Who better to end Denim Week than Jane Herman Bishop and Florence Kane, the founders of one of my favorite sites, Jean Stories!
TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES… HOW DID YOU MEET AND WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO START JEAN STORIES?
JANE: We met when we were editorial assistants at Vogue magazine. About a year after I started at Vogue, we were both promoted to positions as fashion writers, where we worked side-by-side for more than five years covering fashion news and trends.
Cut to about a decade later (!) and we were both working as freelancers, and wanting to do something together that was our own. We saw a miss in the market – no one was talking to women, specifically, about jeans online, in a way that was truly elevated and personal. I grew up in a family that lives and breaths denim (my dad is Ron Herman, and my family’s stores in Los Angeles have sold jeans since the 70s…I spent my infancy sleeping in those stores, and my summers in high-school working in them…denim is a regular topic of conversation at the dinner table in my family; it’s something we discuss casually and intimately). SO, coming from this very personal place of style – and feeling like our jeans are the one thing in our closets that get better with age, and that are steeped in sentiment, and the thing we wear when we’re feeling most like ourselves and that we wear for years and years and years – I went to Florence with the idea for a site about people and their jeans. Everyone has a favorite pair, and in that pair are great stories…you can learn a lot about a person by asking them about their jeans!
FLORENCE: I grew up in Southern California. Jeans were everything. In high school, it had to be Calvin Klein or Levi’s. In college, Marc Jacobs first denim collection. And then I loved covering denim while at Vogue. So, when Jane asked if we could meet to talk about an idea for a site, and then told me over brunch, it was a no brainer.
Plus, there is no end to the amount of denim out there – we saw jeans as mine for content and stories…and a starting point for other creative projects (stay tuned!).
AND, so many of the best jeans in the world are made in Los Angeles. Few people know that, and it’s something we like to talk about at Jean Stories whenever we can.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A PAIR OF JEANS?
JANE: Quality. Fit, yes, comfort, yes, a great wash and color, definitely. But more than anything, I want my jeans to last. I don’t want to fall in love with a pair of jeans only to have them fall apart after a year!
FLORENCE: It’s usually color and wash first. A pair of jeans can fit wonderfully, but if I don’t love the wash I won’t wear them.
DO YOU HAVE A UNIFORM?
JANE: Absolutely. I wear jeans, a button-down shirt or a sweater, a jacket, and a flat, almost every day of the year. And my Levi’s orange tab trucker is often close by, too.
FLORENCE: Yes! Jeans and a tee, or jeans and a chambray or white shirt. A blazer or a peacoat. Slip on Vans or low leather boots.
JANE: Our uniforms have become so similar, we’ll text each other in the morning before big meetings to make sure we aren’t wearing looks that are too similar.
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
JANE: Clean jeans, white button down shirts, menswear flats, a practical carryall (i.e. something I can carry my laptop in), a mix of little gold rings (all of which have some sentimental value), Neutrogena Rapid Repair Moisturizer w/ spf 30 (day), Linda Rodin OIlio Lusso (night), MAC eyeliner in Powersurge, Smythson Soho notebook, iPhone, Levi’s Orange Tab Trucker jacket…and a can-do attitude.
FLORENCE: Mansur Gavriel black tote or LL Bean tote. Mannin gold link stud earrings. Nars Satin lip pencil in Hyde Park. Blue or white jeans (usually loose fit).
YOU HAVE BOTH SPENT SOME TIME IN DENIM FACTORIES… WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT HOW JEANS ARE MADE? DID THE FACTORIES CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR JEANS?
JANE: Visiting denim factories, mills, and laundries made me appreciate the amount of work, skill, and technology that goes into making a single pair of jeans. So much of what goes into quality denim and design is still done by hand. From mill to retail, the work that goes into making a pair of jeans is astounding. When people question why jeans cost so much, I’m always thinking – they should cost more!
HOW DO YOU SHOP MINDFULLY? ARE THERE ANY CERTAIN FACTORS THAT YOU CONSIDER EACH TIME?
JANE: I can’t say that I am not guilty of indulging in less-than-top-quality purchases from time to time, but for the most part, mindful consumption, for me, is about investing in things that last. I will spend more on quality products, and wear them until they are threadbare. I am very sentimental about clothes, jeans especially, but everything – sweaters, shoes… – I get attached. The emotional reaction I have is often what convinces me to buy something. It can be love at first sight, or a much slower fall, but it’s always an emotional purchase, first.
FLORENCE: I’m not a huge shopper. I buy what I really like, but I tend to buy less and wear it to death, whether it’s designer or high street. You won’t find things in my closet with the tag still on, or purchases I regret. If I buy it, I wear it!
WHAT JEANS SHOULD WE BE WEARING THIS FALL?
Anything from the new Simon Miller women’s collection (made in L.A.); Seafarer Circe jeans (made in Italy), Frame’s Le High Straight (made in Los Angeles), and McGuire’s denim skirt (made in L.A.). Any vintage Levi’s (just ordered some old 517s online and I can’t wait to get them; fingers crossed they fit well). Ayr’s Slouchy (made in L.A.). Any of J. Crew’s jeans made with Cone Denim (North Carolina!)
WHAT AMERICAN MADE ITEMS DO YOU LOVE?
The Row t-shirt | Clare Vivier Simple Tote | Bliss and Mischief Military Jacket | Stan Bitters Ceramic Birdhouse | Radish Moon Illustration | Pamela Love Luna Ring | The Elder Statesman Baja Cashmere Sweater | Simon Miller Lowland Jean
Image of Jane & Florence by Taylor Jewell.
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