OK! So I know I am NOT the only one, that has issues finding that perfect fitting jean. I know for me it’s a challenge because of my curvy shape, usually the waist is too big (bunches in the back), the cut is just all wrong or the wash just makes the pants feel like a brillo pad! Up until now I figured this was just an issue for woman, but to my surprise men also have this issue. Who would have thought, men have the same struggle with jeans. I will admit their issues seem to be a bit more bothersome than ours, since their packaging is a tad different, LOL!
A couple months ago, I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Darrin Haala, co-founder of HAALA denim (“HAALA”), launched in 2010 by him & his brother, Dustin. I was extremely impressed by the quality & fit of Darrin’s jeans that I felt compelled to share it with my viewers. Their jeans are premium quality denim & 100% American made. You can tell that a lot of thought, creativity, & love goes into the production of their jeans. They feel absolutely amazing & look great on, they have a distinct fit & seem to be extremely comfortable. I know one thing for sure is that Darrin definitely takes pride in their line & captivates you when he explains HAALA.
I had the pleasure of asking Darrin some questions about HAALA, to give my viewers some more insight on what they are all about. You can purchase their jeans online at www.haaladenim.com & also make sure to follow them on Instagram at @haala_denim
1. What inspired you guys, to come up with the idea to start HAALA denim?
We wanted to start a business that we could see ourselves pouring creativity and passion into. Denim is an evolving fabric that can reinvent itself and take on so many forms. We liked the fact that we can provide iconic American style, or today’s newest unique trends. Not to mention, we have been wearing premium denim since we were young teenagers.
Today, jeans can be worn with a t-shirt or a tie…the diversity within our line can accomplish both. We began doing custom washes on raw jeans and our creations started turning heads from the model crowd in NYC and LA. As our excitement and vision grew for denim, so did our will to make jeans in the USA and dedicate ourselves to using only the best fabrics, sewing, and wash services that Los Angeles can provide. We wanted to be hands-on and guide our product along the way. Denim jeans tell a story for all of us, it’s our goal to make HAALA denim not only our story, but the customer’s as well.
2. Is it hard to find the perfect fitting jean, do men even have this issue?
Men can have issues finding the perfect fitting jean, just as women do. However, for us it was more about combining all aspects…FIT, FABRIC, & FINISH. Many brands claim to fame is one or 2 of these 3. Being able to put them all together in perfect harmony is what we classify as Premium. Our goal for our fits is to provide a modern, sleek silhouette that forgives just enough on the front rise, and sticks to the waist on the back, preventing gaping, pulling, or bunching. We do a lot of pattern work in the upper region of the jean to insure comfort, but the legs and overall look of our jean projects a youthful, tailored look.
3. What’s so different about HAALA denim? What sets it apart from all the others?
HAALA denim sets itself apart from many brands by simply using better fabrics, designing better washes, and crafting an overall jean that is built to last longer. All of our fabric comes from Cone Mills, NC. Cone denim is a world-renowned fabric supplier and we have carefully chosen the best fabrics, including 2 shades of selvedge denim from their White Oak facility. They are one of the oldest facilities and have a proven track record of fabrics that are woven, dyed, and constructed to the highest standard.
We use doubled layered belt loops (I fell in LOVE with this idea), doubled & fused waistbands, double needle sewing throughout the entire jean, lined back pockets and fly’s, 100% leather patches, customized buttons and rivets, and more. Simply holding a pair of HAALA denim and comparing it to many of the jeans in department stores can show the difference of fabric integrity. I personally felt a pair & to be honest describing them does no justice! (it’s the little intricate details, that sets HAALA apart in my opinion)
We are also different because we design each jean for a purpose. Each jean is made for a particular reason. The fit, fabric, wash, all work together to make the jean special. Many big name brands are providing predictable washes that go from dark, medium, and light because it’s the safe way to go. HAALA denim washes have more special characteristics and detailing within them to portray more of an exclusive look.
Lastly, we are different because of the diversity within our line. Many other brands claim their niche to be one particular thing, whereas HAALA denim’s strong suite is being able to design any type of jean imaginable. Our variety within the line gives more of a ‘designed’ feel rather than just a pair of jeans in a few different washes. We can accommodate denim nerds with our 13.5 oz. clean selvedge or we can keep up with the trends with our new acid washes, waxed denim, etc. The variety of choice that will continue with HAALA denim is what will keep our brand fresh and intriguing. We will never become stagnant. We also make our jeans by hand in small batches, which gives us the best quality control possible.
4. What sizes do you carry ?
We currently carry:
Waist sizes: 30,31,32,33,34,36,38
We plan to add waist size 29 on the next productions. We accomodate in between waist sizes as you can see, which makes for more perfect fitting jean than just skipping from 32 to 34 waist. or 30 to 32. We promote towards a guy who leads an active, healthy lifestyle and wants to look his best in HAALA denim. Our jeans have received many compliments on the ability to flatter a range of demographics.
5. Do you carry women’s jeans? Do you carry plus sizes?
We have a women’s line in development. Samples have been made and they are turning out excellent. Look for 2014 and 2015 to introduce an entire women’s line. We currently have a mid-rise skinny in dark and light washes and a legging in black and colors. We will not carry plus sizes, however, some styles of our women’s jeans will have a quality stretch blend, which will allow forgiveness in waist size.
We are also looking forward to developing women’s styles with some heavier, 100% cotton fabric. These days, we have only been seeing thin, stretch fabrics in the world of women’s jeans, which we understand and will also be included in most of our women’s line, but being able to provide hardy, heavier fabrics for women again is something at the top of our list.
6. Are their jackets, shirts, shorts, etc. in future production being made?
YES! Our plan is to develop other product categories. In the near future, look for leather jackets, denim jackets, graphic t-shirts, pocket t-shirts, cotton twill pants, and women’s shorts. Some of the categories, such as leather jackets will be part of our higher price point selection.
7. Are the design & the business/production management handled by both of you?
Both of us are creatives and we collaborate to design our product, however, my (Darrin’s) strength is doing more of the design and production management, while Dustin is strong suited in business, concept, and overall product performance. My brother, Dustin, is also our financier and has been the backbone of getting the business started. We work well together because both of us are able to make creative decision and business decisions alike. Our relationship is very close, we are best friends. The trust and belief that we have in each other goes along way while pushing to get to the top
We are 100% involved with every step of the process. There isn’t 1 step from beginning to end that we haven’t put in place ourselves. We set up the entire product and production from the ground up. We don’t cut corners and we make the product as best as we possibly can. We know that this will help us substantially in the long run and our customer will appreciate the American made craftsmanship.
8. Have you guys always been into fashion ? When did your passion for it come about?
I (Darrin) have. Living in NYC for 6 years influenced my fashion drive and my curiosity to create my own fashion. Instead of modeling others creativity, I wanted to be the one making my own creativity come to life. I went to college for graphic design and that also inspired my direction towards fashion design. It also helped with creating all the labels, artwork, photo shoot layout and art direction, photography, that is also involved with our line.
Looking at fashion from the outside in while I was a model gave me a good direction and perspective of now looking at it the other way around. For me it’s bringing a lifestyle to life and not being afraid of going with your gut. You have to know whats cool and not second guess. There are many times when my intuition tells me to create a particular style and going with that instinct is going to give HAALA denim brand identity.
My passion for denim also came about when I started doing DIY custom washes on raw denim…the artistic nature of making something with my own two hands, which nobody else had and could re-create was exciting. From there, I wanted to make my art my craft, and our craft is HAALA denim.
Below are some of their more popular styles:
CROSBY – Straight leg. Curved waistband that forms perfectly on mens hips. Little more room in the thighs for an athletic build. Gives off a straight, modern look, yet known as our most comfortable, forgiving fit.WESTERLY – Slim. This is our most popular fit within the urban demographic. Fits close to the body with just enough room for comfort, yet highly fashionable. Made with a phenomenal stretch fabric, it gives you the high fashion look without sacrificing comfort.
VARICK – Skinny. We have developed what we call a true skinny. Not a slim that most other brands call a skinny, and not a slim/skinny….an actual skinny. Skinny for us means on the skin, which is how our skinny works all the way down until it reaches the ankle area, where it leaves just a touch more fabric in the ankle/leg opening, projecting a masculine appeal. Also uses our stretch fabric.GINO – Straight tapered- Best of both worlds, a mix between a straight and slim. The top half is a straight leg, that fuses into a slim towards the bottom half of the jean, giving it a nice V silhouette. This fit uses our selvedge fabric, so the leg opening is more flattering when it is smaller to cuff the bottom and show off the selvedge edge.