The Dish On L.A.'s Denim Superstars (& Their Best New Pairs)!

In recent seasons, it's become crystal clear that jeans aren't just for the girl next door anymore — long gone are the days of run-of-the-mill rivets, zippers, pockets, and threads. And leave it to L.A. to lead the denim pack, deeming dungarees full-on statement-makers. Just off of the 10 East, where all of this jean-ius takes place, factories for leg-coverings are as ubiquitous as Starbucks — and after a trip to visit a few, our curiosity was piqued by just who's behind the curtain of all those amazing blue, ikat, floral, and graffiti staples.
Well, we've got the skinny on the skinnies, boyfriends, and straight-legs, all made right here in the City of Dreams jeans. Click through for a little history, and the hottest pairs for your lower-half, this minute!
Photos From Left, Clockwise: Courtesy of THVM, Dylan George, AG Jeans, Kasil Workshop
1 of 15
7 For All Mankind
Who doesn't remember their first pair of 7's? For any millennial, owning a pair almost seemed like a rite of sartorial passage. Founded in 2000, the brand set the tone for premium baby blues: They were tight, low, and gave that apple-bottom effect every girl across America yearned for as the century turned. Birthed by Michael Glasser, Peter Koral, and Jerome Dahan (all denim junkies you'll see come up again in this slideshow), the company is now a division of VF, but still calls Cali home. The company has upped the ante in recent years, morphing from basic flares to innovative, on-trend patterns, and even enlisted James Franco for a series of avant-garde videos that prove it will always keep us on our toes (and buttoning up those bad boys no matter how hard we have to squeeze)!

7 For All Mankind The Skinny In Black Velvet With Gold Foil Brocade, $198, available at 7 For All Mankind.

Photos: Courtesy of 7 For All Mankind
2 of 15
Citizens of Humanity
After French-born Jerome Dahan moved on from the aforementioned 7FAM (in case you weren't aware, there's a major game of six-degrees of separation in the L.A. denim game), he established his new brand of britches, Citizens of Humanity, in 2003. Ever since, he's grown an empire (1300 retailers in over 35 countries!) of contemporary wares that celebs like Emma Roberts, Mila Kunis, and Jennifer Garner can't keep their hands fannies off of. Also, 7 wasn't his first rodeo, either: Dahan designed his first pair of baby blues in Montreal in the '80s for a company called Love, and after visiting SoCal for surf trips, decided to make it his home. When the pant pioneer isn't drumming up envelope-pushing vests like the item pictured (need!), he's whizzing around the mountains of SoCal in his Ducati or at the helm of a helicopter. It's those kinds of not-so-cheap thrills that inspire a line that continually stays luxe and one-of-a-kind. Oh, and if you've ever wondered where the COH name came from, it was sparked by a line in the motion pic Armageddon.

Citizens of Humanity Cocoon Vest, $385, available at Shopbop.

Photos: Courtesy of Citizens of Humanity
3 of 15
This line may be relatively new to the dungaree scene, but it became a closet-staple sensation almost overnight. Co-founders Lela Becker and Tim Kaeding paired up in 2010 for one of the most fashion-forward assortments yet (it's worth noting that the company's lookbooks and site are always impeccably styled, too). Becker was formerly the president of COH and Kaeding has clocked in time at 7FAM and Gap 1969 (we told you this world was incestuous!), so they made a natural blend of business partners. The stimuli for MOTHER's recent vision has been Brigitte Bardot, Francoise Hardy, bands like The Vivians and The Babies, and even tomes like Max's Kansas City: Art, Glamour and Rock and Roll. No matter where they're setting their sights, we'd take a seat in the flawless, custom-crafted fits for any occasion (hey, it's L.A. — if you can't jazz up jeans, you're in dire straits!).

MOTHER Les Baladins Du Nouveau Monde Looker Jeans, $275, available at Ron Herman.

Photos: Courtesy of MOTHER
4 of 15
Except for maybe Annie Hall addicts, who really could've seen the boyfriend jean coming? Current/Elliott took swiping items from our beaus' closets to a whole new level with the groundbreaking silhouette, and has since championed an Americana androgyny like no other label could. CEO Serge Azria peppers in a historical reference to every vintage-inspired seam, and has truly taken C/E from a one-hit wonder to a treasure trove of timeless style. But — don't get it twisted — we still totally heart the slouch!

(From left to right): Current/Elliott Snap Jacket With Sherpa, $388, available at Revolve Clothing; Current/Elliott The Perfect Shirt in Canyon Plaid Blouse, $204, available at Revolve Clothing; Current/Elliott The Skinny in Mustard, $218, available at Neiman Marcus; Current/Elliott The Ankle Skinny Jeans, $187.00, available at Shopbop.

Photos: Courtesy of Current/Elliott
5 of 15
AG Jeans
Nestled in South Gate, and manufacturing all of its fine fabrics right here in the SoCal — AG is a Cali mainstay — and we have to give it mad props for its 100% "Made In The USA" status. In addition to that coup, the company's totally eco-chic: It utilizes an "Ozone Technology" that reduces H20 use by 50%, and recycles denim scraps for the reusable totes you receive your jeans in after hitting the register. Formed by denim's guiding light, Adriano Goldschmied, and production authority, Yul Ku, in 2000, the line's been especially alive and kickin' lately with casual separates that we've been digging, too. And we actually have Ku's offspring Samuel to thank for that, since he took the design reigns in '08 and offered a totally fresh take.

AG Jeans Legging in Bronze, $215, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Photos: Courtesy of AG Jeans
6 of 15
You'll probably lose count of how many times his name or initials will be dropped in this story — and that's exactly why Adriano Goldschmied has been dubbed the "godfather of denim." He was the brave soul who dared to take the fabric that we Californians now call uniform from exactly that: What was once solely work wear became fashion dogma under his cutting-edge care. AG founded Diesel, Replay, and Evisu (remember those?), and continues to be a mentor and source of endless energy to L.A.'s blue-jean scene. The line thrives today because not a single belt-loop, rivet, or inseam is produced without passing Goldschmied's expert eye.

Goldsign Lure Lace Coated Skinny Leg Jeans, $221.99, available at Piperlime.

Photos: Courtesy of Goldsign
7 of 15
J Brand
We seriously couldn't live without our dark-washed skinnies by this chief of chaps (there may or may not be four different pants of the identical model neatly folded mashed in our drawers). There's really no fit or wash quite like them. And, while it may seem paradoxical that a man (CEO Jeff Rudes to be exact) understands the curvature of the ankles to the calves to the middle-half of women so well, but with over 30 years under his belt, and formerly partnering with other icons like AG and Ron Herman, it measures up. What began in '04 as that dark-blue sensation has since fully blossomed into full-on catwalk collab phenomenons with Hussein Chalayan, Peter Pilotto, Proenza Schouler, Richard Nicoll, Meadham Kirchoff, Erdem, and Christopher Kane. Talk about having a leg-up on the entire industry!

J Brand Coated Textured Metallic Gold Super Skinny, $238, available at Shopbop.

Photographed by Shawna Sellmeyer; Courtesy of J Brand
8 of 15
Paige Adams-Geller is a true inspiration. Once a fit model for many a brand mentioned here, in '04 this ambitious chick became a prodigy of pants. It makes sense that someone who had pins and tape measures ensconsing her body and was privy to the confidential chats of the masters to pave her own way in a male-dominated world. Her wares can now be found in the who's-who of retailers (Intermix, Bergdorf's, Harvey Nichols, the list goes ON). We marvel at her moxie, and can't.stop.staring at this leather-denim hybrid, either!

Paige Lenny Zip Jacket, $229, available at Paige.

Photos: Courtesy of Paige
9 of 15
Genetic Denim
The charismatic Ali Fatourechi heads up this collection, and after dining with him years ago, we can vouch that this kind of passion really has to be genetic — like, engrained-in-your-DNA obsessed! How's this for proof? He spent an entire year traveling to universities in 42 cities via U-Haul to ascertain that je ne sais quoi women wanted from their denim. That dedication has lent the line an amazing, encyclopedic approach to making us always look well-equipped ... if you catch our drift! This man has done his homework, folks, and it's always an A-plus outcome.

Genetic Denim Stem Mid-Rise Cigarette In Night Paint, $220, available at Genetic Denim.

Photos: Courtesy of Genetic Denim
10 of 15
Flaunting that red-lined triangle stamp on your toosh in the '80s and '90s was the pant equivalent of racing down Sunset in a cherry-red Kelly Taylor-style Beemer! And, unless you want eight paragraphs, don't even get us started on all of those iconic ad campaigns (sorry, but no one will ever top a scantily clad Claudia Schiffer). The brothers Marciano inaugurated all that buzz in 1981 with a stone-washed, three-zipper trouser they christened the "Marilyn." Bloomingdale's was the first to buy them, and well, the rest is probably the most history-ed of this entire bunch. And today, there's still no question marks surrounding the brand's current trend-churning abilities.

GUESS Brittney Ankle Skinny Leopard-Printed Jacquard Jeans, $138, available at GUESS.

Photos: Courtesy of GUESS
11 of 15
Don't be fooled by the Brit logo, Hudson may have been born across the pond, but it's bred right here in the Southland. The pantaloons have just hit a ten-year anniversary, and three words come to mind when we conjure their place in the last decade: rock and roll. Maybe it's the sexpot Georgia May Jagger ads, but come to think of it, these jeans have always been our go-to concert steez. Founder Peter Kim is a connoisseur of free-wheelin' and livin' the dream, and that's exactly what Cali's all about, right? However, it's not all play when it comes to his threads, 89 different people put their particular spin on each pair — by hand. A round of applause is definitely in order!

Hudson Krista Wax Coated Skinny in Blue My Mind, $189, available at Hudson Jeans.

Photos: Courtesy of Hudson
12 of 15
Joe's Jeans
Joe Dahan jump started his company in 2001, right at the apex of the denim boom. After 11 years of stitching reliable staples, it's now a global brand with shops in every nook and cranny of the globe (and now our own Melrose Place, too!). Dahan was the first to conceptualize body-specific fits (amen!), and the comfort factor has always been undeniable. Over the years, though, JJ has morphed from an Angela Chase kind of BFF to a gutsy Rayanne Graff with shockingly rad accessories (umm, have you seen these?), and most recently a pair of leather skinnies our legs simply can't walk another day without!

Joe's Jeans High Water Vintage Reserve, $165, available at Joe's Jeans.

Photos: Courtesy of Joe's Jeans
13 of 15
Gap 1969 Jeans
Before you're quick to point out that the Gap is a crony of our NorCal counterparts, there's something you may not know. A little over a year ago, the conglom relocated a sect of its buttoned-up biz to West Pico in downtown's garment district get a little more cray (and closer to the heart of the chino epicenter). The former cigar factory's a wacky and independent workspace that thrives on the pulse of the L.A. girl's deepest desires, and we naturally welcome the age-old brand with open arms.

Gap 1969 Jeans Always Skinny Jean, $69.95, available at Gap.

Photos: Courtesy of Gap 1969 Jeans
14 of 15
From Left, Clockwise: THVM, THVM, Kelly Cole, Dylan George

Pronounced, "them," the offices of this edgy array of artistry denim are housed in a century-old factory in the Arts District downtown, and the posse of creatives under its roof aim to craft high-quality pants that hit a price point that won't bust the bank account (a pair will cost you around a single Benjamin). The virtuosos strive to keep their innovative wares accesible to all walks of life, and even frequently open their studios to the public for exceptional events showcasing local talent. On top of that, it produces a seasonal magazine, THVM Rag, to celebrate all the whimsy and wonder they've got going on (you'll find snaps of actual Angelenos who inspired each piece inside).

The 2002 brainchild of Jeffrey T. Shafer, this Santa Monica set of bootie beauts has a manifesto that upholds three values: creative, casual, and passionate. Agave's clientele are surf cowboys, modern adventurists, and pure west coast luxury chasers. With inspiration ranging from the Sea of Cortez to the San Juan Islands to Western Alaska and each piece sustainably created (fibers like hemp, tencel, and recycled cotton are loomed), you can expect unrivaled poppy hues that are sumptuous replicas of nature.

Kelly Cole
This renaissance man has had many lives as a DJ (he's spun at Hemingways, Hyde, and Teddy's), venue creator (NYC's Spy Lounge and Black and White), and actor — and who could forget the fly Fairfax gallery Lo-Fi? Well, Cole happens to kill it in the denim department, too. The American-milled trousers (sewn right here in Lala, baybee!) have a soft, rinsed finish that are the cream of the crop. Be sure to stop by his brand-new flagship on La Brea for a lineup of handpicked vintage T-shirts, boots, home decor, and, of course, his signature britches.

The OGs from 7FAM, Peter Koral and Rick Crane, dreamt up this premium stockpile (52 styles!) of pants this August, and gals are already lining up to slip into them. Creative Director Marc Atlan has earned his living at fashion houses like Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang, Tom Ford, and Maison Martin Margiela, so you know your extremities will get a real runway for your money!

Dylan George
This high-end line aspires to snag celebs with its stylish silhouettes, and aficionado Danny Guez has done exactly that. Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Nicole Richie, and Lady Gaga have all donned his duds, and Guez even partnered with Kellan Lutz for knitwear label Abbot + Main to add to his resume. Of course, these slacks get the red-carpet styling treatment, too — we haven't seen a lookbook that wasn't anything less than stupendous yet.

Dylan George 30' Mid Rise Skinny Morning Dew, $279, available at Frockaholics.

Photos: Courtesy of THVM, THVM, Kelly Cole, Dylan George
15 of 15
From Left, Clockwise: Denimocracy, Denimocracy, Triarchy, Kasil Workshop

Husband and wife design duo Vincent and Jana Flumiani had a hand in launching brands like True Religion, James Perse, AG, Earl, and Splendid, so you can count on a deep aesthetic understanding of jean genius. The couple offers this analogy to describe their apparel: "We are what a crowded local bistro is to dining: small, exclusive, ideal, and delectable." And, everyone from Charlize Theron to Taylor Swift have taken a sweet nibble!

Modern yet vintage, Denimocracy's vision is exactly our mantra in day-to-day dressing. Add in some handcrafted sex appeal (dished up in its Fashion District HQ since 2009), and the line has R29 written all over it! Try these ombre high-rise skinnies on for size!

Spawned in Vancouver, incubated in L.A., and boasting fabrics from Italy and Japan, Triarchy is the opulent product of three siblings: Adam, Ania, and Mark Taubenfligel. And since 2011, each part of the clan has brought a different expertise to the table. Business director Mark is into custom vintage motor bikes, sales director, stylist, and fit model Ania is an equestrian, and creative director Adam holds the manufacturing prowess. You can bet these brainstorming sessions are long — and since we've tried them on, we can promise fruitful, too!

Kasil Workshop
Kasil's unpredictable finery has existed since 2002, and a collaborative effort within the artistic community has always been top priority. But, head designer Brian Alagao's story particularly piqued our interest as we think it speaks volumes about the brand. He was once an IT guy struggling with his life's purpose when a near-death experience atop a snowy cliff set the techie over the edge (figuratively). He decided to pursue his true passion after that fated moment, and worked his way up the KW totem pole in shipping, production, design assisting, and wash developing. Each piece has his playful touch, and we're especially into the recent partnership with The Boehne Bros of surf board brand Infinity Surf Co. Watch this to find out why!

Lucky Brand Jeans
If you were like us in the '90s, you considered yourself extremely lucky to have a pair of these in your arsenal. Man, we had some memories in those bad boys (zipping or unzipping that "Lucky You" phrase in the fly always spurred a grin!). Gene Montesano and Barry Perlman ripped, sanded, patched, and washed each pair by hand until they had the perfect legendary prototype. Now, the company is owned by Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc., and has 209 freestanding outposts filled with way more than dungarees (we head straight for the men's section for grandpa cardigans, then inevitably add some affordably swank accessories before cashing out!).

Photos: Courtesy of Denimocracy; Denimocracy; Triarchy; Kasil Workshop

More from Designers


R29 Original Series