I’m really excited to be able to announce to you a little collaboration with one of the leading online fashion retailers, Zappos, and The Jeans Blog! We will be bringing you a series of 5 posts over the course of a couple of months and kicking off with the first one is this interview. I spoke to Derek Flores who looks after the menswear and denim sections and also Allison Clark, the ladies denim buyer. I wanted to find out what it’s like for a denim lover to get to work in the industry and really enjoy it! Definitely stay tuned for the next posts and check out the interview below!
The Jeans Blog – Allison, what does being a denim buyer entail?
Allison – Buying is being responsible for the life to death of the product. I am completely immersed in all things denim. This means keeping up with the current trends and demands of the customer to selecting what styles and washes that eventually make it to the site. After that, I monitor selling which encompasses re-ordering what is selling and strategizing what to do when items miss the mark. I also work with our marketing, social, and PR team to make sure denim is being featured on the site to ensure we call out the brands and styles that I want to highlight to my target demographic.
TJB – How do you predict the trends and what will sell?
Allison – It is a 50/50 equation for me- I pull multiple reports to know what has worked historically and the other half is my gut reaction. I have worked in the denim world for almost 10 years and still get excited to view the new products from my favorite brands.
TJB – Do you have a favourite jean at the moment?
Allison – Completely obsessed with my Paige Hoxton in Carmen Tear and Repair they are perfect with everything!
TJB – Have you always been into denim? What makes you love it?
Allison – I am tall and always had a problem finding jeans that fit me growing up. Once I purchased my first pair of premium denim in high school I was hooked. These brands put so much research into their fits and fabrication there is truly the right jean for everyone. I feel authentic when I wear denim. It is achievable fashion that is limitless and that will continue to be a staple in culture forever.
TJB – Can you let us in on what you predict will be big next season?
Allison – Denim pencil skirts are a great transitional piece to invest in and a denim jacket is also a must have! Hudson had great skirts this season and my G Star jean jacket is my personal favorite. I am seeing, loving, buying-destruction tears and repairs; AG Adriano Goldschmied is the best at this. If you are feeling brave- try some patchwork denim, overalls and flares.
TJB – How do you like your denim? Classic and original or inventive and fun?
Allison – All of the above! Having a well cultivated denim archive to pull from allows me to set the tone of my day. I always reassure people that denim is a worthwhile investment that gets better with age.
The Jeans Blog – Derek, How long have you loved denim for and what got you into it?
Derek – I’ve been a fan of denim for as long as I can remember. I used to really be into Levis’ when I was younger and wore a bunch of different 501’s and 505’s in crazy 80’s style washes.
TJB – Do you have a favourite pair of jeans that you own?
Derek – My favorite pair of jeans currently are the G-Star Type C 3D Loose tapered in Dark Aged Destroyed. I love denim that has character and stands out.
TJB – I know you like raw denim, how many pairs do you own and what’s your best pair?
Derek – I have around 9 pairs of raw denim. I have three currently that I wear more than others:
o PRPS Rambler in Raw 13.75 OZ
o Nudie Thin Finn in Raw
o Diesel Shioner in Raw (these guys have some stretch)
TJB – What’s the best part of your job, managing the denim team and menswear?
Derek – I’ve had jobs in the past where I had to wear slacks and a tie and do a job that I wasn’t passionate about. Now I’m able to work with some of the best brands in the world, do a job I’m passionate about and work with a kick ass team. I also get to wear jorts to work when it’s hot out, yea I said jorts.
TJB – For you, what makes the perfect pair of jeans?
Derek – For me the perfect pair of jeans are jeans that are unique. I want my jeans to stand out; either with a certain fit, cool details, an awesome wash, or even a pair of raw denim that you’ve had for years and have worn into your own.
TJB – Are you a double/triple denim kind of guy? Or do you prefer wearing one piece at a time?
Derek – I definitely dabble in double denim. I’m all about wearing a pair of jeans and mixing it up with either a denim woven, vest or jacket.
TJB – To both of you, Zappos is one of my favourite online retailers, what makes it such a great place to work?
Derek – Zappos really encourages everyone to be themselves and to do what they are passionate about. Allison and I both love denim and get to work with the brands that we wear to work.
Allison – Zappos is unique place to work and every single day is a different adventure. People are genuinely nice and I can focus on my passion for denim to create the best customer experience.
TJB – How do you make sure your denim section is one of the best with great prices?
Derek – We definitely know our customer and what they are looking for. We combine that with what the market is offering to have a great selection with all different price points. Our goal as the Denim Team is to be the ultimate online denim destination.
Allison – I am always conscious about the current state of the market. Represented brands that cover all price points is important to me.