Boyish Jeans founder Jordan Nodarse is among the newcomers promoting sustainable manufacturing in Los Angeles and beyond.
Los Angeles’ chief tree hugger, Jordan Nodarse, also happens to be the founder of Boyish Jeans, a favorite of the denim elite.
Having found his footing as a designer at Reformation, Nodarse became equally enraptured by denim and dismayed by its negative effects on the environment. With every passing revelation about the wastefulness of supply chain processes, he became more determined to revolutionize ingrained methodologies and ultimately, take on the industry.
“I can be the early adopter and steer the ship,” Nodarse said of his efforts to push the denim sector toward sustainability.
Nodarse has immersed himself in the creation of manifold material innovations, the development of a circular lifecycle for denim products, and the elimination of fabric waste through re-spinning scraps into usable yarns. “We can be the guinea pigs,” he said of the Boyish brand and its role in the future of denim.
Describe your design aesthetic.
I have always loved the fact that women can wear men’s products and make them look sexy. It’s kind of an oxymoron. Hearing women talk about boyish aesthetics and looking for unique items at vintage stores—it was always men’s stuff, because the women’s brands were copying each other and there was nothing unique there. So, a lot of our fits come from alternative areas.
What we’re doing might be a little less commercially relevant than what the current atmosphere is putting forward. We go against popular opinion. There’s a nostalgia behind unique, authentic denim. It’s like driving an old car—it might not have all the bells and whistles, but it has a feeling and a vibe that you can’t get from something modern. Many premium denim brands have had trouble making authentic denim because they keep using modern stretch fabrics.
Why do you think your designs are resonating with consumers today?
We focus on alternative fits outside of the typical super stretchy skinny jean. Even our Billy rigid skinny jean is more of a tapered cigarette jean replicating that ’90s Rachel from Friends look. Our second-best fit is the Tommy straight leg jean that we offer in both a 26" and 32" inseam. This gives consumers options on how they would like to wear their jeans in correspondence to the rest of their outfit, like flats versus boots. Consumers are looking for something that's sexy, modern and fresh. It's even more of a benefit to consumers if brands are able to do this in both a conscious and sustainable way.
If you could change one thing about the denim industry, what would it be?
Its massive inefficient wastefulness. The fashion industry has become one of the largest polluting industries in the world, with jean production at the forefront of this phenomena. A standard jean can use up to 8,000 liters of water to make just one pair; 60 percent of that water consumption is needed for the fiber and fabric production, and 30 percent is used to launder the denim to look worn. Our goal is to be as close to zero-waste as possible and we hope that others in the industry soon adapt this mission as well.
What advice would you give to a new denim designer?
Follow your passion because the fashion industry is not as pretty as it appears. You’re going to fail, a lot, so be prepared. I like to reference the Buddhist philosophy, “life is suffering.” This teaches me that life will always have challenges and it’s your choice to either let these challenges affect you in a negative way, or for you to view these challenges as opportunities to grow and become stronger. After all, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.