Jeans are one of the few pieces that reign unchallenged as a wardrobe perennial. And they continue to conquer the world. I don’t think I will ever get tired of singing their praises. But what makes a great pair of jeans? And how do we find that perfect pair that makes us look our best? In that regard, I have turned to two denim experts and fashion industry veterans, Kelly Urban and Misty Zollars, to answer some of the questions I’ve always wanted to ask about denim and to walk us through their brand new denim line everyone seems to be talking about and that, I assure you, is here to stay: AMO Denim . And given the way Kelly and Misty feel about jeans, no word would have been a better choice than amo (the Latin root word for love) to name their brand, nor would I have found someone more appropriate to talk to about one of my favourite style subjects.
AMO set forth to create the perfect pair of jeans, one that feels you’ve worn it forever, that is comfortable and timeless, and that gets better with every wear. The debut Spring 2015 collection is composed of 5 styles, each vintage-inspired, but an up-dated vintage that fits well and is flattering in all the right places, that looks cool and undeniably modern. They are made in Los Angeles, from the finest quality denim, with an uncompromising approach to craftsmanship. So should be our approach to our jeans: uncompromising, settling for nothing but the very best.
Why jeans? Why not something else? Why is AMO different than all the denim brands on the market?
Jeans are what we love, what we always want to wear and ultimately what we base our whole outfit around. When we design, it always comes back to what we would want to wear with the perfect pair of jeans. That is really how AMO was born, we couldn’t find the jeans we wanted to wear in the market, so we set out to design and make the perfect pair of jeans that we wanted to wear ourselves. We have both been designing denim for over a decade, so it is truly what we know and love. We feel AMO is different because we have found a way to make our jeans look vintage, authentic, and cool, but with a feminine and modern approach. We design from a woman’s point of view.
How should a great pair of jeans make you feel?
Your jeans should make you feel like the best version of yourself – fearless, beautiful, and ready to take on the world.
What makes a perfect pair of jeans? Why is it so daunting to find that perfect pair? How are you addressing this at AMO?
Fit and fabric are everything! We understand how daunting it can be to find the perfect pair and that is why we started AMO. The perfect pair should flatter in all the right places, and from all angles. We’ve taken great care in selecting the perfect fabric with just the right amount of stretch, and our signature washes give each pair an authentic worn in look. As far as fit, back pocket placement and slightly forward facing seams give the wearer a long, slim silhouette and a reason to smile when you look in the mirror and turn around – always a good thing!
And once you have found the perfect jeans, what is the best way to take care of them? Should you just follow the instructions or is there any secret to it?
With AMO, the intention is your jeans should become more beautiful over time. The more they are worn and lived in, the better they will get. A general rule of thumb is to wash jeans inside out in cold water and let them air dry, but we do machine dry ours from time to time when there’s not enough time to air dry. Also try to not wash them too often, once every 3-4 wears or so is plenty.
Which AMO style is your personal favourite and why?
Kelly: BABE- It’s the only high waist jean I’ve ever felt like I could pull off, because the fit is so flattering.
Misty: TWIST- It is a versatile jean that can truly be worn with any shoe and I love the ankle slit detail.
One of the things that define AMO Denim is an uncompromising approach to craftsmanship. How can you shop mindfully when it comes to jeans? What details prove that your jeans are well crafted and what are the factors you should always consider?
When shopping for denim, look for “MADE IN USA” on the label. Los Angeles is known as one of the very best places in the world to manufacturer denim, we wouldn’t make our jeans anywhere else! Here in LA we are lucky to work with some of the very best denim factories and wash houses and we believe that long line of expertise and craftsmanship shows through to our end product.
Materials are also very important! We use only the very best quality denim, and that makes a huge difference on how a pair of jeans feels on your body as well as how long they last. As we’ve said before, a good pair of jeans should get better with each wear!
Any do’s or don’ts when it comes to finding a pair of jeans that’s flattering to your butt?
YES, it’s all about the butt! Pocket placement and size are so important. You want your butt to look lifted and well… perky! Pockets that are too small can make your butt look bigger than it actually is.
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about your jeans?
Love! AMO, simply defined, is the Latin root word for love.
Where should the hem hit for different styles?
BABE and TWIST are slightly cropped, so they should hit at or slightly above your ankle. The TOMBOY you can cuff once or twice or not at all – we love how versatile it is. STIX is a traditional slim fit, but we’ve seen women cuff this fit too and it’s very cute! And everyone who wears KICK looks like their legs are a mile long due to its elongated inseam and gradually widening leg opening.
You manufacture locally, in Los Angeles. What are the perks and challenges of being a socially conscious brand?
A very important perk is that we get to be hands-on with our product everyday, which we love to do! We are able to meet the people cutting, sewing, and washing our jeans. There is a true connection when you can be involved in each step of the process. We can ensure that our product has the integrity we envision.
A challenge is being price competitive with other denim brands in the market that manufacture overseas. Although it may be more expensive to produce in the States, we choose to because we want our jeans to be of the highest quality.
Who, in your opinion, has ever worn jeans best?
Kelly: Jane Birkin
Misty: Kate Moss
What do you see happening in denim today? Should we ever take into consideration trends when it comes to jeans?
We see a lot of super stretch denim leggings happening in the world today and we have purposely taken the opposite approach. We love the look of authentic jeans, like the jeans you find at vintage stores, or that our parents wore back in the 60’s and early 70’s. Of course there are details that we wanted to change about those vintage jeans too. We wanted a great fit and a little stretch for comfort, but didn’t want to sacrifice that vintage overall look. With AMO we set out to offer authentic, vintage inspired denim that is also modern, feminine, and comfortable.
What is next for AMO Denim?
We are playing with a few new fabrications, new fits and new ash treatments. We’re always testing out new ideas to see what works. At the same time we like to keep the collection very focused. We approach AMO like we are building our ultimate denim closet and continually ask ourselves – What do we need? What are we missing? What can we not live without? If we both absolutely love an idea, and feel like it’s missing in the denim market, then we know we’re on to something really good.
What does style mean to you? And which is your go-to daily outfit?
Kelly: My style is a work in progress, it’s always changing and evolving. I do love classic pieces with some special detail or little twist, even if it’s hidden. I’m also a big fan of mixing masculine and feminine, like wearing a pair of slouchy TOMBOY jeans with lipstick and heels.
Misty: Style is an expression of your individuality and feeling comfortable in your own skin no matter what you are wearing. My go-to daily outfit is a pair of AMO’s, a shrunken white tee, flats, and vintage jewelry.
Where would we find you when you are not working?
Kelly: With my family- at home, at the beach, on a hike. We love to be outside.
Misty: In my backyard spending time with my fiancé and my children (aka my two dogs).
One thing you can’t start your day without: