My appreciation for indigo - the aging and antiquing to perfection over time – began at an early age. I bought my first pair of rigid Levi’s at Miller’s Outpost in Berkeley, California at age 17. The concept of upsizing – buying something rigid and shrinking it to fit – was completely foreign to me. My sister, who was attending UC Berkeley at the time, had to walk me through it. Shortly thereafter, I became fixated on trying to figure out a way to make my jeans softer and lighter in color. I had no idea that this fascination would later become my career.
I was lucky enough to fall into a denim design position at Levi Strauss and Company – a job that changed the course of my life. At Levi's, I was schooled in the basics of denim and given an amazing foundation in fabric and garment construction.
Ten years later, I leapt into the premium denim world with Earl Jean in Los Angeles, where I gained a true understanding of fit and witnessed the genius of the Los Angeles denim laundries.
In 2003, I moved to New York to work for Ralph Lauren, the iconic American lifestyle brand. For 11 years I was part of a creative team that built and launched denim brands – Polo, Black Label, Denim and Supply and RRL to name a few. I designed and developed denim globally while continuing to hone my denim skills.
But in the end, I am a California girl at heart. I returned to Los Angeles as Head of Design for J Brand Jeans, where I was exposed to the importance of marketing, public relations and brand presence at retail.
Life After Death Denim began as a passion project. The denim industry has been talking about the need for sustainability for years now and nothing ever changed. I always felt in my heart that the only way sustainability would ever be important would be if it were baked into the DNA of a brand. After 25 years of working for others, I felt it was time for a career challenge. Could I completely eliminate all chemicals from the denim wash process? Could I figure out a way to use as little water as possible? Could I make a commitment to using recycled fabrics, zippers, buttons and everything else I needed, to make great jeans? Why create more waste when there are warehouses all over the country filled with beautiful used and un-used items? Could I truly eliminate every single element of waste during the manufacturing process of denim? Could I make a commitment to manufacturing locally in Los Angeles to help support the amazing garment industry that struggles to survive? These questions and challenges became the guiding principle of the brand. A long walk in the hills with my dog and Life After Death Denim was born.
It is my fervent hope to inspire other designers, retailers and consumers to demand sustainability.
Change starts with you! Sustainability needs to start now because it’s the right thing to do.
(Founder / Designer)