Exclusive: Alexa Chung On Why Skinny Jeans Will Never Die

Alexa Chung's back with another collection for AG, and that sound you hear is thousands of It Girls breathing a massive sigh of relief. Chung's first collection for the brand, released in January, seemed to scratch a fashion itch we didn't know we had — who knew the world was so ready to embrace the A-line denim miniskirt? — and the most popular pieces sold out fast.

But, not to worry. On Thursday, you can shop Chung's fall '15 collection, her last for the brand. Yes, the much-imitated button-front schoolgirls skirts are back. But with them are a slew of new pieces with a distinctively throwback feel but aren't slavishly imitative of any one era. There's skinny rib-knit sweaters that feel very beatnik-girl circa 1966, long-sleeve denim rompers that wouldn't be out of place on Betty Catroux in 1971, and the cropped sweatshirts and baby-bell Revolution jean are so very fashion girl circa right now.

In this exclusive chat with Chung, she shared her sketchbook inspiration for the collection, and told us how to avoid a dressing-room meltdown when shopping, why skinny jeans will never really die, and how she designs for a "badass gaggle of female reprobates."

Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Tell us more about the "girl gang" inspiration behind the collection.
"In researching this season, I found myself drawn to motorcycle-gang and juvenile-delinquent imagery from books on denim and photo books like Rebel Youth. But it was hard to find the same type of gang imagery in women's street style. So it's actually less about the idea of a gang and more that attitude, toughness, and personalization of jeans and jean jackets that I took inspiration from. I thought it would be cool to make a collection for a badass gaggle of female reprobates, drawing from menswear."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Hitt Jacket, $298, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
We have your first AG collection to thank for reviving the button-front skirt. Any other trends you hope to bring back?
"I suppose my goal is never to start a trend per se, so it's not my objective to dress the world in button-up skirts or suede hot pants! But making that last collection, I instinctively knew that was something I was lusting after but couldn't find. For me, this season's black or dark-wash Revolution Jean and matching dark denim jacket is the thing I'm most passionate about — a sort of Joan Jett Canadian tuxedo."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Gove Skirt, $748, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
We feel passionately about sturdy, no-stretch denim, and love that this collection features lots of it. Why do you prefer it?
"Stretch is more comfortable short term, but I always find the knees give out, the waistband expands, and you don't feel sort of supported, in a way. I tend to think non-stretch, done well, can be far more flattering and it molds to your body. It takes commitment, but in the long term it's a great investment."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Sabine, $225, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Tell us more about the legend "Sacred Monster."
"Well, apparently, it's a 1960s book by Daniel Farson, but I actually got that phrase from a Richard Hell book. It just sounded cool."

How would you answer those who claim the skinny jean is dead?
"I would say they have too much time on their hands. Who sits and thinks about what's over; it's all next, next, next for me. Also, I still wear skinny jeans, so I'm probably not the right person to ask. You have to dress for your shape, and I look better in that cut, so I don't think they'll die in my wardrobe."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Sacred Monster Longsleeve Tight Tee, $118, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
What cut of jean would you never wear, and why?
"Never say never in fashion, because you'll be wearing 'never' in two years' time."

What's the secret to finding a super-flattering pair of jeans?
"It's a really long and boring process, as I'm sure you know. First, it's probably best to go shopping for jeans on a day you feel happy with how you look, because much like underwear shopping or looking for a dress for a bloody wedding, it's often a catalyst for a changing-room meltdown.

My advice would be: Choose a size up, so you don't give up as soon as the first thigh doesn't fit in. Go to a brand you know makes good-quality denim that actually lasts. You know these things, so I don't want to talk to you like you're stupid. Just when you find the right pair for you, my advice would be, buy two pairs if you can."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Selfie Tee, $118, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
What are your favorite pair of jeans you've ever owned, and why?
"Well, that's just it — I didn't have a favorite until we made the Revolution, and now I'm very happy."

Who is your ultimate denim icon?
"I think either Linda McCartney or the Runaways or [Jane] Birkin. There are many."

Alexa Chung for AG, The Loretta, $345, available at AG.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Alexa's girl gang has "no leader, all equally rad."
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
"Free the nipple" and "Not no to bondage" — we'll take that on a T-shirt next time.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
This fall, Alexa sees you in corduroy overalls — "black, please."
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
The Mabel jacket on a familiar-looking fit model.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
It's based on a childhood favorite of Chung's.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Two more denim icons — Françoise Hardy, and we can only hope the "Loretta" refers to the great Loretta Lynn.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
The Loretta jacket in action.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Kapow indeed.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
Proof that inspiration boards aren't just for Pinterest.
Photo: Courtesy of AG.
The quite-fierce model Veruschka is definitely one we'd want in our girl gang, too.
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