MEET THE PERSON #1 AMY LEVERTON

Today the 1st episode of the new topic Meet the Person. This new topic Meet the Person is about passionate people, people in the denim industry with a clear focus, mind-set and initiatives. In Meet the Person I will give you an insight into their life; who are they, what are they doing, what makes them so special, where are they working on, etc. etc. The kick-off from this new topic is with the most dedicated denim girl in the industry. She’s legendary of her book Denim Dudes (check here for more info about the Denim Dudes book), but she’s doing more cool stuff as denim trendforecaster and consultant. Very happy with her as kick-off as she’s one of my personal favo Denim Dudettes! Thank you Amy for sharing your story!

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Amy Leverton

Pic by Sadia Rafique

  • Name: Amy Leverton
  • Living in village & country: Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
  • Age: 37
  • Instagram ID: @denimdudes
  • Number of Instagram followers: 37k (almost!)
  • Website: www.denimdudes.co
  • Daily work: Denim trend forecaster and consultant

Can you introduce yourself (who are you and what are you doing):

I’m an ex denim designer but have worked in trend and consultancy for the last 10 years. I worked for two of the biggest agencies in both the UK and the US (WGSN and Stylesight) before finally going freelance in June of 2015. In my line of work in denim trend I research the latest emerging brands, scour street style and runways, attend trade shows and travel the globe looking for inspiration. I work with brands to determine what they should be doing next, both with denim, design, strategy and direction.

Pic by Kelsi Smith 

How did you entered the denim industry:

I completed a BA Hons in fashion design at Kingpins University from 1999-2002 where I learned pattern cutting, design development, illustration, market research, etc. From there, after interning/working for a couple of small independant designers I scored my first proper job at Oki-ni, London. If you don’t know the company, we colaborated with larger brands such as Levi’s, Evisu, Adidas, Duffer St George, etc. to create limited edition capsule collections. It was during this time that I worked on a Cone Denim White Oak jean and got the oportunity to visit their mill in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was there that I realised there was so much to learn about denim, from the history to the chemistry and I was hooked.

Pic by Denim dudes/ Dudettes photographer Ryan Lopez

What are you doing at the moment:

I came back from Tokyo on Friday and had to run to San Francisco on Sunday to finish up on my seasonal direction for Levis FW18/19. Now I’m starting my Kingpins (fabric trade show) Fall Winter 18/19 work, which needs to be in on the 9th April. I am also trying to take a bit of time off and paint my apartment!

Amy Leverton sharing the latest Spring Summer ’18 denim trends at the Kingpins Amsterdam edtion. 

Where are you the most proud of so far as it comes to your work:

The Denim Dudes book was the biggest game changer for me. I don’t think it necessarily taught me that much, but it certainly prooved to a lot of people what I already knew. Does that make sense? By putting out the book it was a bit like validating my knowledge and also convincing people in the denim world that I knew what I was talking about. Until that point I was the same person, I was just a total unknown.

Amy Leverton did an interview on London Live tv about her book Denim Dudes.

What’s the biggest denim trend(s) right now in your opnion:

For a purist online denim magazine such as Long John I feel a bit weird talking about trend, as I know a lot of your readers are anti-trend in a way. But trends exist, even in the heritage world. I don’t see trend as a dirty word and celebrate the concept of new inspiration. I have to, its in my blood and its my job! What’s been the most interesting to me the last season is watching the whole heritage workwear thing move all the way from being very literal and core, through to influencing the street (think ’90’s Carhartt) and then recently being picked up by runway. Right now my favourite brand is Lorod, a womens brand who look at workwear but re-package it for the contemporary womens market. Its really great.

And what would be the next denim trend:

There are so many trends for so many segments of the market. Military has been a really big driver and like I said before I think workwear has gone through an evolution from being all about ’30’s and ’40’s ‘Boss of the Road’ to a cleaner, ’90’s Carhartt/Dickies thing. At this present moment in time though, everyone is really celebrating a nostalgic Levi’s moment. Its all about stonewash.

What’s your favorite denim brand(s):

I mentioned Lorod earlier but I guess if I’m just talking about what I like personally and what I wear the most of, from vintage to new, it has to be Levi’s.

Where is your inspiration coming from:

I probably answered this question earlier but for me, travel is the source of inspiration. I do go away a lot and sometimes that can get difficult. But its where I find my inspiration so if I don’t go, I don’t discover. Tokyo, New York, Budapest, Seoul, Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, Lahore, Berlin, Dubai, Bangkok, Melbourne, Dhaka… the list is endless and you never know where the next idea will come from.

Amy Leverton in Pakistan on piles of denim cotton.

What’s your favorite denim item in your closet and why:

My current favourite item has to be a 1940’s workwear pant. Its been worn and worn and repaired and repaired and the shades and handwork on it are lovely. But the main reason its my favourit piece is because denim legend Adriano Goldschmied gave it to me. We were at a trade show recently and we were looking at all the vintage denim and he told me I deserved a jean and literally bought it for me. It was a bargain but it was still $250. I couldn’t believe it! So for me its my current favourtite piece because its a meaningful gesture that says ‘I’m doing ok’.

Vintage 1940’s workwear pants. 

Adriano Goldschmied (The godfather of denim) and Amy Leverton.

What’s your favorite denim fit: Currently the Levi’s 606. I love it.

What’s your favorite denim city: Tokyo, proably always will be. Unrivalled!

Who’s your favorite denim designer: Probably Hiroki Nakamura from Visvim.

What do you think it’s the best invention in the denim industry:

God, that’s a hard one! But hey, come on, its got to be the rivet. A shout out to Jacob Davis for that one! Without it, would Levi’s exist? Would it be Lee or Wrangler at the top or some other defunct workwear brand? Who knows? I’d like to think that the jean would have been what it is today, but when you look at the innovation that happened at Levi’s throughout its history, I don’t know that any other brand could have taken the jean to wear its at today.

Who’s your denim hero and why:

A few!

  1. Adriano Goldschmied. Because he doesn’t stop, he is continually evolving and continually looking to the next thing.
  2. Andrew Olah from Kingpins and Olah Inc, because I don’t know anyone who knows as much as he does about the global industry. Not about design but about actual industry. And again, he doesn’t stop, he is always trying to push things.
  3. Jonathan Cheung from Levi’s Jeans because I don’t work with a smarter person and don’t think ever will.

What’s your favorite denim store:

Even though I don’t own a ton of Kapital (I mean I own a fair bit but I’m not a super fan like say Jon from Bandana Almanac) I would still have to say Kapital. Because as stores they draw you in, they tell the story of their brand, they make the retail experience a REAL EXPERIENCE and for that reason they always move me.

What are your ultimate denim accessories:

I’m a big Converse gal. I have a lot of pairs of converse and wear them to death. My two favourites both came from Tenue De Nimes store. One is the indigo dyed Cons and the other is the ’70’s replica stars ’n stripes. And then tees: I love vintage rock tees and I love vintage slogan tees. I’m a tomboy so for me a pair of jeans, a pair of Cons and a fun tee is my uniform.

Amy Leverton wearing the indigo dipped Converse by Tenue de Nimes.

Pic by Sadia Rafique

What’s your favorite inspiration quote:

Its better to be nieve than to be jaded. The denim industry annoys me sometimes when people (mostly consumers, rarely designers) become very closed minded and hate on people, brands and lifestyles. Design is about innovation and inspiration. I often get mistaken for being younger or less knowledgible than I am simply because I still get damn excited about what I do. I still jump up and down and squeel when I see something I think is cool. And I never want to loose that side of me because that’s the side of me that will make me like Adriano or Andrew when I’m in my 60’s: still pushing forward, still exploring.

Who do you love to see in the next Meet the Person:

Well I live out here in LA now so I would love you to do someone you may not know out here. So either Kortney from Normal Russel or Fox from the Fox Hole vintage store.

Pic by Denim dudes/ Dudettes photographer Ryan Lopez

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Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.