As Cotton On’s denim buyer, Leah Summers has to be on top of every trend from the streets to the runway, so it’s no wonder she was the go-to girl to curate The Wanted – Cotton On’s new staple range of denim. With six styles each for men and women, the collection makes sure that everyone looks great and has easy access to the latest trends.
No stranger to the fashion industry, Leah has worked for some of her native UK’s biggest brands, before taking on the role o Global Denim Buyer for global fashion giant, Zara for three years. It was here that Leah’s passion specifically for denim was sparked. “I just love how versatile denim is. There are countless things you can do to change or alter denim, from washing it differently, ripping and repairs, to screen printing or dying, it truly is such a special fabric and I absolutely love it and trying to discover new ways to work with it”.
In 2013, Leah made the move to Melbourne to work with Cotton On,working on the elevated basic tee collection The One launch in LA and in Sydney, as well as the recent relaunch of the denim category, which was kicked off with The Wanted global campaign. We chat with her about the collection, the famous faces in the campaign, and what makes something the most wanted.
The Wanted denim collection comprises of six styles each for men and women; what makes these styles staples, and why were they selected for The Wanted?
Our focus was on trend. The Wanted campaign was about creating a collection of denim, that is the most wanted styles that we were seeing around the world, whether it was the jegging (which is so popular everywhere at the moment), to the boyfriend jean, or a more classic skinny mid-rise, these styles are all the must-have denim that everyone needs and wants right now.
When we’re creating the styles, I look at so many different factors to ensure we get it right: the right fabric for the right fit is key! From super stretch for Skinny fits to more rigid, authentic looking denim for our Boyfriend fits. Another key attribute that I look for has to be the finding the perfect wash. Denim as a fabric is so versatile – there are endless processes you can apply to it- Bleaching, blasting, hand sanding, ripping, grinding, tinting, repairing, fraying, 3D, laser printing, patching, over dying and more! We work with our suppliers to create denim we all love here at Cotton On and are the biggest trends we’ve spotted around the world.
Each style is unique, and will suit a range of bodies – was this a conscious decision?
It was so important to us that we created styles that flatter all different shapes, sizes, body types and age demographics. The Jegging is the most comfortable jean you can find, and with its two-way stretch fabric, they are not only flattering on every body shape, but they’re also so unbelievably comfy!
The campaign is filled with amazing creatives; what was the process in getting them involved?
Working with our Marketing, Creative and PR teams, we all brainstormed ideas of creative, interesting people from around the globe who were pursuing what they want, what they’re passionate about. From singer Tim Wheatley, to NYC-based Chuck Grant and artist Rose Ashton – they were all really interesting and talented people, who had a great story to share, with the one commonality of them wearing our denim. Our campaign explored the idea, it’s the denim you want, for the life you want and that’s what we hope the six talent represented.
Other than the style and fit, the most exciting part is the great price point – how important was this to you?
This was vital, absolutely paramount to every style we created. Cotton On is a value brand, we are so committed and passionate to create the must-have, latest styles, but we also know we have to keep the price point down to keep them accessible and affordable. For me, my priority was to perfect the fit and fabrication, at the best price.
What piece is your Most Wanted?
Definitely the boyfriend jeans! I love the loose silhouette and they’re so comfy to wear. The rip and repair feature creates that “worn-in” look while making them a little more edgy, with a street-style vibe. I love that they’re also so versatile (like all denim!), so sometimes I wear them with my adidas trainers and other days I’ll pair them back with a pair of pointy pumps for a dressed-up look.
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