When women slip into their favorite pair of jeans, something rather amazing happens. She instantly feels more confident and holds her head high. You may even see her slowing down in front of storefront windows to check out how much longer her legs look and how much firmer her backside appears. Her friends are envious and wonder where they can buy these awesome jeans for themselves. But that’s where the problem with women and jeans is. We look at what makes other women look great and think they will work the same magic on our frame.
Stop. Consider your body type and what you want to show-off and what you are trying to camouflage to find a fit that works. Then you will be the envy of all your friends.
1. From where do you draw your inspiration when designing denim?
We spend a lot of time looking both forward and backward. When looking back, we look at vintage denim. Because denim is such a true map of people’s lives, we can get a lot of great inspiration and stories. When we look forward, we often get inspired by new technologies and global fashion trends. Lastly, we spend a lot of time at rodeos, looking at what is coming out of music festivals and watching our consumer so we can really connect with how they live in their jeans.
2. What’s involved in trend forecasting?
Hope and a magic 8 ball! Seriously, we look at trends coming from all over the world, and specifically at key trendsetters both outside and inside our market. Even the most forward trends wind up working their way through the market, and these days that happens really fast.
3. What kinds of changes have you seen in denim styles over the past few years?
The biggest change has been in fabric. Historically, building technology and performance into denim has been a challenge, but we’ve seen huge improvements in the past few years. Stretch is the big story and has been for a while, but now we have technologies that improve shape retention (how the denim holds its shape after hours of wearing), softness, and breathability. Durability is also a big story. We are now able to get the durability of a heavy-weight denim into a much lighter weight fabric. All of this means jeans are more comfortable and relevant to an active life than ever before.
4. Are cuts/style/washes staying the same or constantly evolving?
While the 5 pocket jean will always be the classic, I think it is always evolving. We’ve seen the cuts go from body-hugging/body con jeggings to more body-skimming silhouettes like trousers, leg-lengthening boot cuts and flares and slim boyfriend jeans. Washes are always evolving, and the level of detailing (stitching, embellishment) will always go up and down. The key is to always make sure it is flattering no matter what the trend cycle.
How do you find the perfect style for your body style? Ariat has the best fit guide to help you out!
5. What are the most common struggles that come with designing denim?
The fact that indigo and cotton hate each other is the biggest struggle! The indigo dye is always trying to escape the cotton and that’s why denim gets so visibly different after a long period of wearing. But this struggle is also what makes it fun. The inherent conflict is what enables us to build a product that looks compelling. The other big challenge is keeping it looking authentic. The teams that work on our denim are made of true artists who really care about making an authentic looking jean. All of the wear marks on our jeans are done by hand, not by a machine. It is really amazing to watch.
6. What is your most popular denim style and why do you think women love it so much?
By far, the R.E.A.L. Denim styles are our most popular. They were designed with a lot of input from riders and trendsetters in our industry. We’ve gotten really great feedback on three key points. First, they love the fit: it is engineered for a leg-lengthening look and built so that the waistband doesn’t gap or fall down when you’re riding. Second, they love the fabric: it has great shape retention and doesn’t stretch out after wearing. Third, they seem to respond well to the styling: it is simple enough for every day but interesting enough to go out to dinner after the barn, or use for everyday wear.
7. What’s the best part of your job?
There’s a lot that is the best part! I love the craftsmanship involved with denim. We have to think through every detail and make sure it means something. Denim is a reflection of the wearer that only gets better over time, and I love the idea of our jeans being a part of somebody’s life. We’ve got an incredible team here that works on the product, unlike any I’ve ever seen. It is a real joy to work with them. Lastly, I’m also a rider… getting to go to work every day to mix what I do (denim design) and what I love (riding horses) is a very, very special gift. I’m a lucky girl!
Photo Credit: Ariat