March 14th, 2006
David Lim, an artist with a flair for fashion, creates some of the most sought-after jeans in Hollywood. What’s his secret? His “painter” frame of thought. Read on to find out more about this “painter” concept, what it’s like behind the scenes of the Kasil studio, and what’s up next from Kasil. Reporting by guest writer Riyan Mynuddin.
Omiru: Tell us the story of how Kasil Jeans got started.
David: My father, who makes costumes for the film industry, runs a custom tailoring business. One day, he had left some denim on the table. Working with local patternmakers and washhouses, I used it to try making a pair of jeans for myself. It worked out well, so I moved on to custom-make jeans for my dad’s clients. One thing led to another, and I ended up launching Kasil Jeans.
O: What makes your collection unique?
D: Unlike some of the other premium denim companies, we use premium Italian or Japanese denim, depending on the style. You can tell the difference; you’ll notice that both our men’s and our women’s jeans fit really well. At the end of the day, we make sure to incorporate the details: sleek lines and fine craftsmanship.
O: Who wears your collection?
D: Just off hand, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Angelina Jolie, Lindsey Lohan, some of the “OC” girls, as well as cast of Desperate Housewives.
O: What’s your bestselling jean style?
D: For women, the Eleanore (a simple boot cut jean) is the best-selling style. For men’s: the Victory fit (straight leg, mid-rise).
O: What’s your background in fashion?
D: I have a fine arts background and worked in the movie industry for awhile. From there, I honed my skills in fashion design. Denim is one of those products that encompass the “painter” frame-of-thought. Painters understand that light shades bring details forward and dark shades take them back. In denim, if you darken the inner thigh, the jeans will slim the appearance of the model. Sanding the front and darkening the outer thighs can further exaggerate the effect. Just like skilled painters, our wash techniques involve a lot of blending. You need to sand the denim just the right way to get a classy, sophisticated look. You need to understand how to contrast one hue of blue with another, and how to make an appealing fade from light to dark. Balance is key.
O: Describe a typical day at Kasil.
D: We’ve got two dogs running around all the time—they keep us entertained. There are days when it’s very hectic, and days when it calms down a little. We’re a small staff (only about 15 people), and while we try to maintain a collaborative “family” environment at work, we do get a dose of Office Space-like drama.
O: Tell us more about this Office Space-like drama.
D: Well I don’t want to give you too much information ; ) But when show-time is coming up, there are lots of deadlines. People are more alert—more tense. If someone doesn’t meet a goal or get where they should on time, then we need to work together and figure out how to fix it. The environment must be collaborative, and can be really demanding.
O: Have you ever taken a printer out to a deserted field and beaten it with your bare hands? Or…a baseball bat?
D: Very funny. As a matter of fact, I’ve been suggesting that we get a punching bag at our office. (That way, you can kick it, hit it, and do whatever you have to do.) That might be a good way to relieve stress.
O: If your house were burning down, and you could only keep one thing in your closet, what would you keep?
D: There’s a G-Star Denim Jacket that’s been a favorite of mine recently. But to be honest, I would just let the whole thing burn. Clothes can be replaced.
O: What clothes have you worn that you’re now ashamed of?
D: Everybody has those! In spite of the Kasil line, I have to admit that I still have a soft corner for my classic Levi’s.
O: What are you inspired by?
D: I am a very observant person. I see what other people wear. I look at women’s shoes, purses, and accessories. I look online at catalogs. I have a sharp eye on tennis shoes. Inspiration needs to be taken from everywhere. I’ve been inspired at the beach and even in the woods! Sometimes my most vivid inspiration arrives when I leave the city and clear my head.
O: What’s your definition of style?
D: Style is form. It is your expression and your identity. Most of all, it is your signature.
O: How has your style evolved over time?
D: I usually change my personal style in line with the four seasons. I can go for months in dressy, sophisticated styles. Then as the season changes, I ease back into the casual. I’m all about a clean start.
O: If you were to design a new product line to add to your current business, what would it be?
D: I’ve gotten really good with jeans. I would love to make a brand-new denim brand. However, I’ve also recently given some thought to casual sneakers.
O: What’s your design philosophy?
D: Simplicity speaks. Designs shouldn’t scream for attention. Elegant, sophisticated designs are timeless. My mentality is minimalist, with a focus on clean lines.
O: Are you high maintenance or low maintenance?
D: I would say that I’m high maintenance, and my girlfriend would agree. I like the good things in life. Good food. A bottle of wine. At the same time, I’m a pretty big homebody. I can be content just watching a movie at home. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say I’m low maintenance.
O: What up and coming trends do you see?
D: Things are going towards straight and skinny. You can expect to see cleaner washes and less hand-sanding from us. We’re also going into some really skinny jeans—the “cigarette pants.”
O: On the flip side, what’s going out of style?
D: The boot cut is going out of style, along with jeans that are over-embellished. Jeans with jewels all over the place are starting to look cheap.
O: Skinny jeans – in or out?
D: Definitely in.
O: Where can we buy Kasil Jeans?
D: To name just a few stores: Lisa Kline, Fred Segal, H. Lorenzo, and Searle. Online, you can find them at Shopbop.com.
O: What’s up next for Kasil Jeans?
D: Scoodies. It’s a fun thing–a hood and a scarf melded together. We have multi-colors in pima cotton and cotton jersey. In Fall 2007 we’re launching a blazer collection called Kasil Heritage. Be on the lookout for our high-quality men’s and women’s blazers. We also have plans to branch out toward t-shirts in Spring 2007.
O: Last words of wisdom?
D: Live life simple. Eat well.
Find Kasil Jeans online at http://www.kasiljean.com/.