Day One of the 2013 Denim Study Tour began shortly before 9:00 a.m. with Merchandise Product Development Chairperson Eva Gilbert, Co-Chair Estel Hahn, and 14 students (12 Merchandise Product Development, 1 Merchandise Marketing, and 1 Fashion Design) boarding our private tour bus.
First stop: California Wash House (pictured above) where industry vets and founders Paul de Jesus and Philip Shaheen treated us to a sneak peek at next season's washes before leading a tour of the facilities. We witnessed workers performing various processes such as as stone washing, industrial drying, sand blasting, pp spraying, 3D whiskers, tacking, and grinding.Our hosts also took great care to explain each step and graciously answered all of our denim-related questions. After a quick photo-op and the exchange of contact information, we expressed our gratitude and headed out.
A leisurely lunch at a local cafe gave us a chance to compare notes before heading to our second stop: Jolt Jeans by Kellwood. As recruiter Morgan Powers led us through the massive campus, we met several FIDM Alums, including the head of the Kellwood's textile art department, as well as Jolt's technical and associate designers. Jolt's senior denim designer spoke to us about his approach to selecting appropriate washes, pocket details, and fiber contents.
Then, brand president Caren Lettiere shared her time with us for a candid discussion regarding market trends, brand DNA, fabric, fit, tech packs, and key characteristics for a successful career. On the way out, Morgan gifted us with some Jolt product and gamely posed with us for a photo (pictured above).
Looking forward to Day Two!
-- Ryan Mathis-Tien (FD '13)