Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interview: Rich & Skinny Designer Joie Rucker

Previously you might remember me raving about the amazing comfort of Rich & Skinny denim. They are seriously one of the most comfortable pairs of jeans I have ever owned! I can't speak highly enough about the satin waistband and almost no abrasion seaming!!!

So I was super excited when I had the chance to catch up with Joie Rucker, denim designer extraordinaire who is now working with Michael Glaser on the Rich & Skinny line. Between the two of them they have over 50 years of experience working in denim...so serious Cred!!! Her jeans are available for purchase on the Rich & Skinny Website, Revolve Clothing and Nordstrom.com.

Joie tells
us about her "secret" denim care trick and what types of jeans work best for curvy women, her design philosophy and what's in work for Fall 2009. Plus we have Fall 2009 preview images from the Rich & Skinny lookbook! Enjoy :)


SRC: Hi Joie! We are so glad that you could take the time to do this interview with us. I’ve always been a fan of the high quality, amazing comfort and great fit of your designs!

SRC: Was it a difficult to leave Joie, the namesake company you founded?
Joie Rucker : Yes- it was very difficult and no bueno. However, we all have lessons in life and that was one of mine.
However, Serge Azria, the current owner of Joie Jeans, has done a good job with the brand.
I am happy to see that he has continued the "Joie" vibe and been successful with it.

SRC: Who doesn’t want to look rich and skinny? Is that always in the front ground of your designs?
JR: Whenever I am designing, my primary focus is how my customers will look and feel in the clothes. I want them to feel "rich and skinny"... Another not-so-controversial way of saying it, would be that I want them to feel the luxury of the garments in terms of quality and I want the garment to compliment their shape- no matter what the size or curves.

SRC: I love your philosophy that people should wear the jeans that they feel most comfortable in; it’s not a matter of just following the trends. Do you have any tips for cuts that our readers should buy to flatter their different body types? Ie. curvy, boyish figure, shorter ladies etc?
JR: Yes, I hate seeing "fashion victims" (people that wear something only because of trend).
Trends are great and fun, but not every trend works for every person.
There are general rules of proportion that apply to different body types, i.e.. curvy bodies look better in slightly higher waisted boot cut jeans than in skinnies because the boot leg will balance the hip curve in the eye of the observer.
A higher waist will accentuate the positive curve above the hip.
That said, Curvy women can look good in the right skinny, it all comes down to fit.
Fit in a jean is everything and I pride myself in making fits that can compensate for figure "flaws" and allow more women to wear various style options and still look good.

SRC: Joie, I know that you must love denim more than anyone with a collection of 400 pairs of vintage denim plus denim you wear on an everyday basis! Where do you keep them all?
JR: If I told you and would have to kill you :)!

SRC: Do you remember the moment that you first fell in love with denim?
JR: I first fell in love with denim when I bought and started wearing my shrink-to-fit button fly red tab 501 Levis jeans (this was before "premium" or E). As they started to wear in, each rip, tear and scuff became a memory and the jeans started to take on the feel of being a diary of my life. I know, sounds strange, but the magic and allure of indigo is thousands of years old.

I'm just one of the latest indigo "kooks" and my love affair continues...

SRC: Any denim crimes our readers should be avoid? Or is all fair in love and denim?
JR: All's Fair... except I really hate it when people brag about buying a pair of jeans cheap and I look at the quality of the jean and where they were made and it's not the USA.

People don't realize that when they brag about a good price, there's a reason, either the quality, the treatment of the workers, or the designs are compromised. To a trained eye, you can see them coming down the block, but your average customer won't know the difference until they have owned the jean for a while and it starts falling apart. I try to make jeans that will someday be bought in second hand boutiques, I want our jeans to last...All of our denim is made in Los Angeles.

SRC: What’s the best way to care for your denim? I heard you have a special freezer trick ;)
JR: The best way to keep denim looking great and if you are a denim aficionado, build the best broken-in finish, is not wash them as much as possible.

One way to keep from having to wash is to put the jean in a freezer bag and freeze for a few hours. The freezing process kills any bacteria that can cause odor, however it won't help remove dirt or stains.

If you must wash, cold water with the least amount of detergent is best. Low heat dryer if necessary.

But don't make yourself crazy...nothing is "wrong" with washing when needed...

SRC: Are there any washes or detailing that you think will really take off in 2009? I was personally admiring the neon denim in your Spring 09 lookbook, super fun!
JR: I love the neons too- especially neon pink which we did as a special color for Intermix storeas in NYC.
We also have some amazing "destroyed" finishes that are fun for summer and my favorite wash for Fall is our "Mended Heart" wash in my Skinny Boyfriend fit. Mended heart is a vintage wash and I added small details of iron-on patches over small holes. I love it and think it looks very authentic.

SRC: Aside from denim, what’s your guilty pleasure?
JR: I have sooo many!!! Aside from being a surfer and a read-a-holic... it's Shoes and Lingerie - just like every other girl!

SRC: What are three things you can’t live without?
JR: Things? Ok- My Wayne Rich 9'6" tri-fin (long board), my hanky panky's and my grandmother's cowboy boots! I know, strange combo...

SRC: You just launched your men’s line Rich by Rich and Skinny earlier this year, do you have any plans for future expansion?
JR: I love the men's line and it's still just developing... we have a small fan base building. We have kept the distribution very limited but the need for great fitting, comfortable Men's denim is definitely there. We have some really great fits and finishes and I have been getting really good feedback from all of my guy friends... I am currently focused on expanding Rich and Rich & Skinny, but you never know what the future holds.... I will keep you posted!!!

SRC: Thank you so much Joie for joining us!
JR: Thanks for having me and for helping to get the word out!! You guys rock! Love Joie


Dream Sequins said...

Awesome! This is a fun post! I *heart* the interviews.

Anonymous said...

great post!

Anonymous said...

hopefully the men's line comes to Canada soon!

shanahs said...

i've seen the men's line in canada already. but the no washing jeans thing seems difficult.

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