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Category: Denim

Premium denim brands create jeans you can model at dinner or gym

Jean Sweats from Joe's Jeans/This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.

Pajama jeans may be selling out at Walmart, but that doesn't mean they're flattering. I've slipped into a pair, and while they're comfy, so is my bathrobe and snowman-printed flannel pajamas, but I won't be wearing that combo out to dinner any time soon. Hudson x Equinox

Now a couple of L.A.-based premium denim brands are taking the comfy factor and applying high-end denim design, making stylish, sleek styles that use stretchy new fabrics and technology to create a comfortable fit while still maintaining the look of your favorite jeans.

Joe's Jeans has just come out with what they're calling "Jean Sweats" pants made with a fabric that feels like a French terry, but can be processed and treated like denim. The pants allow for maximum stretch and movement so the wearer can bend, stretch, kick, run all while wearing what look just like jeans. 

Hudson x Equinox There are three styles, the Skinny, the High Water and the Skinny Flare, available in a medium and dark blue wash and retail for $158 each.

Joe's is not the only premium denim brand to start turning out jeans that can double as workout pants. Hudson jeans will be releasing a collection in December that will be exclusive to Equinox gyms.

The Hudson x Equinox Fit for Life collection also uses a knit fabric that looks like denim but feels like a plush pant. It's made to retain its shape whether you're wearing them to run errands or do a kickboxing class and the color is fade-resistant, so unlike your favorite sweats (or jeans) color stays put.

There are three styles, including a flare leg and slim boot cut, with prices ranging from $158 to $198. This is the first fashion collaboration for Equinox, and the Hudson pants will be sold in all 50 of the fitness chain's locations. 

Clearly, comfort is a key trend in denim right now and these workout/premium denim jeans make the transition from the office to the gym to dinner a little easier and obviously a lot more comfy.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

[FOR THE RECORD, Oct. 6, 2011, 12:10 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the Hudson x Equinox collection would have four styles, be released in November and be available in 49 Equinox locations.]


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Photos, from top left: A model wearing Jean Sweats from Joe's Jeans/Joe's Jeans. Two styles from Hudson x Equinox/Hudson

Stars like Kaley Cuoco, Brian Austin Green try on jean designs

Samantha Harris in the DL1961 "Samantha" jean
Is there anything more “L.A” than celebrities and denim? Yup, try denim designed by celebrities.

The  concept of clothing companies enlisting a celeb to create a couple of styles (and attract attention to the brand) is nothing new, but it seems like there’s a slew of celeb-denim collabs coming out for fall and the star names slapped to each pair are not whom you might expect. Raven

"Entertainment Tonight" host Samantha Harris has designed a pair of jeans for denim brand DL1961 fittingly called the “Samantha” jean.  Harris discovered the label when wearing their maternity pants while pregnant with her second child and set out to create the “perfect” jean to fit her busy lifestyle as a mom of two. The result is a slim boot-cut pant using DL1961’s four-way stretch fabric. They apparently retain their shape even after a long day of wear. So basically, no saggy bottom even if you’re working, running errands or after toddlers all day. The “Samantha” jean is $168 and available at

Brian Austin Green, original "90210" hunk and husband of Megan Fox is also teaming up with a denim label; this collab is for the brand Raven. We haven’t seen much of the actor (except on the arm of Fox) but judging from tabloid and red carpet pictures, he has a cute and casual style.

Green created four styles of men’s jeans that suit his Hollywood-rugged aesthetic and according to Raven’s creative director Ya-el Torbati he was enthusiastic about seeing the denim facility and experimenting with different fabrics.

Raven also tapped “The Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco to design a capsule collection for them. She designed three styles and specified features like gold zippers on the coin pocket and gold zippers on leg openings. She updated Raven’s signature trouser jean, eliminating the front pocket for a more clean and minimal look. 

The Raven jeans designed by Kuoco and Green range from $184-$196 and are available at 20% of sales from the jeans will go to Friends of Animals.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos, from top: Samantha Harris in the DL1961 "Samantha" jean/DL1961.

Raven denim jeans designed by Brian Austin Green, (example at left) and Kaley Cuoco /Raven denim.

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Unless you’re a die-hard denim connoisseur, you probably take your worn-in jeans for granted; they're simply easy-to-throw-on staples that get switched out depending on how tight the waist band feels on any given day.

But at the premium level of denim, where jeans can cost $120, $200, $300 and higher, denim is treated more like a blank canvas with fashion-forward possibilities.

And just what do the artists do? They wash the garments -- with water and Turkish pumice stones. They dry the jeans and dip them in resin. They pull the pants onto mannequins and "crease" them. They sand them and wash them again. They dry them in ovens. The entire process can take hours.

Hundreds of hands might touch those pricey jeans before they come to market. So if you're wondering if they're worth it, maybe it depends on how much you value the artistic process.

Want more on denim? Click on the links below to read more about premium denim, fall trends and a few surprising developments in the jeans universe.

-- Melissa Magsaysay


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Photo: Model in Mother's denim. Credit: Mother

'Twilight's' Kellan Lutz launches Abbot + Main at Nordstrom

Kellan Lutz

These days, there's nothing like a vampire to draw a crowd to a shopping event.

"Twilight" fans flocked to Nordstrom at the Grove on Thursday to see the inaugural 25-piece men's ready-to-wear collection from new line Abbot + Main -- and for a chance to see co-founder Kellan Lutz,  a.k.a. Emmett Cullen, brother of "Twilight's" Edward (played by Robert Pattinson).

Lutz is partnering in the endeavor with  Danny Guez, founder of premium denim line Dylan George.  Abbot + Main consists largely of T-shirts and hoodies and is based on re-creating the relaxed beachy feel of Venice. “I used to live on the corner of Abbot Kinney and Main,” Lutz said. “And I just love the feeling in Venice. That’s what I was trying to capture with Abbot + Main.”
In case you were wondering, Lutz is not just the face promoting Abbot + Main. “I am a part of every decision," he said.  "Nothing gets decided on unless it comes through me.  I put in a lot of input now like I did in the beginning.  We raided my closet to find out what type of shirts I usually wear and what kind of fabrics I like. Because I didn’t just want to be the face of the campaign, but have it be my brand.”  
When it comes to the Abbot + Main line, the devil is in the details. “We have delicate red stitching on the seams and some of  the graphic art we used comes from real photographs I took in Venice,” Lutz explained.  As for the feel, the T-shirts are soft as butter. “The material we use is amazing,” Lutz said. “That’s how I used to shop. I didn’t care who the designer was, I would just walk by racks" -- he motioned as if his hand were running over racks of clothing -- "and think, 'ooh that’s soft,' and then turn and look at it.”
“The input he has had has been phenomenal,” said Guez, who formerly worked with William Rast and People's Liberation.  “And as for our design team, besides the fact that they love looking at him, they love working with him and getting his input.” 
Fans The design team members are not the only ones keen on looking at Lutz.  Fans had lined up for hours to meet with the star.  One trio said they had been there since 8 a.m., two hours before Nordstrom even opened. 

“It’s just really endearing to have 'Twilight' fans come support something outside of 'Twilight' that I am involved in so I have to thank them for that,” Lutz said.
Though the fall line is for men only, Guez and Lutz said that the spring 2012 collection for Abbot + Main will feature its first women’s line.
Priced between $44 and $178, Abbot + Main is available at Nordstrom stores or online at

-- Raha Lewis

Photos, from top: Kellan Lutz talks to the crowd who turned out for the Abbot + Main launch. Credit: Kohshin Finley.

Fans Karen Nannery, Evan Berman and Jamie Hartley brought along their own T-shirt. Credit: Raha Lewis


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How premium denim is made

L.A. casual brand NSF launches a high-end men's denim line

Nsf new jeans line NSF, the L.A.-based clothing brand known for its casual, American-feeling sportswear, has debuted a luxury denim collection for men — and has tapped denim veteran Simon Miller as its house denim designer.

The collection uses Japanese selvedge denim, is made in Los Angeles and offers a single classic straight-leg silhouette available in six finishes.

Priced between $220 and $395 a pair, the jeans are miles more expensive than the majority of men's jeans on the market, but Miller claims they're worth it.

"The jeans are made with integrity out of the world's best denim from Japan and sewn by the world's best machinists here in the U.S.A.," he said. "And they're washed in the U.S.A.'s best laundry facility. We don't cut any corners in the production of the denim. Everyone claims to use the best, be the best, but we are able to back it up."

The $395 vintage-washed "Nash" jean, for example, is created through hand tooling and a multi-step process of adding and subtracting indigo dye and thread detailing.

Miller and NSF designer Nick Friedberg started with men's denim simply because "as guys working on a men's line, you get a gut reaction to things," said Miller, "an instinctive feeling when it's right. Neither one of us is in this for a quick dollar or so we can be fashion darlings. We do it because we've found something we love doing."

--Emili Vesilind

Photo: A pair of NSF jeans. Credit: NSF.


The denim jacket: a definite closet must-have

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Your Stylist: The denim jacket, a definite closet must-have

As we get into late summer, transitional pieces like a denim jacket become key in bringing easy summer dresses, shorts and tank tops into early fall without too much effort or expense. A well-fitting Levis denim jacket couldn’t be more classic or useful.  It’s layerable, light weight and tempers frilly summer frocks in an instant. And depending on the style, it can give your look a worn-in western look or fashion forward-edgy appeal, creating new possibilities for certain items sitting in your closet. 

For the most straightforward, timeless version, Levi’s makes several styles that are extremely versatile. There’s a rigid denim jacket from the brand (right, $198) that comes in a deep, saturated indigo with cool copper buttons that provide a snappy contrast to the dark denim. The look is clean and polished and the piece instantly pulls together simple basics, almost in the way a blazer would, but of course with a more casual spin. A darker wash in denim (jeans or a jean jacket) will always look a bit dressier due to the even color in the wash and stiff nature of the rigid fabric.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are jackets out for fall that are washed, distressed and full of   deliberate nicks and abrasions that give them Luckygstar character and a much more laid-back look. Lucky Brand jeans has a worn in style (far left, $99) with an almost tie-dyed effect at the shoulders and waist where the denim is bleached out to an almost completely white finish. The denim is broken in and moves well over softer fabrics like a silk summer dress or a thin, cotton T-shirt and swishy maxi skirt. G Star makes a jacket in a similar worn-in wash (near left, $220), but the cut of this jacket is fitted, ultra feminine and even a bit sexy, as it hugs at the waist and wears almost like a button-down denim shirt as opposed to a more boxy jacket. This version is perfect if you plan on throwing it over a thin shirt and wrapping a brown leather 7FAM12f_earheart_flight_jacket belt around the waist, which adds dimension and extra definition to the body especially when working  with multiple layers of clothing.

If something more substantial in weight and details suits your needs, 7 for All Mankind is doing a motorcycle-style denim jacket with a faux fur trimmed collar reminiscent of one generally attached to a bomber jacket (right, $298). It’s right on trend for fall and the fur and fitted body adds some luxury and    Currentelliottdenimjacket sophistication.

As far as really versatile, day-to-night denim jackets go, Current Elliott, Paige Denim and MiH denim are doing basic yet fashionable styles that can be worn with jumpsuits, dresses and even jeans. Look at how Cameron Diaz paired the Snap jacket MIHDenim Jacket Denny from Current Elliott (left, $274) with a summery white jumpsuit for a recent movie premiere. The rich blue of the jacket pops against the stark white of her outfit and a multiple strand turquoise necklace pulls everything together while adding a little festive color.

The MIH (right, $264) and Paige Denim (below, $198) versions are basic enough to throw on with workout pants or flowy boho-style dress and flat boots. The lack of bells, whistles and overtly trendy elements make these a good investment for wearing for years to come. 

PAIGEVermontJacket Rebel_1 The main thing to look for when trying on denim jackets is fit. Make sure the style isn’t too boxy on your body. The lines of the jacket that run along your ribs down to your waist should cut in a bit, but not so much that it wears like a second skin. If you plan to wear your jacket over a lot of flimsy summer dresses or items made of thinner fabric, opt for a denim jacket that has been washed for a worn-in finish as it will be more pliable and move better and lay more comfortably over your other clothes. If it’s a more tomboy-vintage look you'd like, a rigid denim jacket in a rich indigo (like the one from Levi’s) will do the trick.

--Melissa Magsaysay


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Top - Cameron Diaz attends the "Bad Teacher" premiere at Summer of Sony 3 on July 10 in Cancun, Mexico. (Photo by SPE Inc./Matt Dames via Getty Images)

Right -  Levis selvedge trucker jacket-rigid/Levis, Below, far left - Lucky Brand Wralee worn denim jacket/Lucky Brand, left - G Star denim jacket/G Star, below right - 7 for All Mankind Earhart flight jacket/7 for All Mankind, left - Current/Elliott Snap jacket/Current Elliott, MIH Denny jacket/MIH, left - Paige Denim Vermont jacket

Downtown Los Angeles stars in new Gap ad campaign

Gap New LA Design Studio

In case you missed it in Monday's Los Angeles Times, San Francisco-based Gap has made downtown Los Angeles the focus of a new advertising campaign for its 1969 Premium Jeans line.

Creative design offices for the 1969 line relocated to a 5,400-square-foot space in a former cigar factory in downtown Los Angeles last year, our Business section compatriot Andrea Chang notes in her report, in hopes of boosting the authenticity of the 1969 brand that launched in 2009, "and to better position it against the region's high-end labels such as True Religion, J Brand and 7 for All Mankind."

Monday, the company announced that the loft space is the star of its new "1969: L.A. and Beyond" marketing campaign, which will use video vignettes, fold-out magazine spreads and Gap store window displays across the country to acquaint potential customers with the West Pico Boulevard space and its L.A. environs.

According to Chang, the vignettes will be posted at Gap's Facebook page as well as online video sites, and the print campaign is expected to appear in fashion magazines like Vogue and Glamour.

"This is the center of creativity," Chang quotes Gap's newly hired global chief marketing officer, Seth Farbman, as saying in reference to the City of Angels.

As the Image section staffers roll up their sleeves and get ready for an upcoming issue devoted to all things premium denim, we couldn't agree more.


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: The creative design offices of Gap’s 1969 Premium Line, located in downtown Los Angeles, are featured in Gap’s new marketing campaign. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Frugal Fashion: William and Kate go cowboy chic on their overseas tour

CowboykatePrince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, might have finished their overseas tour of parts of Canada and California, but we're still buzzing. We just can't get enough of the duchess and her confident, elegant style.

The newlyweds are now old pros at dressing for public appearances. While in the U.S., Catherine wore a flowy Alexander McQueen gown to the BAFTA "Brits to Watch" gala, a hand-painted silver dress by Jenny Packham to a charity polo match in Santa Barbara and a white and navy ensemble to paint with kids at an art center in L.A.'s skid row. But who knew the royal couple would look so good when they went country in jeans and cowboy hats?

These outfits came out when Kate and William made an appearance at the BMO Centre in Calgary, Canada. The look was a far cry from something the duke and duchess would wear to tea with the queen, but it's difficult to watch a lively herd of livestock in heels.

William kicked off the Calgary Stampede in a blue and green tartan plaid shirt, a pair of blue jeans and boots, while Kate wore a pair of dark denim jeans, Temperley London rodeo shirt, boots and a silver buckled-belt. The couple stayed clear of the sun in matching crisp white cowboy hats.

To get Kate's look try a white blouse with a prairie feel like the French Connection vintage grace shirt (below, left) for $39.99 at For some country ruffles try the silk georgette blouse from for $24.80.


For a rodeo, a nightclub or even a leisurely Sunday afternoon, there's no need to throw down a couple of hundred dollars for jeans. For a great pair of jeans under $100 try the Frances 18 low-rise boot cut jeans by Silver Jeans Co. for $75, Meltin Pot jeans from for $45 or the 1969 perfect boot cut jeans by Gap for $69.50.

For her accessories, Kate went the traditional western route with a bold silver-buckled belt and cowboy boots. Lasso the look with the Relic two-tone etched buckle belt from for $24 and the American Eagle Outfitters suede desert boot for $59.50.


The prince, looking more like a stylish Texas ranger in his rodeo gear, perfected the look of a modern cowboy. For a similar shirt, get the Polo Ralph Lauren slim custom-fit plaid sport shirt for $39.99 from, American Eagle Outfitters plaid button down for $39.50, Cockpit navy blue plaid shirt for $44.99 from or the eco-conscious Swell the Josh Organic flannel shirt for $39.50. from Just remember to roll up the sleeves!


Continue reading »

Meet Hoyle Jackson, a fresh new face on the blue jean scene

Hoyle_Jackson_logo For the June 5 issue of Los Angeles Times Magazine, I penned a piece about a particularly stealth, and relatively new, denim brand called Hoyle Jackson, the creation of sisters Nina and Clare Hallworth and close friend and business partner Geoffrey Roiz, all bearing a long track record as celebrity stylists.

It's worth checking out (both the story and the line) if you're looking for a denim brand that doesn't currently suffer from Kardashian-level over-exposure -- or if you're convinced there isn't a celebrity stylist left on earth who won't shill or spill on their celebrity clientele to boost their own bottom line.

As stylists, the goal of the trio behind Hoyle Jackson is, as Clare Hallworth put it: "That when we collaborate with someone, it looks like we don't even exist."

Which means that of all the things going into the line, ego isn't one of them.

Which is a refreshing change of pace, indeed.


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: The sunburst and moon logo for the new Hoyle Jackson denim brand was created by graphic artist John Van Hamersveld. Credit: Hoyle Jackson

Bleulab jeans are two pants in one

Detour Nitrious
Ever wish you could just turn your jeans inside out and get some extra mileage out of them before  laundry day? L.A.-based denim label Bleulab is giving wearers that option with reversible jeans that flip Alumina - kelly green Alumina - cayman blue2 to reveal another shade of blue or an even more striking and bright color like an emerald green. 

Founder and designer Carl Jones (he started Cross Colors back in 1989) uses double-sided fabric, sewn in pockets and two-way zippers and button closures to create pants that don’t actually look like you’re, well, wearing them inside out. Each pair is treated with a different wash, so one side might be a charcoal gray and the other a wax-coated black.

There are 20 color combinations in the line and four pant styles including a boot cut, skinny, wide leg and legging. Jones has also included a zip-up hoodie that’s black on one side, gray on the other and denim jackets that reverse to reveal a metallic side that’s flashier than the more subdued, standard blue side.

It’s an interesting concept that could provide more wardrobe choices, possibly less laundry (though ideally that wouldn’t be the case) and only slightly less obvious walks of shame.

Bleulab jeans range from $174 to $216 and are sold at Neiman Marcus Cusp and

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos, from top:  Bleulab Detour Nitrious jeans

Bleulab Alumina jeans in Cayman and Kelly green. Credit: Bleulab


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