An In Depth Interview With Denim Addict, Lorna Burford On Her Jeans Collection

I wanted to start this blog post by saying that I did an interview/story piece with Yahoo (see it here), which some of you might have seen, and even though I made sure beforehand that it wouldn’t be a negative piece, I can’t help but feel like the title is a little misleading. I was happy with the interview (about 50% of it was cut so I didn’t get to say everything I wanted), but not so much with the title as I feel it’s a bit misleading to why I actually have my denim collection.

The article has led to some negativity in the comments and I wanted to get my actual story across to you in full as a follow up piece, so that you get the full idea of it. I’m not a shallow person who hoards jeans, I’m not sick in the head, 20% of my collection is around 80-90 jeans that I wear, and there’s much more to why I love jeans than just the shorter answers which make it to publications. There’s always more than meets the eye with everyone. However, I am still grateful to have been featured by Yahoo and recognised as a denim expert by a team so big, so definitely check out their denim week articles as well.

I started The Jeans Blog back in May 2014 and for those of you who already knew of me from my previous denim articles and work may have followed me here, but I haven’t ever given you the chance to get to know me. With that in mind, I thought I would do a large interview with me all about my love for denim and how things got started so that you can get to know me better as the founder of this blog. This is possibly my largest interview that I’ve done, but if you love and adore denim, you should enjoy it! One of my denim friends, Tommy, took the time to put these interview questions together for your benefit. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram, and check out one of his stories he wrote for the site here and his love of denim here.

I’m sure The Jeans Blog readers would love to know who you are Lorna and more about you!

Of course! It’s always nice to get to know my readers more too and build a community here. So, hi everyone! I’m Lorna, I’m 28 (29 in August) and I live in England. I’ve been a blogger for over 8 years now and I’m extremely passionate about denim (of course!), fashion, animals, nature, and a whole heap of other things like sci-fi, action movies, space, astronomy, gardening and more!

What kick started your love for denim? Why do you love it so much now?

It’s a good question and one that I get asked often. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but I know even at the age of 1 I was wearing denim dungarees and throughout my childhood I loved jeans. I think it really started off though when I got interested in Rock & Republic jeans in 2005 and I ended up buying a pair of fake ones on eBay without knowing. I ended up realising they were fake after doing my research online and that developed my interest into jeans even more. I started learning the difference in fabrics, the fits, the quality, the brands, the washes… everything about denim just fascinated me and it grew from there.

There’s so much character in a pair of jeans, I just love them. I often like scouring through the vintage Levi’s to find some of the amazing washes that have been created through wear. It’s fantastic! I also love identifying the jeans on people, so you often find me checking out peoples jeans, especially on the celebrities as you all know, which is fun to spot what brand/style they are wearing so you can purchase them. I’ve learned so much about the little distinguishing details and trademarks on certain brands with their stitching etc that I can usually do it just by looking at the pictures.

How many years have you been building your collection of jeans? And how did you get such a large collection?

Since it fully started, that would be 2005, so about 12 years or so! It’s crazy to think how the time has gone by so quickly to be honest.

The size of the collection has amassed over that many years purely because of working in the denim industry. It started out by my love of jeans and being part of a forum where everyone spoke about denim and had to have the latest styles, so I would save up all my money for a new pair and scour eBay or buy from other members etc. I pretty much never paid retail. I think I’ve only paid the retail price of a pair of jeans about 5 times in my life.

I learned how to authenticate denim over time and would distinguish the real and fake jeans so I always knew where to find a bargain pair of authentic jeans, so a lot of them ended up in my collection because I would spend hours on eBay, but as time went on, when I got working in the denim industry, I was (and still am) sent a lot of jeans from the latest collections, new brands, new styles etc from PR companies or from the brands themselves, so I’m extremely lucky to have about 70% of my collection received as samples or gifts, but that doesn’t mean I think of them any less, they are always pairs I like.

^ A portion of the jeans on my shelving unit that I keep out.

So, how many pairs of jeans do you own then? Do you get to wear all of them?

I lost actual count around the 300 mark, so at an estimate, I guess it would be somewhere between 400-450 pairs of jeans over the 12 years. I know it sounds like a lot, and it is, I fully agree (although Vogue editor Sarah Harris has a pretty extensive denim collection too), but I collect jeans like someone might collect stamps or figurines. I’m just able to wear mine too. I have a mixture of limited edition pairs, sought after pairs, popular pairs, jeans that have huge sentimental value… I’ve also sold loads over the years.

Since a lot of them don’t fit, but they hold such a special place in my heart, and some of them are old now, I retire them into my collection properly. Some are collectors pairs which aren’t designed to be worn, so I probably only wear about 20% of my denim collection. I love every pair that I have though and despite what other people think about it being a hoarding issue or that I need help, it’s nothing to do with that. My jeans are special to me, each pair is unique and different, and the ones I didn’t get on with, I sold.

Do you have any favorite pairs? What makes them special?

I have quite a few favourite pairs, but I’ve narrowed it down to 6 for you that hold a special place in my heart or have some meaning to me. Here they are:

Rock & Republic Fuchsia Crowns – These were my very first pair of designer jeans and they hold a lot of memories for me! They were my gateway into my denim addiction.

Rock & Republic Iradium Rays – The second pair of premium jeans that I saved up for for months to purchase. I actually lived in these jeans for a good 8 months or more!

Diesel Matic 81M – These jeans were the biggest hit on DenimBlog when the forum was huge. There was even a thread dedicated to this jean! I searched for months for these and finally tracked them down. I lived in them for over a year and I still have them now (see here).

Citizens of Humanity Rocket Crop in Aura – This is purely for the wash. It’s stunning and goes with everything! I think I must have worn these so much.

Hudson Barbara Jeans in Hideaway or Bazooka – These are my most comfortable and stretchy skinny jeans in light blue or washed black. I find myself always reaching for them.

PAIGE Tristan Jeans in Lorna – These were a pair of jeans that I collaborated on with Paige herself. We met a few times and discussed the design and wash. They went into production and sold out extremely fast, even Cindy Crawford wore the Lorna wash (see here) and that was heartwarming!

What inspired you to start blogging about denim?

After being a long time member of the Honest Forum community and a moderator (the name changed to DenimBlog), I was then asked to contribute to the blog that had started because I had become quite good at identifying jeans on celebrities and knowledgeable on denim itself. I ended up loving the blog and became so passionate about it. I then went on to be the editor and a full time writer. Those of you who followed me over from there to here will already know, but since I do have such a passion for jeans, I decided to create The Jeans Blog as well so I could extend my boundaries of writing and be a bit more free with it. Since DenimBlog closed back in May 2016, I am blogging fully about denim here and am inspired everyday.

What is your favorite current trend in denim?

My favourite current trend would be raw hems – I think. It’s hard to say. I mean I love high waisted skinny jeans or I adore wearing double denim, but I don’t know if those are so much trends as they are classics now instead. I am quite fond of the cropped bootcut though – if the wash is right – but definitely raw hems! I think they add a lot of character to a plain pair of jeans.

How many days a week do you wear jeans?

Depending on what time of year it is and what I’m doing, it varies. When I work at home, I’m usually in lounge wear for comfort purposes, but pretty much 99% of the time that I go out, I am wearing jeans. They are like my second skin and an extension of me. Unless it’s extremely hot and I needed to wear a dress, you will always find me in denim, pretty much guaranteed!

What is your take on stretch vs raw denim? Have you tried to break in a pair of raw denim jeans?

That’s a good question! Both have their plus points and negative points and I see them both as individually different. Stretch denim to me is a must have because I need to be comfortable when I am walking and sitting down etc, and given that I like my jeans to be skinny, stretch is needed and the more there is, the better for me. So I genuinely love stretchy denim, I can’t be without it as I hate restriction.

However, I adore raw denim too. I’ve broken in about 3 pairs of raw jeans in the past: Sling & Stones, Good Society and Nudie Jeans Co. I never really got a long way with them as I got bored too quickly as I love variety in my denim, but I did get to about 45 wears on my Sling & Stones and they started having the most beautiful creases and honeycombs. I even put a wooden heart in the back pocket so a faded outline would appear. There is something about raw denim that makes me weak at the knees. I love making my own wash, my own art, just watching the shape and fabric evolve more and more each time I wear them, always getting more personal by the day. That’s a feeling you can’t ever explain properly, and why I can’t dismiss raw denim for stretch denim. I love them both, but generally wear stretch more.

You have a large and diverse collection of jeans. Is there any particular brand (or brands) that makes up a large portion of your collection?

There is! When I first started out as I explained up there, I fell in love with Rock & Republic. Those jeans made up a majority of my collection back then before I switched to Diesel. After I fell in love with Diesel and their cheaper price point than Rock & Republic, I ended up with loads of those and they also make up a larger part of my collection. If we’re talking more newer denim that I have gotten, I would definitely say that Citizens of Humanity takes up a large portion of my collection. PAIGE and AG are a close second!

My personal favorite pair of jeans from your collection are the vintage Levi’s 501s you acquired some time ago. How did you come across such a perfect pair of Levi’s?

Oh they are gorgeous aren’t they? I recently found another pair of Levi’s 501’s from the vintage section too and the wash is just as cool! I spent hours searching, if not days actually if you add the time up. Every time I went into shops like Urban Outfitters or something similar, I would always check the vintage denim section. I did the same thing with my vintage Levi’s 501 shorts too. As every pair is unique, you just have to get lucky and hope that you find the right pair. It took months of looking and finally I came across a pair that I thought were stunning. So never give up, you never know what treasure you might come across!

If you could only wear one pair of jeans from now on in your collection, which pair would they be?

That’s really too hard to choose just one. Can I choose one from each colour instead? If so, my Citizens of Humanity Rocket Crop in Aura for a mid blue. My Hudson Barbara in Hideaway for light blue. My J Brand Maria in Dove for a grey, and my Black James Jeans for black. I feel like you can’t just narrow it down to one colour only as there’s multiple shades you always need!

Do you have your eye on any jeans at the moment that you would like to add to your collection? If so, which ones?

I do. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a list of new jeans that I wanted. There’s a pair of Citizens of Humanity Corey Shorts in Skylight, Citizens of Humanity Rocket Jeans in Pacifica, AG The Middi Ankle Jeans in 8 Years Infamy, AGOLDE Quinn High Rise Mini Skirt in Devotee, DL1961 Margaux in Karmic, and FRAME Noveau Mini Skit in Bristol Mix. There’s many more though!

When styling an outfit, do you choose the jeans first and then style around them, or do you pick the jeans that go best with the rest of your outfit?

I pretty much always start with the jeans. They’re usually my base for a look. I figure out what pair I want to wear and then base the outfit around those, however sometimes if I have gotten a new jacket or top, I will choose the jeans that best match that instead.

Who has been the biggest influence on your personal denim style?

There’s a few people that spring to mind. Back in the day it used to be Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Jessica Alba, however more recently I would have to say it’s Hilary Duff and Kourtney Kardashian. They have such a fantastic and diverse denim collection, always trying out new brands and styles, all while putting together such fantastic outfits. Those ladies are denim queens!

Have you ever purchased a pair of jeans thinking you would love them, but ended up hating them? What caused the change of heart?

Yes I have! That’s happened only a few times though. They look great online and then when they arrive, the wash might not have been what was pictured properly, or the worst thing is the fabric content. I’ve ordered a pair before which were absolutely beautiful, but they ended up being so stiff and uncomfortable it completely changed my mind. So usually, it’s the wash not looking as it did on my screen or the denim itself being itchy/uncomfortable.

When it comes to your blue jeans, are you partial to any particular wash?

I like to think that I love all denim, however I am extremely drawn to the vintage inspired mid blues. There’s something about mid blue washes, airing on the side of light blue, with gorgeous whiskering, honeycombs, fades and sometimes distressing. There’s only a few brands that can get it perfectly right from scratch and AG and Citizens of Humanity are two of them. I definitely favour washes like that over any other blues, blacks or greys.

If you could construct for yourself the perfect pair of jeans, what characteristics would you give them?

I have actually designed a few pairs of jeans, which were to my perfection back when I made them. I designed a pair of Prima Jeans completely from scratch (see here) and those were perfect for me at that age. I then designed a collaboration with PAIGE Denim as mentioned above, and then Yoga Jeans and I collaborated on some high rise leggings. If I was choosing now though, my main points are always flattering fits and authentic washes. Honestly I’ve thought of the idea of having my own jeans brand for years and I always come up with ideas, but I think the most flattering back pockets and slimming from the front is a must, along with minimal details and authentic looking washes. I would live in jeans like that!

Have you incorporated many colored jeans into your collection? Do you have any favorites among your non-blue denim?

I have loads actually. I have every colour going from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, gold, silver to printed, waxed and coated. There’s a pair of PAIGE polka dot jeans I love, my Koral Merlot Skinny Jeans (below), and my Citizens of Humanity Leatherette jeans. Sometimes outfits call for more bright options and since denim is all I wear, colourful denim it shall be!

Thank you for taking the time to ask these questions, Tommy! I hope the readers liked it.

8 Comments

  1. Henry Coppens
    June 12, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    That last pic of you in the burgundy jeans is about as good as it can get.

    • June 12, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Lol, thank you!

  2. June 12, 2017 / 7:07 pm

    People are so rude. Don’t mind them. This is a fear though if I ever did any kind of interview like this, especially since your words often get chopped up and you don’t always get the words out that you want! I always admired you for being so civil with negativity…its not so easy for me! But either way, this is awesome Lorna, congrats on this opportunity!!! You deserved it <3

    xo Lana
    http://www.decadentdissonance.com

    • June 12, 2017 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much, Lana! I feel like it’s the only thing you can do as the anger or upset just ends up making things worse. It’s a shame it didn’t get a better title, but thank you so much for the congrats!

      • June 12, 2017 / 9:14 pm

        Yeah, that title is pretty unfair! More publishers need to realize that most people skim over the title and maybe a few photos…they were just asking for those comments. But I guess that’s how it goes in today’s clickbait world, unfortunately. You have a ton of fans who know the real you and why you do what you do. I can only hope that those who speak negatively find a hobby or passion that keeps them happy too. Keep doing your awesome thing 🙂

        • June 12, 2017 / 11:52 pm

          Thank you, Lana! That’s what I feel happens, the title is read, then maybe the first sentence and then they usually look at the photos. Not many actually read the articles, so it’s definitely a hindrance. Hopefully everyone reads this one though 🙂

  3. June 12, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to interview you Lorna! I thought it turned out really well, I loved reading through your answers!

    • June 13, 2017 / 2:11 am

      Thank you for interviewing me, Tommy! I think it turned out great too!

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