Monthly Archives: October 2011

Explained: Design Process – Inspiration

Posted by The E on October 31, 2011

Inspiration Board

Aside from a very condensed version of design process on Project Runway, most people aren’t familiar with all of the steps that go into creating a finished look – especially a finished denim look. As part of our series of Explained posts on The Habit, we’re going into the details of the denim design process. From wash development, to perfecting the fit, to creating a sample and finally hitting retail, there are many steps in creating a pair of jeans. But before any design can begin to take shape, a designer has to be inspired.

Gathering inspiration is a constant practice, and it can come from anywhere – great photographs, the texture of fabrics, a stylish person, artwork, music, architecture, nature – really anything that we see or feel in the world around us. Designers are required to be sponges, soaking up as much of this inspiration as possible.

When the beginning of a calendar season comes around, the design team is tasked with putting together a “collection”, a cohesive group of pieces that represents our vision for the line, yet also carries market appeal. At that point, usually more than a year in advance, we have to focus in on our favorite bits of collected inspiration to draw out major trends in fabrics, silhouettes, washes, and colors for the given season.  We check our tastes against macro trends in society, and look at what’s on the runway, what is chosen for magazine shoots, and what trend services are saying. We can then pull a series of images that support the product and design direction we’d like to go in for the line. Out of habit, we gather these images into an inspiration board, which serves as a constant reference as we start to create specific looks.

Even after we have a sense of what the product will look like for the season, inspiration continues to play a key role throughout the entire process. We are constantly looking at blogs, magazines, tumblr accounts, trend services, and the world around us to reconfirm that our inspirations for the current line are hitting the mark. When all is said and done, the goal is for the product to hit stores right as the trends are starting and never too late.

Staying Inspired

Photo Inspiration

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Happy Halloween from HABITUAL!

Posted by The E on October 28, 2011

Richard Chai Pumpkin

Nothing says Halloween like a good old fashioned Jack O’ Lantern, but these pumpkin carvings from designers like Richard Chai, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Steven Alan are anything but old-fashioned. See the full collection of “designer” pumpkins at If that’s not enough inspiration for your own pumpkin project this weekend, see these “fashion pumpkins” from Refinery29, who asked their creative staffers to go head to head in a carving contest. Happy Halloween!

Nicholas Kirkwood and Steven Alan Pumpkins

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First Look! More Coated Colors to Love

Posted by The E on October 27, 2011

HABITUAL's new Color Coated Denim ad, as seen in NYLON's November issue

We’re beyond excited to share the newest colors of our coated denim. After debuting our Color Coated Denim with warmer hues like Luggage, Chianti, and Vermilion earlier in the year, we’re turning down the temperature a bit with a new collection in an icier palette. As we saw on the Spring 2012 runways, cooler colors like dark purple and turquoise are right on trend, and we’re bringing our tones out early. Look for the same Coated you love, now in  Dark Feather, Dark Taupe, Turquoise, Alabaster and Purple Mountain. The first shipments will hit stores in November!

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Wiseman, Fairey, and RETNA at the New West Hollywood Library

Posted by The E on October 20, 2011

Shepard Fairey's mural at the West Hollywood Library

The new West Hollywood Library is officially open to the public. In addition to the extensive, two story collection of resource materials and books, the library is a 48,000 square foot architectural showpiece, which the LA Times called “one of the most impressive public pieces in the region in a decade.” Referencing many of Southern California’s signature design influences, the building is complete with rooftop tennis courts, an enormous parking garage, and commissioned artworks by three artists.

We stopped by a small panel discussion with the artists on Tuesday, put on by the West Hollywood Arts Council and moderated by KCRW’s Frances Anderton. Listening to the trio of artists talk about their different styles, motivations, and processes, you can sum up each of the artists with a single word: David Wiseman, the academic, Shepard Fairey, the political, and RETNA, the emotional.

Wiseman, influenced by European Art Deco and his own fascination with horticulture, used a scale model and a powerpoint full of reference material to talk about the life-sized steel and plaster sycamore tree, which grows upward from the interior stairwell towards the skylight. Fairey, whose work covers the lobby of the theater at the ground level and the enormous back wall of the parking structure, used his trademark stencil, poster and paint techniques to illustrate his Peace Elephant and many of West Hollywood’s famous landmarks, including the Sunset Tower Hotel and the Emser tile building.

But perhaps the most fun part of the evening was a Q&A exchange between enigmatic street artist RETNA and an audience member about the meaning of his signature text-like graffiti piece, which faces Melrose from the South Wall. Viewing any RETNA work for the first time, one or two symbols evoke a feeling of familiarity, which quickly gives way to a confused dyslexia, as you realize you can’t in fact decode what is written. In the exchange, RETNA admitted he has created his own “font” (but not an entire language) by referencing the common shapes and characters from several alphabets, including Hebrew, Cyrillic, Latin and even Heiroglyphics. He also revealed that he included a quote from Salman Rushdie in the mural, but with a sly smile, wouldn’t disclose which one, how to decode it, or if the quote was in English, Spanish, or even Latin.

Be sure to look up the next time you are driving down Melrose.

RETNA's Mural at the West Hollywood Library

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Who's Got the Habit? Molly Sims

Posted by The E on

The number one question fans ask Molly Sims is “What kind of jean do you like”? Molly took to YouTube this week to talk up our Alice Skinny, which she calls “a staple in my wardrobe”.  She also talks about the great stretch quality, and how they “suck you in”. This particular wash is called Eventide Redux, a dark denim with a little bit of sheen, so it’s appropriate for any outfit from day to night. We’re so flattered she called our jeans flattering!

Following her recent marriage to Scott Stuber, you can next see Molly as the host of the new Lifetime show Project Accessory, a spinoff of fellow model Heidi Klum’s successful Project Runway, which premieres on October 27th at 10:30.

Get the look at, there are still a few sizes of Molly’s favorite wash left!

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On Trend: Strong Colors

Posted by The E on October 18, 2011

Spring 2012 looks from (L to R) Gucci, Haider Ackermann and Burberry Prorsum.

The last of our favorite trends from the European Fashion Weeks was a tendency to strong color. While color is always featured on the spring runways, the 2012 lines were especially vibrant, with labels showing solids and bright prints in unconventional color combinations. Some of our favorite uses of color came from Haider Ackerman, who showed cool greens, violets and blues with metallic sheen, Burberry Prorsum, who mixed army greens and navy blues with yellow and orange detailing, and Gucci, who favored a bold emerald green and rusty orange with their usual black and white sexy aesthetic.

Denim will take similar color cues from the spring runways - HABITUAL is showing a variety of strong tones in the new line, including our Acid Red crackle coating, several new hues for our Color Coated denim, including the Alice Skinny in a dark, vivid green called Tea Leaf, a subtle salmon pink called Taj Mahal, and a sandy taupe called Goa, along with dyed denim washes like the acid yellow Tapestry and a cooler tone called Dark Teal.

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Posted by The E on October 14, 2011

Snuff Guys by Denimu, 2009

Crafting a bolt of denim into a great fitting, comfortable, fashion forward pair of jeans is a form of art in itself, but London-born artist Denimu makes denim into art in a whole different way.  Initially attracted to the textures and wear patterns of denim, 27 year-old Denimu quickly discovered that working with denim was a way to breath life into garments that had passed their prime, but still carried a lot of personal meaning for people. By cutting and layering denim into different shapes and patterns, Denimu creates beautiful portraits, urbanscapes, pop art, and pretty much anything else that can be interpreted in denim. This is the type of life passion that can only come from a true denimhead. In his own words:

“I became fascinated by the rich heritage of Denim.  A story that has run alongside that of modern history. A material that abounds in dualities and meanings. A symbol of both egalitarianism and of materialism. A reflection of the world in which we live.”

We’re just hoping he is aware of the colored denim trend – that could open a whole new realm of possibilities, and we can’t wait to see the results.

Retreat by Denimu

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On Trend: Ladylike Silhouettes

Posted by The E on October 13, 2011

High waisted pants from J. Crew (left) and Vena Cava (right)

If acid yellow was the dominant color story coming out of Europe last week, it was a push towards “ladylike” cuts that caught our eye in the shape department. We saw classically feminine silhouettes in the dresses and skirts on nearly every runway, and many designers also showed beautiful high waisted pants, jeans and bottoms in both skinny and wide legs.

We use the term “ladylike”, because a high waisted pant is a more mature, sophisticated look, offering extra coverage for the wearer in both the front and the back, so you don’t feel like a teenager with your backside hanging out. The silhouette also shows a woman’s curves in all the right places, drawing attention to a small waist, and hiding “flaws” like thicker thighs and legs, for those that might be insecure about those areas.

Some of our favorite high waisted looks came from J. Crew and Vena Cava, who went with wider leg cuts, and Gucci, who led off their show with a slimmer version featuring button cuffs. Oh and hey, there’s that acid yellow again in a wide leg street look.  HABITUAL will offer several ladylike, high waisted looks in both wide and narrow leg for Spring, including the Almas Hi Rise Zip Skinny, the Harrison Ultra Hi Rise Bell Bottom, and also the Thalia and Inga Ultra Hi Rise shorts.

Street Style (left) and a high waisted skinny from Gucci Spring 2012 (right)

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Upward Bound House

Posted by The E on October 12, 2011

Upward Bound House - Family Place, Santa Monica

One of the most inspiring charities we’ve encountered in LA is a Santa Monica based non-profit called Upward Bound House. While many non-profits tackle the issue of homelessness, it’s a deliberate effort to help homeless families that makes UBH special.  Most people think of homelessness as a problem that affects individual adults, but in fact there are many homeless families in the United States, including over 6,000 homeless children in Los Angeles County alone. The issue is significant enough that Sesame Street even touched on the problems affecting impoverished families by introducing a new “food insecure” character named Lily on an episode over the weekend.

 With transitional housing facilities in Santa Monica and Culver City, UBH dedicates its resources to help homeless families find affordable housing on the West Side of LA. As UBH Director David Snow told us, “We’re fantastically successful because of the 3 P’s – program, population and partnerships”. In addition to providing housing, UBH offers a number of community programs to tackle root causes of homelessness, for example a money management class, which teaches clients personal finance and savings to help them break the cycle of homelessness in the long term.

Upward Bound House Logo

 While many people are keeping their wallets closed in the currect economic climate, there are many ways to get involved. Upward Bound House offers a number of volunteer opportunities, in addition to accepting the usual donations. We think they are worth the effort.

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On Trend: Acid Yellows

Posted by The E on October 10, 2011

Looks from Elie Saab (left) and Andrew Gn (right) Spring 2012

Paris and London Fashion weeks wrapped up last week and it looks like Yellow is a clear winner when it comes to color story. The tone showed up in nearly every line. On the lighter end, some of our favorite looks included a lemon yellow gown with bead detailing by Andrew Gn and a separates skirt blouse combination by Rue du Mail. On the darker end, Elie Saab did a group of his signature red carpet dresses in a smooth mustard color, and Burberry went the closest to the gold end of the spectrum with a couple of leather jackets. What all of the Spring yellows have in common is an “acid” tone: these are bold yellows, which go deeper than your typical springtime pastel so they have a bit more spice and strength.

Our own take on the yellow trend for Spring 2012 is a wash called “Tapestry”, a mid-range acid yellow dyed denim that falls somewhere between pastel and gold. You will see the Almas Hi Rise Zip Skinny, one of our newest cuts, in the Tapestry wash after the new year.

Looks from Rue de Mail (left) and Burberry (right) Spring 2012

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