Monday, February 6, 2012

JO DENHAM DESIGNER JEANS FROM AUSTRALIA

KEE@FSWMAG.COM

WHEN YOU THINK OF AUSSIE FASHION, ONLY 2 ICONIC IMAGES COME TO MIND---THE ROUGH AND TOUGH GEAR OF CROCODILE DUNDEE AND UGG SHOES!

NOW THERE IS A THIRD ENTRY---JO DENHAM DESIGNER JEANS!
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JO WHO? YA YA IN MALAYSIA SHE IS NOT THE HOTTEST NAME TO SPOUT FROM LOCAL FASHIONISTAS' LIPS AND EVEN I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF HER UNTIL MY CONTACTS IN PERTH MENTIONED HER AND PASSED OUT WHEN I SAID I NEVER HEARD OF JO DENHAM BUT THEN AGAIN, SOME PEOPLE IN DOWN UNDER HAVE NEVER READ MY BLOG OR HEARD OF ME EITHER.

SUFFICE TO SAY IT IS A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE SOME HIP DEPARTMENT STORE OR BOUTIQUE IN KLCC OR PAVILION OR MIDVALLEY START STOCKING HER UBER HIP AND HIGHLY WEARABLE JEANS THAT CLING TO YOUR ASS LIKE A SECOND SKIN.

I LOVE THE LOGO WHICH IS THE SOUTHERN CROSS. FOR THE TERMINABLY IGNORANT, THE SOUTHERN CROSS IS A CONSTELLATION OF STARS BEST VIEWED IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE AS IT DOES APPEAR TO BE LIKE A CROSS WHERE JESUS CHRIST DIED SO OUR SOULS CAN BE SAVED. ANYWAY I ALWAYS SCAN THE AUSSIE SKIES FOR THE SOUTHERN CROSS BUT AM NEVER QUITE SURE IF I WAS STARING AT THE SOUTHERN CROSS OR NOT AS MY EYES ALWAYS HAVE A TENDENCY TO SEE WHAT MY DEVIOUS, MANIPULATIVE AND GENIUS MIND WANT TO SEE!
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This is how the Southern Cross looks like OK
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The Southern Cross logo is so spot-on
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Anyway, the Southern Cross appears smack on your ass so you now know how it looks like. I always imagine the early settlers used to look up at the night sky as they struggled to build what would be Australia, one of the greatest nations on the surface of this earth. I have been Down Under maybe 30 times but still drop everything to rush there if there is an invite. Back in the 1800s the early settlers must have been so inspired by the Southern Cross when times were so tough but knew God was with them as they created from scratch one of mankind's greatest success stories.

Now you can wear Australia on your top and rear!

Each Jo Denham jeans costs A$ 169 (around RM 500) so it is not the pasar malam type but it is worth every sen as you will be the first to show off in Kuala Lumpur.

Check them out at www.jodenhamjeans.com
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JO DENHAM-joanna ferguson.jpg
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This guy has a Maltese Cross on his back
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And this is Jo Denham the designer! She is also a glamslam sexy chick! Most designers, you will notice, look like last year's leftovers that the cat dragged in.




For those who insist on knowing more, here goes;


BACKGROUND Q & A

An in-depth insight into Joanna Ferguson, the fashioner designer behind the new label JO DENHAM Designer Jeans

What was the inspiration behind JO DENHAM Designer Jeans?

My good friend and publicist in New York suggested I cross-promote my music with my love for denim. I had always wanted my own fashion label because I was often tweaking and customising my outfits from op shops, so it made sense to design jeans as they’re all I ever wear.

The theme of iconic Australian landmarks relating to each style was inspired by the logo initially. I wanted to represent Australian pride, but not alongside the recent stigma (I mean, it’s a shame we can’t fly our national flag while we’re in our own country without the media branding us as racist...so ridiculous) I was drawn to an accessible and universally-recognised symbol – the Southern Cross. Then I built on my stylisation from there, utilising unique Aussie landscapes to evoke specific design elements that fit within the standardised, traditional cuts of denim jeans, such as “Pinnacle Skinnies” (Women’s Skinny Leg), “Kakadu Plum” (Women’s Boot Cut) and “Ningaloo Reefers” (Men’s Straight Leg).

When I was a girl (and, again when I first left home at 17), I remember driving around Australia, in awe of the natural beauty of this country and everything it represented to a young, wide-eyed, free-spirited go-getter... yet still seemingly taking it for granted. Now, as a grown woman, I see so much commercial and residential development going up everywhere, that it’s getting rarer to see Australia in its untamed glory.

I think from a nostalgic, preserving perspective, I wanted to not only pay homage to our national wonderments but also introduce them to the rest of the world via today’s pop culture. Fashion and music are big and powerful communicators to our younger generation. I noticed the Jamaican culture phenomenon (which I have been a fan of for more than 15 years) long before Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. label and wondered why our unique and endearing Aussie culture hadn’t been successfully embraced within the world fashion industry. That’s not to say that Australian fashion labels weren’t selling but there was no coveted brand strictly within the denim sector, on par with its US competitors (such as True Religion & Guess). It was important for me to also have the “cool factor”. Typically, Aussie fashion brands have been either very flamboyant (Ken Done, Jenny Kee) or very stereotypical (R.M. Williams), so I wanted to create unisex apparel to appeal to target markets across the board. My goal was to take something conventional & traditional & give it an edge without being over the top. Shock value isn’t my style...comfort, style & value for money is.

How did you go about making them different to other jeans that are already on the market?

Firstly, they don’t just stand out because of the patriotic Southern Cross on the back pocket or the fact that each style promotes a proud, Australian landmark (the Australian and WA tourism industry is on board, getting behind the JO DENHAM Designer Jeans label).

It’s important to know that I was a straight A student – with the exception of an F in sewing! It was important for me to prove myself within the fashion design industry, where I expect to be criticised amongst heavyweight, skilled designers with formal training and credited study backgrounds.

I recall a prominent fashion designer once lamenting that he designed couture: real fashion design, not silly shirts and jeans. That statement alone scared me before I even started. I think that’s why I’ve persevered through all the disheartening challenges I’ve faced since coming up with the concept of this label. Due to his haunting words, I wanted to prove that just as must skill, energy, drive, determination, resourcefulness and resilience is required to make it all seem effortless. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s now a two-finger salute to him. It would have been so easy to put my labels on existing designs and mass produce them because this would have saved a lot of time and money. But it’s not my style to take the easy road, so I spent close to 18 months doing market research and developing prototypes that addressed the concerns of my target market. Personally, I hated the way my favourite belt had “over-hang”, so I designed jeans with additional belt loops at the front to counter this. My designs have everything from shallow front pockets to reduce “thigh scrunching” (ask any woman, it’s the same as a VPL, a visible panty line) to strategically-placed back pockets that sit both high and central to give the illusion of a higher, firmer bottom. I also didn’t want to exclude girls with so-called “pancake butts” (no bum) so my “Kakadu Plum” style accentuates and adds to a less curvy derriere with asymmetrical, pocket flaps and lower positioning.

Where does the name JO DENHAM Designer Jeans come from?

My first name is Joanna (named after UK actress and Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley) but my family & friends call me Jo. Within the music industry, I’m better known as DENHAM, which is also my middle name and the WA coastal town where my parents were on holiday whilst pregnant with me, a bit like Posh & Becks naming their son Brooklyn, after the alleged whereabouts of his conception. It made sense to relate my musical profile to my jeans and the play-on-words (Denham/denim) was a nice marketing touch.

Why should people buy JO DENHAM Designer Jeans?

The melting pot of nationalities that have embraced & adopted the Aussie pride phenomenon that’s taken over Western Australia, and fast-gaining momentum nationwide, has seen an overwhelming increase in all things related to the Southern Cross – from tattoos to car seat covers to bumper stickers and world-class entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson adopting the stars for his V Australia airline fleet. It made sense to create a product that integrated luxury with a unique edge, using quality and mass appeal. A product that “iconifies” a past will inevitably secure its future. Other than the aesthetics, denim connoisseurs will appreciate the finer details of the jeans from luxe denim (no polyester) to premium quality hard-wears and innovative, on-trend practical design points.

Whenever celebrities are willing to endorse a product for free, you know there’s quality and attention to detail involved. I’ve had much interest from celebrities both here and on foreign shores, which is refreshing for a new brand trying to build a household name. From the Australian National Women’s Cricket Team (Southern Stars) to Jamaican/US reggae pop star Shaggy...JO DENHAM Designer Jeans are being worn, worldwide. Being the perfectionist that I am, attention has been directed to every last millimetre of each measurement and I personally guarantee the quality of every pair of JO DENHAM Designer Jeans.

There are several varieties of JO DENHAM Designer Jeans – What was your thinking behind this?

I wanted to extend the Australian theme, from the embroidered logo on the right back pocket of every pair through to the individual style names. These relate to personal favourites in terms of Aussie hot spots, such as “Pilbara Dust” (one of the men’s boot cut styles), because I grew up in that region, spending time mostly in Karratha but also Dampier, Wickham, Roebourne, Point Samson, Port Hedland and Tom Price.

I wanted jeans for men and women that covered several bases, including straight leg, boot cut, skinny leg, mid-rise, low-rise, casual and smart, spanning all four seasons from continent to continent. That’s the beauty of denim – it’s in fashion all year round and has a uniting effect on people. Denim doesn’t discriminate and that’s why everybody owns a pair of jeans. For this reason, I’ve used a selection of different weight fabrics and colours in various twills to accommodate an Aussie summer right through to a US winter. I wanted to have something for everyone; I guess it’s the “people pleaser” in me.

The collection consists of the following soon-to-be iconic style names:

- Kakadu Plum (women’s boot cut)

- Southern Cross (men’s & women’s straight leg)

- Pilbara Dust (men’s boot cut)

- Ningaloo Reefers (men’s straight leg)

- Cossack Ghost (women’s straight leg)

- Pinnacle Skinnies (women’s skinny leg)

- Nullarbor Drovers (men’s boot cut)

- Uluru Ayers Rock & Rollers (women’s boot cut)

- Kalgoorlie Gold Diggers (women’s skinny leg deluxe edition)

- Roebuck Bay Pearlers (women’s skinny leg deluxe edition)

- Scarborough Beach Bums (women’s raw-edge mini-shorts)

- Rottnest Island Hoppers (women’s mini-shorts)

- Sydney Harbour Bridgers

- Wave Rock Renegade

How long have you been doing fashion design?

Since I was a little girl and, even now, I always go to my “Momma Bear” with something I need her to alter or transform. Over the years, I’ve watched her bring hope to outfits that otherwise wouldn’t fit me or fit my personality. Like my mother, I have no formal training in fashion design. I do, however, have a highly creative background, winning awards in the arts of songwriting/music, dance, art, make-up artistry & body painting. I’ve been sketching designs and the human form since I was a child and received a fashion design sketch stencil kit at age seven. My imagination was always stronger than my skill set, so I’ve had to teach myself as I go along. I’ve made many, if not all possible, mistakes. I went to a few, brief short courses to learn the pitfalls and how to avoid the common mistakes.

Of course, after completing the courses, I went on to make all those very same mistakes, proving the old saying “it’s all good in theory...” – but there’s nothing like the school of life to gain experience and a wealth of knowledge. Technically, it’s been two years on this label.

Where does your passion come from?

My passion comes from my upbringing and my need to succeed. My grandmother raised 11 kids alone and, as my father was the eldest, he took on so much responsibility. He’s always been his own boss, ever since I can remember, running successful hire and sales businesses. I emulated his success and always wanted to create something to be remembered. Now that I have a five year-old son & a 10 month old baby boy, I want to not only set an example of what hard work and never giving up can achieve, but also to fill that void in my character of not living up to my own expectations. I’m always my own harshest critic own worst enemy but that complex drives my urgency to be productive. My mantra is “make it happen... today!” My passion comes from my family, friends, songwriting and upbringing – a common trait when you come from a small town, I think.

What suburb do you live in?

I used to live in Scarborough for more 10 years but have recently moved to Edgewater to give the kids more space. I love my old beach so much I named one of my frayed mini-shorts styles “Scarborough Beach Bums” after the endearing lifestyle (not that I’ve had time for any beach-bumming since my kids were born and even less since the label was born!)

Have you lived anywhere else for an extended period of time?

I was born in Perth but spent 18 years in Karratha. This is where my adoration for the Australian native landscapes stems from. Many a weekend was spent camping, exploring, fishing or climbing the Spinifex-clad hills of the red, dusted Pilbara. The inspiration behind one of my men’s tinted, boot cut styles – “Pilbara Dust” – was this same infamous, red dust. They resemble jeans that might have actually been washed in the hard, Pilbara water and hung to dry on a backyard Hills Hoist clothesline, then coated in that signature Pilbara dirt the afternoon breeze insisted on lifting through the air.

I also spent five years on and off in the US, touring alongside recording artist Shaggy and working in the entertainment industry as a songwriter, actor and project manager for a video game company in New York and Los Angeles. This is where I secured orders for my jeans from the prestigious retailer Hirshleifer’s, within the Americana Manhasset retail district in New York, alongside the late Alexander McQueen. Fashion pinnacle Chanel was right next door.

Currently, the JO DENHAM brand operates online at www.jodenhamjeans.com with physical stockists Style House, Level 1/52 Davidson Terrace, Joondalup & Ginger Owl, Scarborough Beach Road, Scarborough. JODENHAM aims to expand to both local and interstate retail outlets by late 2012. Stockist expressions of interest can be directed to: info@jodenhamjeans.com

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