Jenny lives in NYC and has been in the denim design world for eight years. She started her career at Ralph Lauren, where she was quickly promoted to associate designer, and then designer within a few years. During her six years at Ralph, she was able to travel to factories all over the world (from Mexico to China to North Africa) to develop and design denim product. She helped launch the Polo women’s brands denim, and helped create those fits from the ground up, partnering with a talented team of wash and fabric developers, patternmakers, and technical designers.
In 2015, when Jenny married her husband Jon (who owns his own company, Passavant and Lee) she decided that it was time to try her hand at a new job. She went to work for a smaller denim company called R13, and designed some of the highest end denim currently in the market. During her year at R13, she spent a month in Italy developing their denim for runways and market, and worked with factories directly to make this happen. Since R13 is a smaller company, Jenny learned the ropes of how to do everything from the ground up without the support of the massive teams she has at Ralph.
It is the expertise she acquired there that brought her to ABLE and allowed her to create our denim line from scratch! She pulled all her connections together to source fabric, create patterns, find the perfect fit model, and secure the right factory. Six months later, you are looking at the results of these years of effort. And we are confident you’ll find the washes, fits and fabrics that feel like the best denim around!
Oh, she and Jon also had a baby in 2016: a sweet, beautiful boy named Ethan!
Where do you get your inspiration for ABLE denim?
I am inspired by living in New York City and seeing the modern woman wearing denim in city life. I love to look at who is wearing what type of denim. There are young twenty-somethings on the subway wearing ripped up vintage denim, and chic uptown women wearing high rise black jeans with stilettos and big black sunglasses. The versatility of what denim can be in our wardrobes is constantly inspiring to me. For this initial FW17 launch collection, I wanted to approach the design by thinking “what is the denim all of us want in our closet?”. Covering the range of chic with black sunglasses to ripped up and well worn, our denim can take you from the most outdoorsy setting to the polished streets of NYC. For this collection, I also got inspiration from the women I love and know in my life. I looked at who we are, and what we need our denim to do for us, and designed a collection to accommodate all of our needs, bodies, and lives.
Where do you picture ABLE denim being worn?
I see our denim being worn in city settings, all the way to the outdoors camping with boots and flannel shirts. The slouch, for instance, could pair with a silky top and heels and be your Saturday night date jean—OR! Could pair with vintage hiking boots and a chunky sweater and be your chilly Saturday morning at the lake house jean. That’s what I love so much about denim. It takes you anywhere. You make it do whatever you want it to do. All of our styles can take you anywhere.
Where did you get your ideas for each style of denim?
I like to look at inspiration from runways, high end denim, and our main market competitors. I like to see what they’re feeling the denim is for each season. And then I take that, and run it through a filter of “what do I want to wear?” And see what sticks. Street style pictures from fashion weeks across the world have always served as a huge inspiration to me. I love seeing what the Japanese girl is wearing to fashion week for denim, with her vintage wide leg and cropped jacket proportions. Or I love to see what is happening in Amsterdam, where it’s vintage on vintage on vintage. Then you hop over to Paris and see what they’re wearing at fashion week, and it’s high rise with heels and glasses and gorgeous outerwear. I loving taking ideas from around the world and running them through that favorite filter, “what would I wear”?
Why should people buy ABLE denim?
The reasons to buy ABLE denim are like an onion. I think the most obvious layer is that the denim is gorgeous and the styles are incredibly cool and wearable and the washes are great (washes are the process done to the denim to give it its look and color). Layering under that, the fits are engineered by some of the best denim pattern-makers in NYC and we have found that this denim fits well across so many women’s bodies! Next, our mission as a company to promote and elevate women across the world is empowering and impactful, not only for the woman who is sewing these jeans, but to you who buy them and realize that you are in fact contributing to solutions rather than to the problem that so many other fashion companies represent. Then, you think about sourcing the denim. We have worked our hardest to source with care and consideration. Basically, there is so much to love about this denim product and the company behind them. All the women at ABLE continue to find more and more that we respect and are inspired by here.
Where is our denim being made?
Our denim is made in a small town called Motul, Mexico in the Yucatan. It is a large factory that services some of the biggest denim brands out there. Yet they have maintained a family-owned culture, where relationships are positive, birthdays are celebrated, and family life is supported. The denim fabrics themselves are sourced from both the US and Mexico.
Who is making our denim?
There is an amazing woman managing our account in Mexico. She is incredibly talented at understanding what we are wanting visually, and then is able to help us technically achieve those goals by working for us with the wash technicians, pattern and sewing teams, and managing all our inventory at the factory. We would NOT be able to make our product without her help! There is also a string of people who support and sew and wash and quality control our product. You’ll see those woman’s names in the denim washes we have (the Angie, the Carla, the Lorena, etc). They each have an important role in the product you are buying!
Can each pair of denim go from day to night?
Absolutely!! I encourage you to take it from day to night, from city to country! From the black skinny to the ripped light blue slouch, this denim can be paired with date night tops or cozy sweaters. If you need inspiration for how to do this, we’ll be doing a few blog posts on how we’ve paired some of our denim styles up with different outfits.
What are your rules for rocking denim on denim?
(aka The Western with a pair of jeans!)
My rules are—DO IT! Denim on denim can feel intimidating if you haven’t done it before. But our denim shirt looks amazing with our slouch jean, with our vintage jean, with our black skinny jean, with our dark blue skinny. You can wear white converse with denim on denim for an easy day time look, or you can throw heels with it and it works just as well!
How do you find your perfect hem?
Finding the perfect length jean is a challenge for all of us! Sometimes it’s too short, sometimes it’s too long. What I recommend is to not let a long inseam make you feel like you can’t wear it. [See our blog post on how to cut your own raw denim hem!] The amazing thing about denim now is that you can wear it however looks best, and it works! So, if you are up for a raw hem I recommend cutting your own raw hem, which will get more and more natural looking in time. I am also a fan of a single cuff or a double roll, depending on the style. For a skinny style, I think a single cuff can be a great look! For a slouch or vintage, double roll to make it perfect for you!
What details prove that our denim is well crafted?
Oh, there are so many! Here are a few fun details I haven’t mentioned yet. There are hidden bartacks at the corners of the back pockets, which show we have secured our pockets to the jean with reinforcement to make sure that it doesn’t rip or start to pull away in that spot. Next, you’ll notice that our back side beltloops attach to the yoke double needle seam. Often brands will not make the beltloops attach there, and there ends up being a hole where they are bartacked in time. Our jeans won’t do that for you! Then there are details like our inside pocket bag print, which gives you the fit name and reminds you of our brand story every time you put them on. Our shank (centerfront metal button) is also branded with our story and mission (local + global). It’s these types of details that come together to make an impactful product that will stand the test of time and wear.
How can I tell if the denim fits me just right?
First of all, take a look in the mirror! Sometimes women are afraid something feels too tight on their legs, but then looking in the mirror they realize it actually fits perfectly and they love the way they look! But some places to consider are—the waistband, how does it feel there at the waist? If it is cutting in too much, you may want to size up. Feel it through the hip and thigh, if it is so tight you can’t sit you may want to size up. Something to consider, though, is that denim DOES loosen up naturally a little bit with time because of the type of construction denim fabric is (a 3x1 twill). Our denim will not “bag out” on you like a cheap denim will, but it will mold to your body naturally with a few wears. So, give it a try on, you’ll want it snug but wearable, and then in time see how it comes to fit you perfectly.