Denim City São Paulo, academic director
Maria José Orione
Denim City São Paulo, academic director

Deep Dive

Denim City São Paulo’s Maria José Orione, a long-time veteran of the jeans wear industry, is passing on her firsthand knowledge to the next generation of denim leaders. As the school’s academic director, José José Orione is responsible for structuring and preparing courses aimed at professionals and students in the jeans wear sector.

Orione joined Denim City São Paulo after a long career—more than 35 years—working in the denim supply chain, including at Santa Constância Tecelagem, Zoomp and Tavex-Santista. Before joining her current post, she spent five years at Capricórnio Têxtil, a Brazilian textile company with $200 million in turnover and 650 employees. As strategic planning and marketing director up until 2018, Orione oversaw brand management, market research, communication and consumer insight.

Orione’s academic career, however, began years before she even left the industry in 2003. A professor in the graduate program in marketing and fashion communication at Istituto Europeo de Design (IED), she served as a coordinator in the school’s one-year fashion business course and the postgraduate course in marketing and fashion communication. Over the years, she has also acted as a guest professor in postgraduate courses in fashion business management at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP) and in fashion management at Universidade de São Paulo (USP).

Since 2019, however, Orione has centered her educational pursuits on Denim City São Paulo. Formally opened fall last year, the school connects rising denim creators with leaders in sustainability.

What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?

The lack of information about the progress that the denim industry has made and continues to make, and the lack of knowledge about the real origin of raw materials and the impact that their use has on the water footprint of jeans.

What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?

Understanding the consumer’s desires and connecting with them in a proactive way and aligned with their interests, informing them of the industry’s progress and how much their consumption behavior has and will have weight in this recovery.

Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?

Even though I’m not a fan, I believe that freedom of choice is a major factor in today’s fashion, so let’s leave skinny jeans and their consumers—who, by the way, are many in Brazil—in peace, consuming their favorite shape.

How can denim retail improve?

In many ways, but in Brazil, I believe with a lot of information and training of the teams about product, wearability and respect for consumer choice. And that's why my mission at Denim City is to raise the bar in the jeans chain through education.

How many pairs of jeans do you own?

I believe about 20.

Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?

One hundred percent cotton jeans in boyfriend or wide-leg designs because they are the most comfortable and suitable for my style.