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AN INTERVIEW WITH ELENA
How did you start EB Denim?
I started EB Denim by cutting vintage jeans into shorts and selling them to my friends. I ended up selling around 300 shorts in two years from my high school locker room! I decided I could really turn this into a business. I learned how to sew and started reconstructing Levi’s men’s 501 pants into women’s jeans. This is when I came up with my signature style, the Original Reinvented 501s.
Are all the styles on of a kind?
All of the washes are one-of-a kind, but they are all made from the same cut (the Levi’s 501) and reconstructed in the same way. So, in a way they are all one-of-a kind. Because all the jeans are made from vintage denim, I am working with all different sizes and colors. This gives the reconstructed denim its flair. However, one challenge during the inception of the company was coming up with a way to standardized and replicate the product in a way that was sellable online.
What is the process of making these jeans?I have a couple of suppliers in Southern California that I visit every two weeks or so depending on what we need. Each time I visit them, I buy anywhere from 40-100 pieces. I pick each one individually, looking for holes and washes that fit my styles. I try to mostly pick USA made jeans in a certain vintage condition. I then sort them according to style. Next, I pass them to my manufacturer where the jeans are cut and sown. The jeans are then washed and sized. We size them using fit models because there is no way to perfectly determine what size they are.
Why did you chose to use men's 501 jeans to turn into women’s jeans?
I can be kind of androgynous when I dress, so I am constantly wearing men’s clothing. I think it’s a beautiful concept bridging that gap between feminine and masculine clothing. But in all honesty, there is a much larger supply of men’s 501s to source from.
I am obsessed with 501s because they are the ultimate vintage American jean. I love the button fly, and they are such an icon in our culture. It’s interesting reconstructing something so simple and classic into something new and edgy.
Any future plans you'd like to share with us?As of now, I am just trying to expand EB Denim brand awareness and hopefully get more amazing people into my jeans!
In the push against fast-fashion and towards sustainability, why is up-cycling a great option?Vintage is honestly timeless. Especially with jeans, the older they are the better they look. So many brands are trying to recreate the vintage look, and a lot of time I don’t think they are successful in doing so. Also, denim requires so much water and energy. I honestly think used looks better, but they also feel better knowing that you are saving the environment.
You're young, juggling full-time school and a business. What would you say to those who have dreams of starting something but are a little intimidated by the hustle?
If you are doing something that you love, you won’t even question it. Sometimes when I am unmotivated, EB Denim becomes tedious and I feel uncertain about my business. But as soon as I feel even the slightest reward, that feeling goes away and I push forward. I am honestly figuring this whole thing out as I go and sometimes it’s super intimidating, but I meet people along the way that are extremely helpful and keep me going in the right direction.
Don't forget to stop in Friday, October 5th to chat with Elena and enter to win a pair!