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24th January 2020

Behind the Design, Autumn 20

We sat down with our very own jean genie and head of denim, Elly Frangos, to chat about her Autumn 20 inspiration trip to Nashville. Hear about how her time spent in this iconic, sweet city of music & friend chicken plus her wealth of knowledge and passion in both the music & denim space has inspired the denim collection you see this season.

 

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You guys were lucky enough to go to Nashville for your inspiration trip for AW20. Describe the Nashville vibe for those who haven’t been.

Travelling to Nashville has always been on my bucket list and it was such an amazing experience to go there for Wrangler. Firstly we flew in at night and you could see the lights of the neon Broadway from the plane so I was already thinking this place is gonna be a good time, Nashville itself is feels kinda like going back in time to the glory days of Country music there are fancy light up billboards everywhere and so many elements of the town relate back to music.

What were your trip highlights? Nashville is one of the most fun places I’ve been in the US, I love how Nashville culture revolves around 3 things that I love, music, clothing and food. The vintage guitar stores left me speechless, the way they do traditional southern food in Nashville whether it be shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken etc I’ve never had anything like it and Nashville really has its own fashion identity especially in the vintage arena it’s a fun place to shop. I have some wonderful friends that live in Nashville, both work within creative fields. They have this rad blue vintage van and we were so lucky because they drove us around and took us out almost every day we were there, so I feel like because of them we got a more tailored experience, not a drop of time was wasted on this trip that for me was the biggest highlight.

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What did you discover that you weren’t expecting?

Nashville is so much smaller than I expected its more like a large town, you still need to drive to the small pockets to explore but it’s pretty easy to get around. The majority of the people have really nice manners and they are really sweet and genuine also everyone eats super early so it’s kinda difficult to go out and eat late, being from Melbourne where everything is open till all hours it was a different experience. Partying is a family affair, when we went to the Honkey Tonk we saw family generations all out dancing and enjoying music together Grandparents, parents and their kids in their 20s it was really social and fun.

 

Music is at the epi centre of Nashville and is so diverse. What was your music experience like?

When you’re in Nashville you are 100% surrounded by music and while some people may just associate the place with country and western it is so much bigger and more diverse than that, so many musical roads lead to Tennessee. While I was there I experienced music ranging from Blues to Heavy metal, hip hop, grunge, rap, R&B, Folk, country etc etc…the list goes on. We went to the Bluebird Café and saw a phenomenal Blues band who’s members had either played or toured with some majorly iconic artists ie. Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Shania Twain. At the Honkey Tonk and Roberts Western World they had house bands with amazing up and coming musicians but the people in the crowd were also the ones to watch because so many were musicians that were out and about.

 

What inspired you most from a design perspective?

Country music hall of fame, the Johnny Cash Museum and the crowd at the Honkey Tonk especially the costumes within the decades especially the 60s to the 80s, so many pairs of Wrangler jeans, satin and fringed western shirts, worn embellished leatherwork, Nudies amazing embroidered suits (worn by the likes of Elvis, Gram Parsons and Post Malone) and let’s not forget the bedazzling and rhinestones of Bob Mackie.

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And how did that translate into the range? (Key pieces, design features, new fits or washes that came out of the trip)

I really wanted to try and take influence of the icons of Vintage Wrangler back to a modern space. Being able to see the historical journey of wrangler denim in a music space was great research for my ideas about modern wrangler also I picked up a couple of pairs of well-worn wranglers on my journey and referred back to these for wash and detail.

 

What’s your favourite pieces from the autumn range (and why)?

It has to be our new fit The Lita who doesn’t love a vintage high-waisted straight jean, I wanted something that had a throwback to the traditional wrangler fit of the countless pairs of vintage Wranglers that I own because they are just so wearable and look so good on an array of body shapes, I modernised the fit by putting them into a sustainable comfort rigid denim so you can feel good and in options of both indigo and black I think they translate really well into the modern day wardrobe.

 

You always have a great story behind at least one of your denim washes. What have you got for us this season?

I bought quite a few beautiful pairs of Wrangler jeans from Black Shag vintage, the store is pretty amazing the building is the Historic East Nashville fire station they have walls and walls of original band tees and outrageous outfits that were worn by real life musicians such as Marc Bolan, jaw dropping traditional native American squash blossom necklaces and jewellery, cowboy boots as far as the eye can see and walls of vinyl and cassettes needless to say wandering around in there was pretty inspiring, I used the wash and detail on these jeans as a main base for the collection spectrum, I’d like to believe that some of these jeans are castoffs from cowboys, musicians etc living their lives and this story being etched into their jeans, every time they wore and washed them.

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Who were some of your muses for the season, and why?

Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Jimmy Hendrix, Colter Wall, Chris Stapleton, Teskey Brothers, Dolly Parton, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, Nikki Lane, Lana Del Rey all of these people possess significant personal style and music that transcends time. They are the perfect representation of our inspiration statement “Drifting through Tennessee commonly known as music city, artists are made and broken, Tennessee is not an era it’s a state of mind, taking inspiration from icons of all generations that have cut their teeth here.

 

QUICK 7

• Your top vintage stores to visit? Black Shag Vintage, High Class Hillbilly, The Bowery and Dirty Livin.

• Best hot chicken is at…? It has to be Princes - I’ve never had anything like it - please see photo evidence.

• Best live music venue? No way to pick just one!! Nashville is all about music - some suggestions are Bluebird Café, Roberts Western World, the Ryman, Basement East, the East Room, Tidballs and The Legion Post 82.

• Best bar? See above. They all have a bar and Tennessee is the place for Whiskey.

• Any music you discovered whilst in Nashville? This phenomenal country artist called Colter Wall hes like a modern day Johnny Cash I just love his storytelling and female country artist Nikki Lane (she owns High Class Hillbilly) whose fashion and music sass is next level.

• Best outfit you saw? There were a bunch of young guys at the Legion I found out later that they were called the Scary Prairie Boys and they had double denim Wrangler jeans and jackets that were embroidered sort of gram parsons western style, all of them were wearing Stetson cowboy hats and epic cowboy boots it was the coolest.

• Something that came home with you… a bedazzled snakeskin cowboy belt, Vintage American Wranglers, a some records and a ton of Nashville keyrings and fridge magnets hahaha.

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Shop mens Autumn 2020 denim collection.

Shop womens Autumn 2020 denim collection.

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