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Time & Space with Jordan Lea Allen

Time & Space

Time & Space with Jordan Lea Allen

Posted on 08/23/23

Jordan Lea Allen is a New York-based fashion designer who specializes in bespoke denim pieces. An observation of what was missing in fashion inspired Jordan to focus on designing pants, and so his niche was born. After much experimentation and growth, he's become an expert in his craft. Continue reading to learn why denim became his fabric of choice and which material he's looking to explore next.

Can you describe your journey from when you first took interest in design to current day being a designer running your own bespoke denim business?

I’ve been pretty interested in design as a whole since almost as long as I can remember. I recall being like 5 years old and wanting to get this architecture software that you can design interior and exterior of homes and buildings. My first interest in clothing specifically that I can remember was around middle school. I was very into snowboarding and my dream at the time was to own like a snowboard shop. I would draw designs for tees and snowboard gear while in school. As I grew older I was introduced and learned more about “fashion” through friends, music and social media. My interest shifted from printing on t-shirts and hoodies to actual garment construction. When learning how to make patterns and sew I spent most of my time on the construction of pants. Everyone was making shirts and hoodies so I thought making pants would be cool cause no one was really doing that. After I felt confident in my pattern making and sewing capabilities I started mainly making custom jeans for friends. The reason I chose jeans it’s 1. I had a really good denim supplier and 2. I realized people have a hard time finding perfect fitting jeans. I figured making jeans in a bespoke manner would eliminate the hassle of trying to find a perfect fitting pair of jeans. And that has just slowly transformed into what I do today.

I really admire your discipline and time dedication to your art. Are there any specific rituals or things that help you maintain focus within your innovation processes?

I just feel lucky to have found something that I really enjoy doing. Like I was sewing and pattern making for 4-5 years before selling anything or making any money from this. I think I just enjoy doing it and that is why I do it everyday. Also I try to do yoga every morning. It kinda puts me in a calm meditative space to start my day off. It slows me down and unfogs my mind in the morning. It’s like the calm before the storm for me. Then I do a double shot of espresso and just go put all my energy into the studio.

What has most influenced your appreciation for denim and your work overall?

I really gained an appreciation for denim I think from growing up in Idaho. There is a lot of old denim in Idaho, denim is the working man’s cloth and Idaho is like quintessential American hard working man’s land, if that makes sense. You go thrifting and the stores are filled with old Levi’s and Wranglers. I love seeing the way the denim wears over time and changes from being worn. It’s an amazing fabric that just gets better with wear. I think clothes should be worn and the more you wear denim the better it gets so I just feel like it’s the perfect fabric.

What's the most unusual item in your design studio?

I share a studio space with this kid named Griffin. He’s definitely the most unusual thing in my studio. He kinda freaks me out.

Can you share a memorable experience or a particular project that had a significant impact on you as a designer so far?

One of the most significant experiences I have is the first pair of pants I ever patterned, cut and sewed from scratch. They were f****** terrible, like so bad. I think when I did that it made me very determined to make a perfect pair. Failure has driven me to perfection.

You've mentioned the importance of quality and perfect fitting in your work. How do you ensure these elements in each piece you create?

For those that aren’t familiar I make my jeans in a bespoke manner. For every pair I make I take the customers measurements, draft a custom pattern from those measurements, then cut and sew the jeans. Doing jeans this way ensures a perfect fit because they are literally made for your body, it’s not like buying a size 30 or 28 or just a generic size. Every ones body is different and there is a lot more that goes into making something fit correctly then just a waist and inseam measurement.

How do you see your work evolving in the future? Are there any new techniques or styles you're interested in exploring?

I really wanna get into leather. I feel like denim and leather are a match made in heaven. My friend who I share a studio with has a walking foot machine for leather so I’m going to try and do something really soon.

If you could collaborate with any designer, who would it be and why?

If I could collaborate with anyone it would honestly have to be Jesus Christ. I know he’s not a designer but if somehow he came back to earth that would be my first pick. Ive dreamt about making him and the 12 disciples a good uniform. Like imagine Jesus and his disciples in some tight ass leather jackets and some good raw denim. Would be sick.

How has moving to New York influenced your work and your business?

New York has made me have to work harder than I ever have in my life. This place is like the ocean, it doesn’t give a f*** about you. But at the same time it’s raw and it’s real and it’s no bs and I love that. It’s given me a chance to meet people I would never meet anywhere else and has opened my work up to a huge client base, which I still have barley tapped into. But it motivates me in knowing I have to make it work or I’ll have to leave and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.

What advice would you give to aspiring designers who are teaching themselves about design and garment construction?

Unless you’re willing to starve, work everyday, be underpaid, and cry, don’t do this. Go into finance.