Monthly Archives: August 2011



Fashion's Night Out with hip'tique and HABITUAL

Posted by The E on August 29, 2011

HABITUAL and hip'tique Fashion's Night Out Invite

Fashion’s Night Out is rapidly approaching, and this year you’re invited to join us at hip’tique, our favorite beachfront shop in Santa Monica, on September 8th from 6PM to 11PM. The event is hosted by celeb stylist Toni Ferrara, and we’ll be on hand doing a HABITUAL denim trunk show, with 20% off all styles. hip’tique has also arranged refreshments from Stella Rossa Pizza Bar and M Street Kitchen, music by DJ Miss Bliss of the Viper Room, and giveaways all night long.

hip’tique – 2727 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405 – 310.399.6106

You can also visit the Fashion’s Night Out website to find other LA Fashion events and plan an itinerary for your own Fashion’s Night Out.

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5 Questions: Jeannie Mai

Posted by The E on August 23, 2011

Jeannie Mai

You probably already know Jeannie Mai as the energetic host of Style Network’s Emmy-nominated show How Do I Look?, but you’ll also see her on NBC’s upcoming style competition show Fashion Star. Jeannie will serve as the show’s Digital Fashionista, alongside host Elle Macpherson and fashion mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. In addition to chatting up the contestants on air, Jeannie will show off her spunk and style sense online in a series of ten online videos.

Known for using fashion to inspire, educate and empower women, Jeannie recently answered HABITUAL’s 5 Questions, and talked about food, being a fashionista, and “flasses”:

New York or Los Angeles, and why?

Sigh…why are you making me choose? NY for fashion & food, LA for swagger. Meaning…I love NY for the undeniable energy of inspiration for style, and the thousands of food choices can’t be beat. But I love LA for having it’s snobby swagga. Don’t hate.

Give us a sense of your personal style?

I’m playful. My style says it’s time to celebrate whatever I feel blessed to have for that day, whether it be my job, the event I’m hosting, my womanhood, or my imagination. I tend to find all of my inspiration to mix colors and textures through food, not only because I’m a foodiva, but also because I want to look delicious.

You’re best known for your work as a stylist and host, but what do you consider your greatest talent?

My greatest talent is celebrating people’s potential. I’m inspired by everyone, and can be any body’s greatest cheerleader. I believe everyone is uniquely talented- and when you mix that with potential, you have world changers.

What’s your daily habit?

Eating and praying. I love food, and love that it reminds me stop and say Thanks. I can’t live without the two.

What’s one thing in your closet you could never give up? And what’s your go-to piece in the closet right now?

One thing I could never give up are shoes. I feel sexy and powerful when I strut. My go – to piece are my flasses (fake glasses). They’re any body’s best sex-essory. Everyone should own a pair, I have 80.

BONUS: Leather or Lace?

Both, bonded tight.

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On the Road: ENK Vegas

Posted by The E on August 18, 2011

HABITUAL will be at ENK Las Vegas

It’s time again for ENK Vegas, running Monday, August 22 – Wednesday, August 24. We’ll be there with our Resort and Spring 2012 collections, along with the brand new Men’s line. If you have plans to be there, be sure to stop by the booth, number 11015.

For media appointments, please contact Christina Zamarripa, Christina.Zamarripa@pmkbnc.com.

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First Look: Harrison Ultra Hi Rise Bell Bottom

Posted by The E on August 17, 2011

Harrison Ultra Hi Rise Bell Bottom in Iris

Here is a sneak peak of the Harrison Ultra Hi Rise Bell Bottom in Iris, a  new style from the HABITUAL Spring 2012 line, which picks up on both the 70′s and high waisted trends. We’re excited because Spring 2012 marks the first full HABITUAL collection for our Design Director, Jennifer Wojinski. We’ve also selected the Harrison, and this particular shot, to serve as the opener for our Spring 2012 look book, which just went off to the printers.

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First Look: HABITUAL Men’s, Launching Spring 2012

Posted by The E on August 12, 2011

Looks from the HABITUAL Men's line

There is big news coming from the HABITUAL brand for the spring season - we’re launching a line of premium men’s denim.

HABITUAL saw a void in the marketplace for a sophisticated, handcrafted men’s jean. The line is all about clean, modern, “city-inspired” looks and Handmade in USA craftsmanship. In the words of Design Director Jennifer Wojinski, “It’s a very tailored and sophisticated look with a European aesthetic. It’s more of a city look than the vintage look a lot of other brands are going for these days.”

Fit and Wash:

We’ve chosen a comfortable, higher rise that sits right at the hips, going against the trend of lower rise denim that has been prevalent the past several years. You’ll be able to find slim straight, straight, skinny, and relaxed boot fits, along with denim trousers and jackets. We are focusing on medium indigo, dark indigo, grey and black washes. You will also see a hand-applied black pigment coating, available on the skinny fit and the jacket, lending a leathery, rock & roll inspired feel. Some designs will have a minimal amount of hand-distressing.

Craftsmanship:

All of the looks will be hand crafted and hand finished in HABITUAL’s Los Angeles Factory with as little machinery as possible. The designs are cut from the best European denim fabrics, and laundering is done by denim artisans. We use fair labor practices at all levels of the production process.

How can you spot HABITUAL Men’s Denim?

We’ve opted away from aggressive embellishments and focused on a few subtle identifiers that will set HABITUAL Men’s apart and signify premium craftsmanship.

For most of the men’s line, you will find our signature Glory pocket in the front, on the coin pocket, along with a white contrast stitching that stretches up to the waistband. We are featuring both button and zipper flies, all with custom hardware and rivets. In back, you’ll see a leather patch stamped with the HABITUAL logo and tucked neatly underneath the top seam of the pocket, along with a white bartack on the back center belt loop. Inside, an artist-designed pocket lining features a skull, a crying eye, and an architectural arch along with a variety of text elements. Reinforced seams feature a black binding with the word “Believe” subtly visible.

The Fine Print:

The line will be available at retail in January 2012 at specialty department and specialty stores, retailing from $175 to $195 for basic washes, $225 for looks with hand distressing, and up to $325 for premium selvage. The denim jackets will retail at $275, except for one with calf leather sleeves, which will run $575.

Buyers and editors can get a true first look at the line at ENK, in Las Vegas, August 22-24th. You Can Find HABITUAL at booth number 11015. To make an appointment, please contact Christina Zamarripa at christina.zamarripa@pmkbnc.com.

The HABITUAL Men's Glory Coin pocket
HABITUAL Men's custom hardware
Leather patch stamped with the HABITUAL logo
A white bartack on the back center beltloop
Artist-designed pocket liner
HABITUAL Men's Shadow Glory Pocket

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Premium Denim is Not Dead

Posted by The E on August 10, 2011

 

Torn "Glory" pocket

The media conversation about whether premium denim is worth the expense, and if the high end jeans market will sustain itself, is one which has been a constant for the past several years.

We first took notice of the debate in a 2006 op-ed from NY-based Psychopedia.com, which predicted the death of premium denim, based on a perceived closing of the gap between the quality of inexpensive and premium denim. One of their core arguments relied on American Apparel, seemingly unstoppable at the time, who was preparing to launch a fashion forward, made in U.S.A. denim line in the neighborhood of $60 (we all know how that story has gone). Last June, a Consumer Reports study comparing premium, mid-range, and inexpensive denim brands went as far as saying that “marketers might deserve a special place in hell for turning blue jeans into a luxury item”. Studying fabric shrinkage, fabric quality, and construction, they claimed there was not a huge difference between the price points, and concluded that consumers “pay a lot for fashion and hidden details. Buy what pleases you.”

Most recently, the Wall Street Journal revisited the debate in July, breaking down the line by line costs of a pair of True Religion Jeans, from fabric to hardware to labor, to explain why a pair of jeans might retail for as much as $375.00 or more. The Journal did a fine job of explaining how hard costs add up: premium denim companies source fabric, rivets, leather, and other materials, and then manufacture the final product here in the states. Based on a total of these costs, the companies set a wholesale price and a suggested retail price to the consumer.

But even these articles fail to consider some additional considerations that set premium denim apart.

First, all materials are not created equal. Much like you pay extra for organic produce in the grocery store or farmer’s market, the highest quality denim, with the best stretch recovery and structural integrity, fetches a premium price. Even if the construction is flawless, using a lower quality denim sacrifices quality. For HABITUAL, we source only the finest quality denims woven from the highest quality cotton.

Another factor is that “Made in the U.S.A.” does not necessarily mean “Handmade in the U.S.A.” If you have seen the video of our Glory pocket being made (2 minutes, edited down from what is actually a much longer process), true premium jeans are sewn by hand according to a very specific design specification. Even after the hand sewing is completed, we often add an additional wash process, hand whiskering, hand distressing, or other treatment such as coating that requires an additional expertise and craftsmanship.

While HABITUAL does have core styles that stay in the line for seasons, many of them get new washes, new finishes, new fabric treatments, and even new fits season to season. For most of the 20th century, blue jeans were made for work. Slowly, jeans became a staple of American style, and later, models like Brooke Shields made jeans into must have fashion items. We introduce a Fall, Holiday, Resort, and Spring line every year to keep up with the most current wants and needs of the consumer and remain relevant within trend cycles. A lot of time and work goes into the seasonality of premium denim. And getting these seasonal changes right requires a best in class design team (another expense) and the right sales team to get the product distributed (yet another expense). And this is all before a single dollar goes into marketing.

But beyond all of the expenses, there is an intangible, experiential element that the right pair of jeans brings. Much like having a really special meal, it is about more than just the taste of the food and the best ingredients. It’s a total experience, the care that goes into preparation and presentation, the service you receive in the restaurant, and the meaning you bring to the meal personally, as the meal invoked memories of childhood or brings you back to a first date. Our goal is for the HABITUAL brand to spark an emotional response, because the customer knows the dedication and care that goes into the whole production process.

This is why we are confident in the stability of the premium denim market. There will always be a consumer that demands the best quality denim from premium brands like HABITUAL, because they understand the value of having a high quality product where no expense is spared, and where all the elements matter. And there will always be the customer who enjoys the emotional experience of finding the perfect pair. Our hope is that the care we put into a pair of HABITUAL separates us not only from  less expensive denim brands, but from other premium lines as well.

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HABITUAL Obsession: Talenti Gelato

Posted by The E on August 8, 2011

Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch Gelato

In the grocery line the other day, the check out cashier advised us to turn in our usual ice cream pick and try Talenti Gelato. The Sea Salt Caramel was sold out (don’t we always want what we can’t have even more?), so we settled for a flavor called Caramel Cookie Crunch. Even if it wasn’t our first pick, this pint was no disappointment.

The brand traces its roots back to the extravagant banquets Florentine chef Bernardo Buontalenti created for the Medici family. Following the traditions of authentic Italian gelato making, each flavor is handcrafted and made from scratch. Talenti sources the finest ingredients from around the world, including gourmet chocolate from Belgium, whole Tahitian vanilla beans from Papau New Guinea, and Dulce de Leche from Argentina. They even roast their own nuts. Because we source our denim from all over the world, and design and handcraft the final product here in our LA factory, we appreciate a brand that has a commitment to craftsmanship and a dedication to a perfect end product. Talenti comes in flavors like the Caramel Cookie Crunch, Mediterranean Mint, and Caribbean Coconut, but you like fruit better, they also make sorbettos in flavors like Roman Raspberry and Blood Orange. You can pick up a pint at Whole Foods, Ralph’s or your own local grocer.

Eating Talenti also made us curious about the differences between gelato and ice cream, and we learned it’s not just that gelato is from Italy.  First, gelato has a lower air content than ice cream, and second, gelato is usally served at a slightly warmer temparature than ice cream.  The denser, softer texture that results is why gelato often tastes richer than ice cream. But we were most excited to learn that gelato has a higher milk-to-cream ratio, which yields a lower fat content. In the case of Talenti, all the flavors have between 30 and 100% less fat than ice cream. While it’s still not the healthiest thing in the world, it makes us feel a lot better about indulging once in a while and still fitting into our favorite pair of skinnies.

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LA’s Fashion Identity is Denim

Posted by The E on August 4, 2011

LA Weekly Fashion Issue 2011

LA Weekly’s annual fashion issue is on stands now, and the paper explores the question, ‘Does LA Have a Fashion Identity?‘ We certainly think so.

For all of the LA style archetypes described in the article – the rocker vampire, the Morrissey, the scarecrow, the skateboarding surfer – the throughline is a great pair of jeans. Writer Gendy Alimurung relays how the average LA resident “hikes and has a dog and eats well” to get that perfect LA body; nothing shows off a great body like a pair of jeans and the right tee.

It’s the confusion about LA’s fashion identity referred to in this piece that gives LA a reputation for being one of worst dressed cities in the US. We think publications like GQ that make this claim are missing the point. LA is stuck taking the blame for the overembellished Ed Hardy look you can find on Melrose Avenue because he happened to set up shop here, but this is not an acceptable look for the majority of Angelenos. Rather, the constant here in LA, jeans, has become an increasingly central piece of a fashion forward equation, which is why you see everyone from Kate Middleton to Emanuelle Alt in the latest rise, and an army of denim bloggers behind them sharing each and every look.

There’s no dispute that New York is the hub of fashion, but the best denim in the world comes from LA. Any brand that wants to compete in premium denim has to have a presence in LA to develop the most current washes and fits and understand how people are wearing denim right now. New York-based brands like Theory, Ralph Lauren, and Johann Lindeberg’s BLK DNM have all crossed the country to develop their denim offering, and San Francisco-based Levi’s produces all of their premium lines out of LA. Even apparel behemoth GAP recently splurged on a 5,400 sq ft. design space called the Pico Creative Loft to house its 1969 denim line, and better position itself to compete with LA’s luxury denim makers.

The article gets closest to the mark when it says “Los Angeles is casual”. We’ll take it a step further, and say Los Angeles is denim, because no fabric exudes “casual” quite like denim.

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On Trend: HABITUAL Color Coated Denim

Posted by The E on August 2, 2011

HABITUAL Color Coated Denim Spread

You might have spotted our new coated denim ad running in this month’s NYLON. To create one of fall’s hottest trends, we start with a denim base, which gives the pants the shape and comfort of a pair of jeans, and then cover it in a coat of pigment to get a leather look on the outside, without the cost associated with the real thing. We have always loved leather, and coated allows us to achieve a similar look in a super soft new treatment. As a bonus, we don’t have to harm any small animals.

While many brands are doing a black coated denim for fall, what sets our coated apart is the color story and the quality of the denim underneath. We start with a super fine European legging denim for the base – no expense spared - so you get great fabric recovery and the best fit. We’ve also pushed beyond black and picked up some of the hottest trend colors from the fall. Coating is a tougher way to bring color into the line, taking on a deeper, richer tone and adding a rock & roll edge to the jeans, so we’ve avoided fluorescent pinks and oranges, and opted for tones like licorice, chocolate, chianti and vermilion. Aside from getting you on trend for fall, wearing a pair of coated denim just plain looks cool.

This photo was shot in our LA factory by Josh Argyle. We actually found this beautiful vintage wood panel in our storage area, and used it as a backdrop on a whim. Sure enough, after we looked at all the pictures, this shot turned out to be the one we all liked best.

You can pick up HABITUAL’s new Color Coated Denim at Scoop NYC and Fred Segal Girl.

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5 Questions: Angelika

Posted by The E on August 1, 2011

Portfolio shot from Angelika

It’s time for round two of our ’5 Questions’ feature, an ongoing series where we ask some of our favorite denimheads, media personalities, and celebs about their personal style, hidden talents, and of course their daily habits.

This week, we’re featuring our Spring 2012 look book model, Angelika, who answered some questions for us after last week’s shoot. A California native, Angelika broke into the business when she walked into an agency after some enouragement from her mother. They must have seen the same thing we did, because she was just the girl we needed to model the spring line.

New York or Los Angeles, and why?

Los Angeles, because of the amazing weather, surf and fun times.

Give us a sense of your personal style?

My personal style is really effortless, simple with little hints of something special.

You’re a model by profession, but what do you consider your greatest talent?

My greatest talent, in my perception, is my ability to be multi-talented.

What’s your daily habit?

Ooh, definitely Groundwork’s coffee and then the beach.

What’s one thing in your closet you could never give up? And what’s your go-to piece in the closet right now?

Ehh, everything. It’s really difficult to part with the pieces I’ve aquired. My go to piece currently would be my bathing suit.

BONUS: Heels or flats? 

Ooh, they’re both so wonderful, but I would say flats because there’s so much more that can be done in flats.

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