Warp + Weft CEO Sarah Ahmed finds a niche in direct-to-consumer denim.
Other brands may be adopting inclusive sizing, but Warp + Weft built its foundation on it. Founder and CEO Sarah Ahmed launched the brand to “create jeans for everybody and every body”—and consumers are taking note.
In 2018, the designer was recognized in Forbes’ 30 Under 30, which noted that, less than one year post-launch, the brand generated more than $2.5 million in revenue.
While Warp + Weft’s initial focus was jeans, the company is branching out. In July, Ahmed announced the brand’s inclusive intimates line, which she promises will “serve our customers in the same way our jeans do.” The line features garments that coincide with its sustainability and inclusivity standards.
Describe your design aesthetic.
I design for people on the go, who need something to live their lives in. And always with an artful eye. I like to see trends on the runway and translate them into something our customers will be excited to participate in, and also feel comfortable wearing in their daily lives.
Why do you think your designs are resonating with consumers today?
Today’s customer shops with their values in mind. They care about the environment and want brands to be held accountable for their impact. We believe we have the responsibility to give back and help the planet, and strive to do that in everything we do. People respond very well to that. We are also transparent about the fact that we’re on a journey and that we’re not perfect, which resonates with a millennial audience who places a lot of value on authenticity.
Also, our core mission is to create jeans for everybody and every body. Today’s consumer is all about body positivity and inclusivity. They’re tired of seeing the same kind of person represented in fashion, and respond really well when they see people of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds represented. We carry sizes 00-24 and find it very important to feature a wide variety of people in our brand storytelling to reinforce our mission.
If you could change one thing about the denim industry, what would it be?
It all comes down to accountability, transparency and inclusivity. Today, I'm still one of the handful of women who lead denim companies (my sister being another) and I think that lack of representation is felt in the product. You can only create denim for everyone if it's created by everyone. But, in order to do that, there needs to be accountability and full transparency within the company and beyond. So, over the next year we are working on opening our doors to everyone and anyone who wants to take a deep look at how we are made at every step. We want our customers to see everything, hold us accountable and ultimately be able to create their own products via our new crowdsourcing design platform.
What advice would you give to a new denim designer?
Live, observe, feel, take a risk, do something different and express yourself unapologetically. Authenticity equals longevity. Ups and downs will happen, but if you stay true to yourself and your vision, that wins over a very loyal customer in the long run. You’ll never have to sell yourself out.
What’s exciting you about denim in 2019?
For a few years, everyone gravitated towards athleisure and denim was set aside. However, this is changing. Thanks to advances in denim technology, you can now essentially wear something that feels like sweatpants but looks like vintage denim. I also think brands focusing on inclusivity have made more people feel heard and represented. It’s helped more people than ever find what they want in their size and price point. At Warp + Weft, we want people to live their best lives in their denim.