These days, it seems the most popular accessory is a troupe of all-powerful “it” girls. For proof, just ask Taylor Swift.
Siwy Denim is doing the same. To celebrate its 10th birthday this fall, the brand invited 10 special guests to design jeans for an Anniversary Capsule Collection. From DJs and musicians to style bloggers and photographers, all of the guest designers are “‘it’ girls,” in Siwy’s words, who embody the brand’s spirit of being tough and bold, yet soft and feminine all at once.
The so-called “it” girls are experimental filmmaker Arden Wohl, actress Birdie Bell, D.J. Chelsea Leyland, blogger Christina Caradona, model Cory Kennedy, blogger Courtney Trop, blogger Jenny Ong, blogger Kelly Ash, TV host-turned blogger Marianna Hewitt and D.J. Mia Moretti.
“We picked these girls based on how their personality and styles reflect back to our spirit and heritage,” Shehera Mocellin, Siwy’s VP of sales, told the Observer. “We liked having them be a fresh, more relatable face as opposed to a random model.”
We talked with Ms. Leyland, Ms. Moretti and Ms. Kennedy to get a better feel for how they designed unique pairs of trousers for Siwy’s 10th Anniversary Capsule Collection.
What was your design inspiration?
I wanted to try to create a pair of jeans that were my dream pair of jeans. I decided to go for the perfect pair of black jeans—something that I would wear, and live in, and wear again and again and again. Something that was flattering on my body shape, and also that I could see all of my friends wearing, as well.
What do you look for in a “dream pair of jeans”?
I think the main thing is really shape. Sometimes you see a great pair of jeans, and you try them on and they just don’t fit your shape. So I really wanted to create a high-waisted pair of jeans, but I also wanted to create a pair without pockets in the front. Most of my favorite pairs of jeans over the years don’t have pockets in the front, which I find so much more flattering on a female physique.
Are denim trends different in the U.K. versus in NYC?
I think people just take more risks in the U.K., always with fashion. I feel like people tend to follow trends less in the U.K., especially amongst my friends. People just wear what they like, and it’s almost like skirting the trend—they want to stand out.
Who do you picture wearing your Siwy jeans?
Any girl that’s looking for a really good pair of black jeans. The nice think about wearing black jeans is you can wear it with a black cashmere jumper and white T-shirt and you can have a very basic look, but you can also wear it with something funky—some incredible fur jacket, or something like that, and some amazing boots with it in the winter.
I think every girl needs a pair of good black jeans, especially high-waisted ones that are flattering on your body. The fact that they’re high-wasted and not low rise, I always think that’s more flattering on the female body. Low rise, you do have to have a very skinny build—otherwise everything kind of hangs out the side. My idea is that my jeans fit everyone.
How did you get the idea for your denim design?
I got the idea because my friends and I, we have a couple of pairs of these jeans that we took from our friend’s dad, who’s a very, very skinny man—a tall, skinny man—and they’re, like, his old jeans that are too big on him, I think. They got handed down to his daughter and all of her friends. That’s why I named them the Big Daddy.
The jeans have a really unique shape.
It was sort of a play on the boyfriend jean, but my own take on that. To me, wearing your dad’s jeans is a lot cooler than wearing your boyfriend’s jeans. So that was my variation on that.
The reason why we love these jeans is because they had a really hard stiff feel to them, and they weren’t trendy at all. It wasn’t a flare leg or a skinny jean or a low waist—just the most basic sort of jean that you would imagine, something that’s been around forever.
Why did you want to avoid being trendy?
I think that’s just not really my personal style. Whenever you’re putting your name on something and you’re designing something, you want it to represent who you are the most. Probably because I travel so much—I’m kind of going to one city from three other cities with the same suitcase—I always gravitate to pieces that are a little more classic, versus trendier pieces.
Tell me about the design process.
From the start, it was figuring out what wash it was going to be, what the seams were going to be, what the inseam was going to be, what the fit was going to be, what color thread—I really wanted to have the old Levi’s look—a dark, thick denim with the almost orange color thread.
Then we played around a little—did we want to write Big Daddy on the back pocket? … [But] I didn’t want to make something that in a year you look at it and think, ‘Why did I buy this?’ I wanted something that was going to able to be a staple in your wardrobe and something fun to play with, that could take on many roles.
When you shop, do you look for clothes you can wear for years to come?
I buy things on an emotional level. If I see something that really resonates with me, it doesn’t really matter what the brand is, or what the style or trend at the moment is. It’s pieces that I fall in love with, the same way that they say you should buy art.
When you were first tapped by Siwy, what design ideas came to mind?
Well, I was psyched because I love denim; I wear jeans practically everyday. So when someone comes to me about designing anything, my first thought is… think outside the (denim) box, with maintaining my own style.
Were there any particular sources you drew on for inspiration?
I wanted something I would wear, and a piece I didn’t have in my personal wardrobe. I didn’t draw any sources for design inspiration—just my imagination, to design something that would give Siwy an extra something special that wouldn’t ordinarily be designed in their line. I wanted something the Siwy girl would take a slight risk wearing in an exciting way.
How do you picture your jumpsuit being worn?
[Girls] could wear the jeans to work with a change of shoes and/or top and look completely appropriate for a night out. Not to mention, everything is so comfortable. It’s really fantastic.
I knew [it would be fantastic], with the options I designed: [You can] roll up the sleeves/bottoms; tighten the waist; button and unbutton the jumpsuit, especially to layer with a different top or leotard (like something lace or sheer), giving the outfit more contrast. And being able to make it easy to dress up, with the option of making it more on the sexy side, or keeping it a bit more tomboy. And of course POCKETS. I love pockets, when it comes to pants it’s one of the most important parts for me.
How popular is denim in NYC’s nightlife scene? What trends have you noticed?
I do see a lot of women wearing jeans out, especially with stilettos. For a while its been very trendy to be wearing jeans with tears/rips. The tapered style is still going strong, but recently there have been a lot of wide leg jeans and pants out. I like to see people taking risks with that style because I have several pairs, and if I don’t dress with it correctly I feel uncomfortable and sloppy. So kudos to those women rocking that style! Also the ’70s are back, but that comes and goes all the time.
Check out the rest of Siwy’s Capsule Collection on Ronherman.com.