If there’s one brand that may be categorized as “feminist denim,” it’s Radian Jeans. And it’s all thanks to a small detail that most women’s fashion brands take for granted: pockets.
Founded in 2018, Radian was started by husband-and-wife duo Ahmed Malik and Wardah Inam after the latter expressed frustration with the size of the pockets on all of her jeans, which made it impossible to carry everyday items like a phone, wallet, keys or ID without needing a purse. That’s when the pair began designing jeans targeted to women who share this pain point.
And as the jeans’ popularity demonstrates—Radian’s December 2018 Kickstarter raised $250,000 in pre-sales, significantly surpassing its goal of $15,000—there was clearly an untapped market of women struggling with their insufficient pockets.
“Denim brands are mostly focused on making the jeans look stylish, which seems to require a compromise on functionality and comfort,” Malik told Rivet. “We saw a huge gap in the availability of basic functionality in women’s jeans, where decent-sized pockets to carry everyday essentials were missing.”
A 2018 study from The Pudding echoed this revelation. Its researchers found that, on average, women’s jeans pockets were 48 percent shorter than the average male pocket. Pockets in women’s jeans were also found to be consistently narrower than their male counterparts, by 6.5 percent on average.
Each pair of Radian jeans features the brand’s signature six-inch front pockets and secure back pockets that contain an extra flap for further protection while remaining subtle and functional—qualities that women are finding especially necessary as the size of the standard smartphone continues to grow.
The jeans are also built for optimal performance, with Coolmax All Season technology that offers moisture-wicking, 4-way stretch and heat-locking properties. Additionally, the brand’s white jeans use a nanotechnology-based fabric treatment that keeps it stain-free. Each of these features was consciously included in the design of the jeans to cater to active women.
“We find most inspiration from active women who are doing great things in life and want more from their apparel than just style,” Malik said.
The jeans’ technical composition is a reflection of the co-founders’ background, which includes Malik’s current role in MIT’s Advanced Functional Fabrics of America’s Entrepreneurship Program, and Inam’s electrical engineering and computer science PhD from MIT.
Needless to say, these are not your typical denim designers—and that posed an interesting challenge for Malik, who at first struggled to source the right materials that would form the basis of the brand.
“We’re offering specialized performance fabrics in our blue washes, and it’s extremely difficult to source them,” he said. “However, we heard our customers loud and clear that these features were crucial. And so we set out to find suppliers who focus on quality, communicate clearly and have a genuine in interest in their work.”
Women don’t need deep pockets to buy Radian jeans. The brand’s jeans retail for $99 and currently come in two mid-rise styles: skinny and straight. Both are available in blue, indigo, black and white and come in sizes 0-16, with the option of short (28-inch), regular (30-inch) and tall (32-inch) inseams.
What’s next for the brand in 2020 will be determined by the wants of its customer base. As Radian’s bestselling product was born from listening to a frustrated demographic, using this same philosophy to shape its future is only fitting.
“We’re working on which products to offer for next season, and that will be based on the feedback we receive on what our customers want to see,” Malik said.