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Catching Up with DL 1961 Creative Director Sarah Ahmed

Modern vintage, authentic wear-and-tear and unexpected pops of color make up DL 1961’s delightful Spring ’18 collection. The premium denim brand makes a strong case for ’90 nostalgia with a men’s and women’s collection focused on mid-indigo washes and vintage fits.

DL 1961 Creative Director Sarah Ahmed shares with Rivet details about the upcoming collection and how the brand continues to marry modern fabrics and fits with timeless blue jean design.

RIVET: What is the design inspiration for the Spring ’18 men’s and women’s collections?
Ahmed: For women, the idea of “modern vintage” drove our Spring ’18 collection. Taking vintage fits, refining and reinterpreting them through modern fabrications that are superior in comfort and retention, as well as giving them a sleeker edge. For men, our aim with our core collection was to build the men’s essential wardrobe and refine staple fits and washes. We also wanted to play off of the ’90s nostalgia trend, as well as incorporate the utilitarian trend.

RIVET: How is that inspiration reflected in the denim?
Ahmed: For women, modern vintage is expressed through vintage-inspired fits like the high-rise straight leg and flare, as well as through beautiful light and mid-indigo washes. A feminized version of rigid denim, as well as authentic-looking destruction—blown-out knees, slits, etc.—is being incorporated. For men, we referenced vintage nostalgia through ’90s-inspired mid-indigos and baby blues, as well as through specific seam finishings and details.

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RIVET: What are some important wash and color trends for Spring ’18?
Ahmed: For women, Spring ’18 is all about beautiful vintage-inspired and ’90s-throwback washes that range from light to mid-indigo. For men, blacks, charcoals, navy, army greens and neutrals continue to be staples, but we’re also seeing bolder pops of color, including pastel pinks, lavenders and royal blues.

RIVET: What are the major trends in cuts and silhouettes?
Ahmed: For women, cropped fits, high rises and vintage-inspired straight legs are still important. For men, aside from evergreen slim-straight fits and modern straight legs, athleisure and streetwear are more influential than ever. For Spring ’18, we’re interpreting that in a slightly more polished way—think clean, detailed track chinos that have a subtle drop-crotch fit with a tapered leg.

RIVET: What’s the status of distressing and embellishments?
Ahmed: Embellishments have taken a bit of a back seat, with a less overt, more toned-down approach. As far as details go, distressing and destruction are still major elements in denim right now, but done in a way that mimics authentic wear-and-tear.

RIVET: Are there any trends that are beginning to taper off for Spring ’18?
Ahmed: When it comes to denim, certain trends may gain more traction (like vintage-inspired fits and washes) while others slow down a bit (like bell-bottom flares and all over ’70s-style embroidery) but no trend ever really die.

RIVET: Is the brand introducing any new performance or technical attributes to its denim range for spring?
Ahmed: We’re introducing a special denim blend that captures the look of vintage-style rigid denim but delivers the comfort of modern stretch. It’s the best of both worlds and is what makes our vintage-inspired jeans better than real vintage. We’ve also developed a new DualFX series for our men’s denim collection specifically. This new fabrication has incredible retention and comfortable stretch but still washes down beautifully while retaining an authentic soft, denim feel.

RIVET: What are some key trends in children’s denim for Spring ’18?
Ahmed: The California coast and surfer culture is really influencing kids right now. Think retro pastels, bleached-out and sun-faded washes, worn-in destruction and fun desert- and tropics-inspired patches like cacti, palm trees and flamingos. The kids’ and juniors’ world is really its own thing. We do like to translate our strongest adult washes to our kids’ fits, but aside from that, it’s all about novelty detailing and fun, flirty and girly accents.