Regardless of your age or personal style, there is one wardrobe staple that is undoubtedly the great fashion equalizer: denim. Denim has elevated far past its casual roots to become a highly functional and multidimensional essential that rounds out any individual’s wardrobe. While renowned brands, from Levi’s to Seven Jeans, have staked their claim in this industry, newcomer Siwy Denim is bringing a refreshing perspective to the market that can’t be ignored. Founded by designer Michelle Siwy, who joined forces with a leading denim factory in Los Angeles, the collection of trendy yet timeless garments use the best production practices to create good denim with a refreshing high fashion flare. Since the brand’s inception, their denim has been spotted on some of our favorite “it-girls”, from Vanessa Hudgens to Gigi Hadid.
Our team at The LA Fashion got the inside scoop on Siwy Denim during a chat with their CEO Kris Park just weeks after their S/S 2017 runway presentation at Art Hearts Fashion.
Can you tell us a bit about your brand’s story? How did it all begin?
“Siwy came to life as the brain child of Michelle Siwy. She was a denim designer that came to our factory first just for production as we were one of the first and best premium denim factories in Los Angeles. Our production facility has made pieces for brands such as Levi’s, True Religion, Hudson, Paige and pretty much any significant denim brand of the time. As our relationship grew with Siwy we took an interest in the brand and its vision so we eventually ended up buying it!”
Siwy Denim prides itself in being authentically made with care in Los Angeles. What aspect of the production process is most important to your brand, and how does it make your denim stand out?
“There is no one aspect we pride ourselves on. We pay equal attention to every aspect – everything from the time a design is conceived until it ships to a store or consumer! We have the best sewing facility and wash houses in LA involved in making a true premium jean. Since the recession, so many brands have moved to cheaper sewing or washing in order to be able to lower prices or increase profit. We are lucky to own our resources so that we can still use only the best fabrics, and processes that many other brands had to move away from.”
What do you look for in a good pair of jeans? What’s your go-to wash and fit?
“Today there is so much competition in the market that everything needs to be right, from the fit to the wash and most of all – consistency. Building a loyal trusting following is so important. Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to what they wear so we want them to be happy they chose Siwy from the moment they try on their first pair and for them to keep coming back for more!”
What are some of your favorite denim trends from the SS17 runways?
“I love that there is a movement back to basics – good old core denim. We are seeing straight legs and low rise coming back and of course the current trend has everyone relooking at and wearing rigid denim! Jimmy Taverniti has been a part of so many trends over his career so having him on board as Creative Director is an amazing benefit for us. He not only recognizes trends but he has designed them before so he knows what to look for how something should fit!!! When you have someone with his history he not only knows what works but sometimes, just as importantly, he knows what doesn’t. It’s just so great and gives us a lead against other brands. People always ask me How do you know? And I’m fortunate to have a great team at all levels always bringing ideas to the table.”
Your SS17 collection, which debuted to rave reviews during Art Hearts Fashion, had a mix of London streetwear swag with a classic American flare. What were some of your key inspirations for this line?
“There are so many, our design, sales and merchandising all really work together as one unit, and they are always traveling around the world so we see so many things that influence us. Today as we have grown and now have our sales and marketing office headquartered out of our NY office, our design team here in LA, that alone gives us a great amount of diverse input. What’s on the streets in NY is so different then what’s on the streets in LA. In addition, we also have strong sales teams in many European and Asian countries so we are always getting input from all over the world. I like to think that all this input is why we have such a diverse following of customers and therefore so important for that we have something for everyone.”
What’s your favorite piece in the collection?
“That’s not a fair question to ask me, I have so many I couldn’t decide, and as the owner thank goodness I don’t need to!!! There are days I want to just grab my favorite basic jean off the floor pull it on and go about my day, I mean really isn’t that where denim originated, what’s better then your favorite pair of broken in comfy jeans, the casual lifestyle is where denim started. But again, I’m lucky I can pick anything I want and of course there are days I just want to turn heads so I might grab a skin tight high-waist skinny and throw an oversized beat up shirt over it… I love that look too.”
Some of the biggest ‘it-girls’ of our time have been spotted wearing your stylish denim, from Gigi Hadid to Vanessa Hudgens. In your opinion, who has styled your denim the best and what qualities encapsulate the ‘Siwy Denim’ girl?
“Again, the best depends on the day, what my mood is that day, who and how they are wearing our jean, seeing Vanessa in our girlfriend running around LA on a cloudy rainy day is incredible and makes me so happy that Siwy is part of her natural everyday life, but who cannot love Gigi walking into a trendy LA restaurant wearing a pair of our skinny seamless collection. Seamless is pretty new to Siwy, it’s definitely a jean NOT a legging but we took out the side seam so it makes your legs look as if it goes on forever, so sexy yet so freaking comfortable. It’s a division of the company that is growing every day, it’s the perfect balance of a jean look with so much comfort and sexiness all built in. And those two examples are exactly what we are trying to be about at Siwy, there are just times you want to be sexy, cute tough or innocent, stand out or blend in…. but I know there is something really for everyone and every mood they are in.”
What are your keys to rocking the perfect Canadian suit and do you think that the denim on denim trend is here to stay?
“You know it’s funny – people think that denim on denim comes and goes, but it really doesn’t; denim for that matter really doesn’t. Does it have its peaks? Of course, but denim is always around. Even when we read denim isn’t trending, women are still buying more denim than any other category in their wardrobe, it just may not be in the forefront of fashion publications that season, but I ask you, “when is there ever a time that if you see a great jean you don’t buy it? NEVER!!! LOL!!! Denim on denim is the same – it’s always around just when it’s not being written about it goes off people’s radars. Being in the business, I deal with some of the most forward thinking denim designers and fashion people and in those times where you think D on D is out, they are rocking it. It’s funny that you call it the Canadian suit, some of the best stores in North America are actually in Canada, we have some great accounts there and often they are way ahead of the trends. As far as the question, there are a lot of ways to pull it off right. diversify the fabrics or the wash, dark jean light colored shirt or jacket, or reverse a light jean with a dark rinse denim shirt. Or a dark jean with a chambray shirt; the diversification of the fabrics make it work. Sometimes mixing trends is great too, a really beat up destroyed bottom maybe ever girlfriends with a prim and proper fitted denim top…. And of course you can always go with so many of the various technical choices like a coated jean or shirt over or under a basic denim piece. There’s just so many ways to pull it off today.”
How does Siwy Denim maintain the perfect balance between constantly staying on trend and maintaining the timelessness of your pieces?
“You know, I think that that’s answered throughout your previous questions. We know that regardless of trend, the Siwy girl still wants and needs a great basic jean, and today for most women that basic jean is not a single jean, it’s the I’m sad and I need to feel better sexy jean. It’s the I’m in love and I wanna be cute cuddly jean. It’s the I’m pissed and I wanna go rock the world today dark skinny jean… those are all core items in her closet..and we know they are as important to her as the what she sees on the cover of the LA times fashion section or Vogue that month as well so we know we need to be there for her, not let her down, no matter her mood, her desire to shop for newness or reach into her closet for one of her favorites. It’s what we do, it’s what we challenge everyone at Siwy to do every day… BE CURRENT AND BE TIMELESS!”