Madewell's Head of Denim Design Talks New Ass-Perfecting Jeans

Madewell's new denim line promises to do "some pretty life-altering things to the rearview." This obviously piqued our interest, so we got in touch with Madewell's head of denim design, Mary Pierson, to chat about all that went into these supposedly life-altering jeans, whether skinny jeans will ever go out of style, and where denim is headed overall. Read on for some denim schooling.
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Madewell's new denim line promises to do "some pretty life-altering things to the rearview." This obviously piqued our interest, so we got in touch with Madewell's head of denim design, Mary Pierson, to chat about all that went into these supposedly life-altering jeans, whether skinny jeans will ever go out of style, and where denim is headed overall. Read on for some denim schooling.
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While we've been long-time fans of just about every Madewell product category, the J.Crew-owned brand has always had a big focus on denim--hence the enormous denim bar that typically occupies prime real estate in each Madewell store. And their jeans have always been pretty good--I have multiple pairs that I've gotten compliments on.

However, Madewell's design team must have seen room for improvement, as they've just launched a new line of denim, in stores and online now. We admittedly haven't tried them on yet, but we're told the new jeans, available in 12 washes and 4 signature styles, will change your life (or at least you're wardrobe).

Apparently, they're really soft and look like heritage denim, but hold their shape, meaning no "baggy knees." They also promise to do "some pretty life-altering things to the rearview." This obviously piqued our interest, so we got in touch with Madewell's head of denim design, Mary Pierson, to chat about all that went into these miraculous-sounding jeans, whether skinny jeans will ever go out of style, and where denim is headed overall. Read on for some denim schooling.

Fashionista: So can you tell us a bit more about this new fabric technology? The new fabric technology involves a dual-fiber yarn—which sounds complicated (or maybe just sort of nerdy) but is basically a super-stretchy core wrapped with soft cotton. It has the look and soft feel of heritage denim, but holds its shape and has a "snap-back" quality like you will not believe.

What exactly makes it so revolutionary? Our fit and fabric combos mean that our jeans will maintain their fit from the moment you put them on until the moment you take them off—you will not end up with the dreaded bagged-out knees situation at 6 o'clock. Which, if you've spent as much time trying on and wearing out jeans as we have, you know that’s a pretty rare find.

How did you come up with it? Our denim design team travels the globe, doing tons of research at denim mills all over the world to track down both heritage fabric, unique wash treatments and of course, new denim technology. When we found this fabric and combined with our wash treatments we know it was game over. We were most intrigued by the promise of the life altering things these jeans will do my "rearview." Tell me more! How will these jeans make our asses more perfect? The new fabric really holds you in (and up) without cutting off your air supply. We like to say our jeans fit like a glove, not tights—an important distinction when you're talking about the flattery-factor of legs and glutes. We also made some tiny-but-crucial tweaks to our signature fits, including adjusting the pocket placement, ever so slightly, to be more backside-friendly. It's amazing the difference a millimeter can make.

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How did you arrive at these four styles? We honed in on the signature jeans our customers obsess over. We want them to be able to try on the same fits they have known and loved for years and be able to see the improvements immediately.

Are skinny jeans every going out of style? I wouldn’t bet against skinny jeans—not only do our Skinny Skinny Jeans remain Madewell crowd favorites, but skinny jeans are pretty much in the Unofficial Wardrobe Hall of Fame at this point. Like a great white tee shirt, a leather moto jacket or a pencil skirt, they're solid go-tos that will be around for a long time to come.

Will straight leg ever be cool again? Don’t count out the straight leg. It’s a classic silhouette—-you can cuff them or roll them and have a little more fun with styling, especially with boots. It’s more of a kicked-back look than that of a skinnier leg.

Where do you see trends in denim going? I think that denim is actually moving away from trends and flashy treatments and more towards timeless shapes and thoughtful craft. We’re using a lot of hand-finishing techniques for jeans that look perfectly worn in and totally unique. And at the end of the day (or rather the start of it, when you're getting dressed) that's going to be the pair you reach for, first.

Shop it here.