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Off the Cuff: Liverpool Jeans Founder Jill Perilman

You can’t buy confidence, but a good pair of jeans can help. Los Angeles-based Liverpool Jeans aims to offer women (and soon men) that instant pick-me-up with a collection of denim focused on fit, stretch and recovery under $100.

Fashion industry veterans Ron and Jill Perilman launched Liverpool Jeans in 2012. Ron owned and operated successful apparel brands such as City Girl and co-operated NYDJ. Jill was CEO of Denimhead, a subscription denim service that provided new innovations and trends in the denim world. The brand—and its attention to fit—is the product of those experiences and lessons learned during their 30-year careers in the apparel business.

RIVET spoke with Jill about how Liverpool Jeans maintains attainable prices and the quality that today’s informed consumers demand.

RIVET: What makes Liverpool Jeans unique from other brands that are trying to stay below that $100 price point?
Perilman: The difference is innovation. We traveled all over the world to source the best design technologies and fabrications that would allow us to achieve what $200 to $300 denim brands can do—for under $100. So, what you get in quality, attention to detail, and most importantly, fit, is a complete stand alone in this price point. Our denim is soft and comfortable to wear, keeps its shape all day (and longer), and is designed in all the right places to flatter and a wide range of body types.

We’re also forward thinking with trend and style because it can’t just look and feel good, it has to be covetable. These are styles you dream about having in your closet. Ultimately, when you’re wearing the right jean, your entire mood changes. Your entire day might change. The confidence women get from looking good affects how you walk through the world, and we want that feeling to be accessible to a wider range of ages, body types and budgets.

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RIVET: What are some of the best-selling styles?
Perilman: Our Sienna Pull On jean has been a top seller across the board. Rather than the traditional zipper and button closure, these jeans have a secret elastic waistband that smooths your waistline and doesn’t bunch or twist no matter how many times they’re worn.

RIVET: Where do you see denim trends going for fall?
Perilman: For Fall ’17, denim trends from the ’90s continue to drive the landscape. The high-waisted, exposed zippers, plaids and flare bottoms make a statement, and there is a range of ways to wear them for women of all ages. Our fall collection is full of bold pieces, seasonal colors [muted greens and blues, rich burgundies] and structured designs. Our line highlights that every woman, no matter her age or size, should not only look outstanding, but also feel confident and ready to seize the day in what they’re wearing.

RIVET: What do you believe is the next big thing in performance fibers for denim?
Perilman: I’m so glad to hear you use the word performance in talking about denim fabrication. I truly think 4-way stretch is the next big thing in performance fibers and denim. No one wants to be wearing a pant which has so much stretch that it sags and bags throughout the day and ultimately, looks unflattering. By having the right amount of give and take within denim fabrics, including 4-way compression/stretch and Dual FX T-400, it transforms traditional fabric to a premium one that is silky-soft to the touch which ultimately helps maintain their shape while still proving the comfortable freedom of movement.

: How do you envision the brand evolving?
Perilman: At Liverpool, the company has always focused on making the jean buying experience a pleasant one. Nobody wants to try on jean after jean only to become frustrated with wearing different sizes within one brand, which is why we offer a consistent fit across all styles. By combining the pillars of innovative fabric technology, affordable pricing and overall comfortable style, Liverpool wants to continue to empower fashion-forward women with the latest trends.

RIVET: During your 30-year career, what have been some of the most impactful ways that denim consumers have changed?
Perilman: Denim consumers today are much more educated on what they want and what they are buying. Consumers are buying online as the internet has become a great tool for people to shop around. However, this puts a huge emphasis on brands being able to provide a consistent fit. At Liverpool, we know how important it is for customers to receive on-trend denim with a superb fit each season that consistently stays perfect for their size.

On a design note, the most impactful way denim consumers have changed is that today they are more interested in investing in the amazing technology that the denim has to offer, instead of a new tricked out designed pocket of the past. A decade ago, consumers were more interested in the style details. Now, they are more interested in a great 5-pocket jean, which has amazing stretch and superb recovery that will last.

RIVET: What are some lessons learned in your career that have helped you steer the direction of Liverpool Jeans?
Perilman: At Liverpool, I am fortunate to design products that I actually love to wear because of their staying power. My whole wardrobe today is Liverpool. It’s funny, I still have a few premium jeans from other brands in my wardrobe that I wore in the past. The few times I’ve gone to put them on, I realize how bad the fit is and how much I’ve just had to “put up” with it. The leg for example, is too tight compared to the waist.

At Liverpool, we pride ourselves in designing and producing a perfectly balanced jean you will feel comfortable wearing all day. My past design positions were mostly with Junior companies where I designed super trendy product, which I loved. My whole design career was in the heart of the denim craze and I loved designing the coolest junior product possible. As much as I love trend, I now create denim trends that are timeless for Liverpool. We are not about fast fashion or looking over designed. We create trendy wearable denim that has lasting power. We love our cool and sophisticated designs. What I have learned in my career is to be true to myself. The minute I put something in the line that I wouldn’t wear – it doesn’t sell. As cute as I think it is…if I won’t wear it, it won’t sell.

RIVET: What is your first denim memory?
Perilman: My first denim memory is rather embarrassing. My first job out of school, I was an assistant designer and told to call a certain mill to make an appointment. The salesman from the mill asked me what I was looking for and I said, “I don’t know?” At the time, I was very green and knew little to nothing about the denim industry. When I fumbled on this answer he asked, “Are you looking for a crosshatch?” I didn’t know what that was so I asked him and immediately thought he dropped the phone. When he replied I felt the disgust through the phone as I’m sure he was thinking, “Oh these young people are going to kill me!” After that phone call, I was determined to learn from my mishap and called everyone I knew to find out what crosshatch denim was—this was my first step in becoming an expert on all things denim rather quickly. I wish I remembered who I spoke with that day so I could assure them his disgust didn’t go unfounded.

RIVET: What is the best piece of advice you would give someone in the denim industry?
Perilman: The best advice I could give someone going into denim is to put a major emphasis on fit. It is all about the fit.

RIVET: What do you love the most about your job?
Perilman: Since graduating from design school in 1989, I have been fortunate to build new brands and create multi-million-dollar private label businesses for various companies. I have always loved nerding out over denim research: what the new trends are, finding the perfect answer to each pant style, what is innovative and groundbreaking in the industry at the time, etc. Throughout the decades, I have worked alongside amazing people, but I must say what I love most about my job now is the people I get to work with on a day-to-day basis.

From the teams behind the design, technical fit, production, pr, marketing, e-commerce, sales and customer service, I know my staff is behind the brand 100 percent. I’m fortunate to come into work every day and do something that I love, but also know I have a support system behind me who have become family. It’s important to love the people you work with when you spend most of your life at work, and my staff makes my job seem like a dream.