Archive for April, 2012

file under: my lil sis

Leah in her Elizabeths….. this photo and more from last night’s festivities on Under the Guise.



supper + song announcement


The cat is out of the bag! the mystery guest for the 2012 supper + song season kickoff is none other than Nashville chanteuse Karen Elson. we’re thrilled to have Karen and the amazing Kate Tucker making beautiful music in our backyard tomorrow, Wednesday, April 25.


Be here by 6 pm to catch Kate, followed by Karen and her band at about 7. as usual, this party is BYOB, though you can count on the lovely ladies at Mas Tacos to keep your tummies full. Hope to see everyone tomorrow!

file under: white magic woman


My in-the-know friend LCP recently forwarded me a link to an amazing photo gallery that I can’t get out of my mind: an installment in a killer irregular fashion feature on the website of the Australian magazine Oyster called “Street Style Before Street Style,” devoted to the one, the only Stevie Nicks. I’ve posted two of the images here; the rest can be found by clicking here.

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the tradition continues: supper + song is back!

Winter is over and warm weather is here. And in imogene + willie world, that can only mean one thing: the return of our annual supper + song series!


Next Wednesday, April 25 – and the third Wednesday of every month through the summer and into fall – we’ll open the backyard to welcome our neighbors and friends, old and new, for an evening of wonderful music and conversation.


We’re kicking off the 2012 s+s series with a two very special performances. Local singer-songwriter Kate Tucker will play first at 6 pm. A little after 7 pm, our main act will cue up their band.


Who is this mystery guest, you may ask? That’s for us to know and you to guess as we release a series of hints about their identity via our Twitter feed (follow us at @imogenewillie) every day through Tuesday, when we’ll finally make the big reveal. We assure you, this person is well worth the wait.


As always, supper + song is free and open to the public. Bring a blanket and your own beverages; the Mas Tacos truck will be on hand selling snacks starting around 5 pm. Things tend to wind down by 8:30, so plan to get there on the early side.


Mark your calendars: You won’t want to miss this one!

Pints & Pistons, Part 2

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!


On Saturday, April 28, Matt’s hosting the second installment of Pints & Pistons, imogene + willie’s very own motorcycle rally. This time around, it’s a combo show-and-tell and ride.


Bring your bike to the store at 1 pm for the travel segment of the day – a map with the route is printed here – and head back to the store by 5 to get your drink on. As usual, it’s free and open to the public.


So jump on your bike and ride on over. We’ll supply the beer, you bring the testosterone.


View Pints+Pistons Beer Run in a larger map

homesick. for henderson, kentucky.

ov outtake

We couldn’t fit everything we wanted into this week’s Our Voice, an interview with John Gourley, founder and leader of the Portland, Oregon, band Portugal. The Man. So instead of leaving everything on the cutting room floor, we decided to print a little more here on the blog. Here, he explains why more is often too much, whether you’re talking clothes, music or band gear:


It’s cool to see people paying attention to little details in fashion. That’s actually what I like most about imogene + willie stuff. Sometimes some of these small brands that are opening up add too much detail to their clothes – like an extra pocket that doesn’t do anything, or extra buttons and all those things. But I really like the simplicity of what you do. I guess that’s one thing I’m really specific about: I really like simplicity, whether it’s in my home or on tour or on the stage. It might look like there’s a lot happening on the stage with our lights and everything, but it’s really a minimal set-up. It’s just properly used and expanded for each stage.


For more John Gourley, visit the Our Voice page on our website.

trouble is opportunity in work clothes

file under: solitary life


Dead River Rough Cut” – The most requested movie at the Maine State Prison.  This documentary follows Bob Wagg and Walter Lane who live in a tarpaper shack, hunting, fishing, trapping and logging with oxen. Similar in nature to the famous “Alone in the Wilderness”  but as you can see from the videos, these boys are cut from a different cloth.  Covering a period of four seasons in the remote backwoods of Maine, Dead River Rough Cut presents a revealing look at an individual way of life.


See another great clip from the film, after the jump.



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why we do it the way we do

we launch our little spring collection in five days. monday night, april 9th.
in the case that you are reading, i wanted to sit down and write to you prior to the launch and share a little bit about why we do things the way we do…. how we have designed and developed and produced from the get-go of imogene+willie, and how those processes are evolving for now and later.

i know this is a lot to read and absorb. you are welcome to opt out! but we just want to always let you all know where our heads are and what we are doing. because we wouldn’t have anything to do it if it weren’t for you.

will start from the beginning, three years and one month ago today.
the first 500 jeans we sold were made to order, 250 of those being the limited edition offering that provided us with money to officially start this company.
matt and i either physically fit or virtually fit each of those first 500 folks. we created a formula based on the circumference of a woman’s waist one inch down from her belly button, and for a man, three inches down from his belly button. this measurement determined what size we would make for each individual. people thought we were nuts.  and we were. everyone’s belly button is not in the same place!  regardless, we felt confident in our bizarre fitting theory and really had no other choice but to produce units only as we had them sold.
out of those first 500 jeans, 498 jeans fit perfectly. only 2 pair were returned.

this exercise confirmed to matt and me, as well as nestor and gloria, that our first fits were valid.
so we were able to take our first baby step: we were going to move ahead with opening the store at the gas station in  nashville.
we produced a couple hundred willie’s and a couple hundred imogene’s and crossed our fingers that they would sell.
they did.
wow. and remember, ladies? back in those early days, imogene was not offered in stretch. only in 100% cotton.  unwashed! rigid! you all were TROOPERS!

we were able from that point on to project how many jeans we would need a month. we wouldn’t be able to make every jean at the shop any longer. and we had to move out of the attic! we were wearing down quick, being there around the clock.
we started sewing bulk production with a gem of a family, in their sewing plant an hour and half outside of nashville.  we had known them and of their high quality work for years prior.

once we moved production outside of the shop, but still in a very controlled environment just a quick drive away, we were able to start really executing our business model.
the sample shop at our store was initially conceptualized to develop NEW product (both bottoms and tops), sew small batches of them, throw it in our little retail store to get a read, and then react to that – meaning, if there was a demand, we would sew more of that piece to supply. supply and demand. it should really be called demand and supply!
we were at this point executing our QUICK TO MARKET dream model. make one, test it, make a few more. if they like it, make as many as nestor and gloria’s hands can handle.

the greatest thing about quick to market is that it is in REAL TIME. in that model, we can decide to develop a new shirt for a guy or a women’s skirt or dress or WHATEVER on a monday and we do a first fitting on tuesday and five more units are in the store on friday. THEN, we can project that 50-100 more of you want that shirt or skirt because you saw it and liked it. nestor and gloria can produce (sew) those 50-100 pieces, say 10-20 pieces a week, if it’s a “hit single.”  that works when we just had one extra piece for the guys and one for the girls.
but you all have continuously asked us for the past couple of years, “will you please make more stuff?”
we sure can do that. but what we can’t do in the shop is sew increased volume – make the “whole album”.

and that brings us to today.
we will keep developing and producing QUICK TO MARKET goods – actually, more and more so. i’ll explain why in a minute.
but what we also have had to start doing in creating a collection is getting on that other train schedule. a proper design and production calendar, more exactly.
the one where you have to develop your line, source your multiple sample fabrics, go through many many MANY fittings to get it perfect (because on this train you don’t have the luxury of “testing” it in the store), then order your bulk fabric yardage, then start building relationships with domestic factories that have the quality craftsmanship and need the work. and etc, etc, etc, etc.

it is a big transition and undertaking to go from producing quick to market (real time) to seasonal design.
we started the transition last summer for the fall 2011 collection. we were a lot more ahead this winter for the spring collection. and hopefully by this july/august, we will be launching the fall collection right on time, like all of the other providers of your fashion!
it just takes time to transition from one model to the other. that’s why, as we launch the spring collection on monday,  a portion of the product will be available for PRE-SALE. every single piece is in production as we speak – ian is on it!  – it just will not all be ready by monday. but since there are still such limited quantities, and there is quite a large demand, we wanted to give you all the chance to call dibs on your pieces, because most likely, it will go fast.

but the good news for you and for us, even though we fought this notion for a long time:
the more we sync with the traditional seasonal “fashion” calendars for the larger quantities, the more we will be able to stay ahead of the trends and create and produce special edition goodness around the clock in our “little shop that could”.
so you get both. or whichever you choose!

repeating something i have already said:
i know this is a lot to read and absorb. but we just want to always let you all know where our heads are and what we are doing. because we wouldn’t have ANYTHING to do it if it weren’t for you.

sorry. i didn’t intend this to feel like an econ lecture. i should turn it in to my old professor that didn’t pass me!

monday! come see the new stuff online or in the shop.