Like any business that has been around for more than a century, the jeanswear industry has its legends. It is also continuously reinventing itself and welcoming more opportunities for innovation—and oftentimes, it takes a fresh perspective to make real change. Rivet’s Denim Minds Under 30 column shines a spotlight on young professionals committed to pushing the denim industry forward, paying special mind to the planet and its people.
In this Q&A, Anahid “Ana” Moran, a denim technical designer at Good American, details how she got her start in denim and how she and her peers are banding together to make denim more sustainable.
Describe your current job.
AK: I currently work at Good American as a denim technical designer. I am responsible for communicating all the garments’ fits, detail comments and information to our vendors. I work directly with our designers and our fit models to get the perfect look and feel of the jean.
What drew you to the denim industry?
AK: I never would have guessed I would end up in fashion, but let alone denim. But after high school, I happened to fall into it, and have never left.
What is your first denim memory?
AK: I had a friend whose parents owned an industrial laundry in L.A. where brands like J Brand, Hudson, Current/Elliott and others would do their wash development and production. At the time, I was a salesperson for a fine cutlery company, and had I set up a sales appointment with the parents. As I was in the middle of my presentation, the dad stopped me and asked if I was happy doing what I do, and that it would be more lucrative, creative and fun to work for him. I started my new job at the laundry the following Monday, and he encouraged me to go out into the wash house and watch how jeans were made. It was history from there.
I had no idea how much creativity was possible with denim. I watched the workers use sandpaper, pumice stones, coating, heat transfers, dye from fruit and flowers; they even used house paint on a production cut. I learned that denim was an artist’s playground, and I was eager to get my hands dirty.
Since working in denim, has anything surprised you about the denim industry?
AK: The level of technology used to develop new variations of denim and wash processes continues to surprise me. Whiskers that were normally sanded into jeans by hand can now magically show up in seconds with a laser. Likewise, a rigid-looking authentic vintage jean can be updated to include high stretch.
What are your short- and long-term goals for the industry?
AK: My short-term and long-term goals are to keep learning and evolving with denim. I hope to one day move to the operations and production management side of things, but for now I am happy working on the fit and development of styles.
Which brands or supply chain partners do you look up to, and why?
AK: For style, I love the mix of vintage basic and fashion denim pieces from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s with a sprinkle of high-fashion attitude. For this reason, my favorite brands are Levi’s, Lee’s, Wrangler, Nudie, Agolde, Balmain, Versace, Miu Miu and Alexander McQueen, though I love small label, creative pieces the most. I love pieces that showcase the skills of the designer and sewer.
What do you think the denim industry will learn from the pandemic?
AK: Due to the pandemic, every aspect of making a jean was affected, from being able to have fabric, zippers or buttons delivered on time, to factories and fabric mills completely closing and having to resource and redevelop entirely. The pandemic hit hard for everyone around the world. We needed to learn how to keep an open mind, and creatively problem solve with what resources we had available.
What advice do you have for other young people in the industry?
AK: Keep pushing forward, as long as you love it. Do your research and keep learning.
What will be the biggest impact that young people will have on the denim industry in the future?
AK: Sustainability. The younger crowd seems to be paying attention to more details than ever before. They think critically about the origins of their garments and creative ways to recycle denim. I feel like there are so many more avenues for reusing and recycling denim now than when I started 10 years ago.