t waste time complaining – just go out and do it. Worst advice….”You should get bangs.” Still upset about that one.
Three things I can’t live without: My three puppies (below), coffee, and a credit card
Favorite music to design to: R&B all day long
Biggest fashion inspiration: Color and texture. I am so inspired by the natural colorings that are found in reptiles. This coming spring season I have been mixing these colors and prints with a multitude of coating techniques for added dimension along with surprising hues mixed in with the organic colorings you may find on a python or even an alligator. The end result has become our new obsession!