Style :: Fashion

Join the Cult... of Individuality

by Matthew Wexler
Contributor
Wednesday Mar 13, 2013
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Who doesn’t love a great pair of jeans? But denim can go terribly wrong (remember that famous Mom Jeans sketch from "Saturday Night Live"?)

While you may think that this iconic fabric is an American phenomenon, a material called "serge de Nimes" was known in France prior to the 17th century. But the nomenclature is most likely where the similarity ends, as the twill was woven from wool and silk, not the traditional cotton that we associate with modern day denim.

To complicate fashion history even further, jean and denim were considered very different fabrics in 19th century America according to Levi Strauss & Co. historian Lynn Downy. Her research reveals that jean material (often a blend of cotton, linen and/or wool) was often used for high-end topcoats, vests and jackets; while blue denim was used for working clothes such as overalls.

Whether you refer to your favorite pair of pants as denim or jeans, today’s market is hot with an array of brands and price points for this go-to wardrobe essential. EDGE sat down with Ron Poisson, Founder and Designer of Cult of Individuality.

Starting his career at the age of 17 with a line of surf-inspired T-shirts, Poisson has held numerous roles in the fashion industry. He conceptualized Cult of Individuality in 2008 as a brand where beach-style could meet a city-cool aesthetic. And while he may have a laidback fashion sense, the company’s founder is known in the industry as "the mule" for his work ethic.

EDGE sat down with Poisson to gain his perspective on what makes denim unique as well as trends for the coming season .


A Canvas for Creativity

EDGE: What was the inspiration for starting Cult of Individuality?
Denim really has become a cult phenomenon in the fashion industry. It is one of the common detonators; yet, it is an individual expression of one’s own personality. Jeans have a canvas for creativity, we all have our favorite pair of jeans - that one pair that we cannot part with, no matter how old it gets or how many repairs we have had to make to it over time and in some ways it helps define us.

We have worn those jeans through the good times and the bad times, it is the pair of jeans that always finds its way into your suitcase when you are traveling and always makes you feel good about yourself when you have them on. They give you a sense of confidence. I wanted to create a vintage denim line that evoked those feelings from the moment you put them on, like you just found your long lost pair of jeans.

EDGE: Are jeans really all that different? Why not just stick with a cheap pair?
Yes, jeans have become an artist’s canvas. The fabric, the wash, the details and the fit are all very different from brand to brand. These are the ingredients that make each denim brand different and unique.

EDGE: What makes a good pair of denim?
That is different for each person. I truly believe what makes a good pair of jeans is the moment you put them on, you get a sense of confidence that you feel and look amazing in them.

EDGE: What are the trends for spring 2013?
WOMENS’: Vintage continues to pick up a lot of pace. We are still seeing color and print carrying through spring, but we are beginning to mix mediums and fabrics as well as adding more layers to the color and print by adding embroidery, studs and other embellishments.

MENS’: We continue to see vintage rip and repair, adding a mix of color and prints. Camo is strong for mens. The workwear look is also gaining momentum again -- where we focus on cleaner finishes but with a work-inspired silhouette.

EDGE: For those who can’t pull of a skinny jean because of their body type, what kind of cut would you suggest?
For those women who feel uncomfortable with the skinny, because they feel their hips are too large, the bootcut is a great option as it tends to balance out to proportions of the a woman’s body. A slim boot and a straight leg are also great options.


Matthew Wexler is EDGE’s National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at www.roodeloo.com. He is also a trained chef and currently writing a food memoir.

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