The details of my denim obsessed-life are quite inconsequential…ok, just kidding. Just like with a classic movie quote, I always love to look back and revisit things that make me smile…in this case, what led to me actually working in an industry I absolutely love: premium denim! Honestly, I went from barely any interest in denim to a collection of more than 200 pairs, my own blog, and a position of Brand Relationship Manager at one of the biggest denim blogs on the internet. Sometimes I feel like pinching myself!
I’ve always loved the playful side of fashion, and appreciated an otherwise-simple industry, type of product, or subject with a never-ending range of possibilities and innovation that make it bigger than most people could ever imagine. I guess you could say that I tend to be a bit of a collector as a result (which is, yeah, true), but I’ve been a creative since childhood, working now full-time as a web developer and graphic designer (and DJ on the side). It is so fun watching what designers and artists continuously come up with, as I very well know what it’s like to catch the occasional creative block! Not many people would think much about a pair of jeans…but once I discovered what the industry was all about, I was hooked. For good.
Growing up, I collected butterflies (I thought I’d be an entomologist), bottle caps, Breyer model horses, stamps for awhile, rocks (still do…), even at one point almost venturing into those fun 6 inch tall stripper heels (because dude have you SEEN how many different kinds there are?). You get the idea. I can’t really recall any favorite pair of jeans at the time. In high school I wore mostly leggings, skirts, shorts, and pleather pants (yes really). In early college, I just had a cheap pair of jeans that were comfortable for awhile. They were so cheap that the zipper kept falling down to the point where I finally secured it up with a hair tie on the button‚ I just didn’t care very much.
Later on, when ripped and distressed jeans became popular, I coveted a pair of the pretty looking ones at Abercrombie and Hollister because I dug the edgy look of the rips, paint splatters and rhinestones. I didn’t want to spend the $50, so I bought a sale pair of Hipsters from American Eagle and ripped them up myself, then glued rhinestones, splattered paint and sewed patches on to them! I loved and danced them out at several concerts and music festivals. Then, my sister introduced me to a favorite pair of her own, some low rise bootcuts from Gap. I guess you could say this might have really been my first favorite pair, because I hadn’t really even heard of the concept of a favorite jean‚ until she told me how soft and comfortable they were and I finally saw some of the many facets of standard denim detailing art, like fading, washes and whiskering up close, apart from the flashy embellishments at Abercrombie.
I ended up with two pairs from Gap, the Long and Lean Straight being a true favorite for a bit until I wore them out. When I worked on campus in college, a friend introduced me to True Religion, prancing in with her new pair of beautifully distressed Joeys while excitedly sharing how worth it the higher cost was due to the fit and general higher quality. I was instantly intrigued and wanted my own! However, it wasn’t until many years later until after graduation when I stumbled into the premium denim world, when I found a super soft pair of jeans in a pile of clothing my sister was about to donate. These quickly became my new favorites and upon a curious Google search, I couldn’t believe I was wearing a $175 pair by a brand called James Cured by Seun. To really set things off, the e-commerce company I worked for owned a denim boutique downtown (which I designed window posters, POP displays, newsletter ads and websites for) which was partnered with Lucky Brand Jeans. After my first pair of Luckys (the Little Maggie), the enlightenment was complete, the denim collection began, and the rest was history.
After taking a step up with my two denim pals Lucky and James, I stumbled across the popular online boutique Revolve Clothing, and returned several times as they always had great deals in their sale section! In fact, I remember finally scoring a pair of True Religion jeans here, a pair of the rigid Billy straights. I had no idea what the different kinds of jeans were, or washes, or fabrics…I was just excited to finally have a brand new pair of premium jeans, even though they were SO tight and took a lot of hope and stretching to break them in!
Up next, also at Revolve, came the 7 For All Mankind Roxanne jean, which I promptly took a nap in when I received them and was enamored by their comfort factor. Shortly after, the world of online sample sales came to fruition, and opened the doors to my soon-to-be-exploding denim collection. Hautelook, Gilt Groupe and RueLaLa made premium denim more affordable, and I became addicted to the wide range of styles, washes, cuts and brands.
As I heard of new brands entering the downtown denim boutique, I hightailed it to my email inbox every morning to see which of those brands I could find at a cheaper price online. After a few months, denim became my delightful morning staple- every outfit was dictated by what pair of jeans I was in the mood to wear for that day. Frankie B, Joe’s, J Brand, Taverniti, Rich & Skinny…the list goes on with my first few favorite brands. I still own and wear many of these jeans to this day! The collection grew and grew as did my fascination for denim. I started following some denim blogs, like DenimBlog, Denimology and of course, Lorna’s own Raindrops of Sapphire. This took my love for denim to a different level, as I grew tired of simply collecting jeans. I wanted to somehow be more involved in the denim world, as I realized my obsession was turning into more of a passion.
I considered blogging, but had no idea how to start or even keep up a momentum. This all changed though, when one day I received one of my usual daily newsletters from Denimology, which included an ad for new denim reviewers! The ad asked for blogging experience, which I had none (unless you count Livejournal), but without even thinking twice, I responded to the ad with as much passion as I could muster. The response I got back suggested I do a sample review of a pair of jeans I already had, so I grabbed my AG Stilt jeans in 10 Years Rio, employed my husband who is a budding photographer, and went to town! The review got me instant access into Denimology as a reviewer, and finally my denim love finally had meaning. Feeling like I could give back to people like I once was when I would scour the internet for information on jeans I wished to buy, with honest and real reviews and other editorials that I was encouraged to write, was exactly the next step I was looking for. Apart from the love for any tangible item lies a love for inspiring or assisting others, which sometimes feels better than the gifts I receive from brands in exchange for reviews themselves!
Joining the Denimology team also gave me the nudge and motivation to finally start my own blog, which I did, and had more momentum going for it from the get go than I ever thought I would have. Fast forward to a year later and now I am a Brand Relationship Manager at Denimology, working closely with brands to get them up and running with reviews and other content, managing the review team (which I am still a part of and have brought several friends in as reviewers), writing editorials, and so much more, and am having a complete blast. My blog, Decadent Dissonance (which I named for my deliciously wide, random range of interests, most of which have nothing to do with each other), has been running very well for about two years now, which started with a focus on denim but now expands out to ethical, sustainable, and charitable apparel brands as well. It is such a trip sometimes because I started without much of an aim, but fell into subjects I love which brought me down a path which is finally being recognized across the web.
I’ve discovered so many new favorite brands and individual pairs of jeans with Denimology and my own blog combined that it really is so hard to narrow it down! I’ve been moved by the amazing fits and fabrics (as well as eco-friendly wash processes) of Level 99, the sweatpant-like comfort and gorgeous detailing of the Rich & Skinny Boyfriend in Twilight Vintage (bought at the boutique), Pharrell William’s Raw For the Oceans collection by G-Star RAW which makes apparel out of plastics found in our oceans, hand-painted jeans by Dragonfly by J Claire, finding my fit with FitCode which led me back into the high rise game with the Citizens of Humanity Rocket jeans (which were gifted to me by FitCode to review their service), the impressive premium-like fits and innovations of not-so-premium brand American Eagle Outfitters, landing into the wonderful world of selvedge denim with the Cult of Individuality Alter Ego Boyfriend jean, reaching out to and forming a fun relationship with AYR, the impeccable handmade details of the S/S Number 019 jean by luxury denim brand Diego Milano, being a helping hand with the amazing new brand SCHOEN by YU with the Muse jean, and so much more!
I just can’t pick a favorite. I kind of feel bad because I know I’m leaving so many out! But either way, I absolutely love working in the denim industry, and who knows, maybe someday it will lead into a full time career. But for now, I simply enjoy applying my passion for denim, and doing my best to give back to others, whether they are an aspiring startup brand that deserves a blog post or a budding denim fan like I was, just looking for some advice on finding that perfect jean…or two…or three…
Up next for me? Who knows, but after working with a few denim suppliers at Denimology, rather than just denim brands, and discovering selvedge and raw denim as well as alternative and sustainable wash processes, I am very curious into the actual manufacturing process of denim. I hope to soon visit a wash house or a mill and see things up close and personal. When an obsession turns into a passion, it sure becomes obvious…and it’s then that you realize that the possibilities are endless!
A huge thank you is going out to Lana Ober for sharing her denim story with us here at The Jeans Blog. It’s so nice to meet other people out there who are just as passionate about denim and jeans as I am myself. I know there’s a huge community of us out there who have so much love for the blue fabric, so please do get in touch and share your story with us too! We would absolutely love to hear how your relationship with jeans started and why you love them so much!