When news broke a few weeks back that cult denim brand DL1961 was releasing an odor-resistant jean I thought, “They think of everything!” Because it’s true–they really do. Jeans with 4-way stretch so they never sag? They have that. Jeans that sculpt your legs, butt and midsection? They have them, too.
Unlike so many other denim brands out there, technology is such an integral part of what makes DL1961 insanely successful so we decided a convo with the brand’s creative director, Sarah Ahmed, was long overdue. Here’s what she had to say about taking denim technology to the next level.
SHEfinds: How’d you get your start in fashion?
Sarah Ahmed: I never intended on getting into fashion. When I was at Parsons the New School for Design I was actually studying interface design, management and technology. However, the opportunity to work at DL1961 and express my creativity was too appealing to turn down.
Oh hey, Sarah!
SF: How did DL1961 come about?
SA: DL1961 is a family business. A lot of fashion brands that are known for quality and craftsmanship are family businesses. Our family has been in the denim field for about two decades with a focus specifically in technologically advanced denim. Innovation and making denim that makes your life better is what inspired the company. Providing a jean that not only made you look great, but one that you could comfortably live in 24/7 is what we aim to achieve everyday. Denim fads are fun but it is the utility, dependability and consistency combined with contemporary feel that sets DL1961 apart.
SF: DL1961 has really been ahead of the curve when it comes to incorporating technology with denim–what’s behind that?
SA: It is definitely our company’s core and philosophy. Everything in our line not only makes you look amazing, but has added benefits like 98% shape retention, 4-way stretch, 360 degree movement, odor resistance, eco-friendly processes and treatments. The list goes on.
All this innovation is driven by one thing: the needs of our customers. We believe that our customers lead extremely busy lives and don’t want to worry about their jeans fitting properly. We created a line that can be worn from the plane to the boardroom and beyond, allowing focus more on what they are doing in the denim without thinking about whether their denim is sagging, baggy or losing shape.
One of each please.
SF: Can you talk us through some of your most notable denim innovations?
SA: Everything in our line provides a certain ‘benefit’. Initially customers didn’t understand the need for denim that outperforms everything in their closets, but now, with more people traveling, working and generally living in denim, there is a huge demand for DL. This is where our ‘Smart Denim Technology’ fits in. Smart Denim Technology is an umbrella term for all of the technology that we use: DLX, dlpro, DLX Hybrid, Intelligent Denim, Instasculpt and Performance denim. What this means is that we have denim that instantly slims you, sculpts you, keeps you cooler in summer and warmer in winter, never sags, bags or loses shape. One thing you won’t need to worry about is odor causing bacteria because it’s odorless for up to 50 washes.
SF: How do you come up with what technology to pursue next?
SA: Our team is a group of denim nerds: scientists, designers, wash specialists, lab technicians and our partners at companies like INvista, Lenzing and Dow are at the forefront of what is happening in the denim field. As a company we are very proactive about pursuing and implementing technologies where others are hesitant. We are creating denim that makes people’s lives better, whether it is making you feel instantly slimmer or allowing you to wear the same pair of jeans for consecutive days without worrying if they are going to sag or have a bad smell.
SF: What’s the actual idea to product process like? Do you work with scientists or do you and your designers do it all?
SA: It’s a team effort. Everyone from our scientists to our designers are here because we all share the same goal: creating denim that outperforms everything in your closet while having a contemporary and sophisticated feel. We want our customers to understand what makes our denim stand apart and include information on the process of denim on our website, dl1961.com.
Can we be your test dummies?!
SF: What technology can we expect next?
SA: Since that is super top secret, you will just have to wait and see. Just know that everything we do is designed to make the daunting process of trying and buying denim a whole lot easier.
Convinced you need a pair of DL1961’s in your life? Click through the slideshow to shop our favorites.
For more of our favorite designers, check out the Smythe design studio, meet the designer behind dRa and get up close and personal with the Mackage designer.