Category Archives: Up Close and HABITUAL

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, 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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Up Close and HABITUAL: NYLON Music Issue Party with Florence Welch

Posted by The E on June 22, 2011

Florence Welch at the Habitual-Nylon Dinner at the Mondrian Hotel Soho.

We met up with our friends at NYLON last night to celebrate their new Music issue, on stands now. The dinner and afterparty hosted by Editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and the inimitable Florence Welch took place in the Mondrian Soho Hotel. We started with dinner in the beautiful penthouse, which ended up being delayed over an hour after fireworks unexpectedly went off over the Manhattan bridge, but the views of the city were well worth the wait.

Though we arrived a little late, the afterparty downstairs at Mister H was still in full swing. Guests like Leigh LeZark from the Misshapes and Harley Newton were treated to beats by DJ Josh Madden. We also spotted Portia de Rossi, Shenae Grimes of 90210, and “Twilight” alum Kellan Lutz, who is now the face of the Dylan George men’s line. Was he spying on us?

Florence faced the cameras in an Anna Sui floral print dress, paired with a black fedora, ankle strap pumps, and a Chanel Mademoiselle bag (don’t tell Gucci!) . She continues on tour with Florence + The Machine through the summer and will also open for U2 on select dates. If you are in New York, you can catch them playing Central Park this Friday.

Dinner Table at the Mondrian Soho Penthouse

Atmosphere at the HABITUAL Nylon Dinner at the Mondrian Soho

Kellan Lutz, Shenae Grimes, and Florence Welch at the Habitual-Nylon Dinner at the Mondrian Hotel Soho.

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Up Close and HABITUAL: NYLON March Issue Dinner

Posted by The E on March 11, 2011

We are always excited for the newest issue of NYLON. The editors are known for having their own take on the fashion of the moment, presented by some of edgiest makeup artists, stylists, and photographers out there. It’s so fun to see a known talent in a new light or discover an underground artist just before they break.

Last night we co-hosted a private dinner with NYLON to celebrate their latest issue with cover girl Kate Bosworth, at Hemingway’s Lounge in Hollywood. In a town known for its clubs, Hemingway’s is a real bar. With classic décor like velvet furniture, a marble bar, and walls of books, arranged and proportioned in a contemporary fashion. It feels like a bit of New York City was somehow transplanted to the heart of Hollywood Boulevard.

Guests included NYLON editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and publisher Jaclynn Jarrett, the HABITUAL team, Kate Bosworth and fellow actresses Amber Lancaster, Ashley Hinshaw, and Daveigh Chase, and stylist Cher Coulter. Alexander Skarsgard and Entourage’s Rhys Coiro also came by to enjoy a couple of drinks.

DJ Lindsay Luv HABITUAL Audrey

DJ Lindsay Luv in the HABITUAL Audrey Legging

DJ Lindsay Love looked amazing in the Audrey Legging in python, and she really set the tone for the whole event with her low key but upbeat selection of indie pop. You can download or listen to part of the set, which included tracks from Robyn, The Gossip, The Raveonettes, and Muse, on her Soundcloud page.

Lindsay Luv x NYLON Mag *Live by DJ Lindsay Luv

Marvin Scott Jarrett, Cher Coulter

Nylon Editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett and stylist Cher Coulter

Ashley Hinshaw, Matt Bloomingdale and Gina Bloomingdale

Actress Ashley Hinshaw, Matt Bloomingdale and HABITUAL's Gina Bloomingdale

Dinner Tables
Dinner Tables

Wall of Typewriters

Wall of Typewriters at Hemingway's

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Up Close and HABITUAL: Code C Denim Fitting and Cocktails

Posted by The E on December 3, 2010

Code C is a boutique in the Sunset Plaza area of West Hollywood. They set themselves apart from other boutiques by featuring entire couture collections from several top designers, including Vivienne Westwood, Viktor & Rolf and Dsquared, whose lines are rarely stocked altogether as the designer intended them, and available for the public to view and shop. Yesterday, Code C owners Andrea and Marzia Rossetto opened their doors to HABITUAL for a full day of denim fittings and an evening cocktail event.

Code C Storefront, Sunset Blvd.

Code C Storefront

We invited friends of the brand to come by for drinks and a custom HABITUAL denim experience, including an expert fitting and on-the-spot hem. Some of our favorite comic actresses came to try on the line, including Debi Mazar, Angela Kinsey, Rachael Harris, and Cheryl Hines, as well as Nip/Tuck’s Kelly Carlson and the beautiful Sara Shahi from USA Network’s Fairly Legal.

HABITUAL models in the Code C window

HABITUAL models in the Code C window

HABITUAL Code C Cocktail Hour

Cocktail hour

HABITUAL Audrey in Python, Hanging

HABITUAL Audrey in Python on the rack at Code C

Angela Kinsey and Rachael Harris at Code C

Angela Kinsey and Rachael Harris kept it fun and light

Photos courtesy John Sciulli and Michael Buckner, Getty Images

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