Nili Lotan founded her eponymous label around the idea of “non-jeans,” which is somewhat ironic given that jeans have always been the core of her own wardrobe. “That’s actually how the business started. I was looking for the replacement for denim, because I live in jeans and I wanted alternatives that had similar attributes,” Lotan explains. “I thought about what I could create that was sexy, cool, and relaxed but wasn’t denim, and I came up with the French Military pants, which Barneys was the first to carry. To this day, that is one of my bestsellers. I treated the non-jeans like denim, in that they’re beaten up, made in the raw material, and then dyed and stonewashed.”
As the collections built momentum, each season she would thoughtfully add more building blocks in an effort to create the ideal modern woman’s wardrobe. She added shirting, then jackets, then an assortment of eveningwear. “I started with five pieces that I needed myself. It was selfish, really, but it was always important that everything had a purpose.” As the 10-year anniversary of the label rolled around last year, she realized there was still one thing missing: denim.
This season, Lotan is proud to introduce four core denim styles, with more to follow come spring. There are the Military, the Tel Aviv, the Boyfriend, and the Lori Military jacket. “I took inspiration from fits and silhouettes that I already had in my collections and translated them into denim. They are all seasonless, ageless, and genderless while being very chic,” she explains of her nuanced takes on traditional jeans.
While she looked to her successful pants for shape, Nili took inspiration from her own vintage denim collection for the washes and colors. “I wanted to give the sense of very authentic denim that isn’t trying to be something fashion-y. I was very gentle with the structure, and the Japanese denim makes it easier to achieve a worn-in look. It’s about looking lived-in and feeling soft and comfortable. When you buy new denim, it’s about emulating something you’ve had for years, but without looking contrived.”
By next season, the brand will have introduced over 10 denim styles, creating a full-on collection. These once-elusive styles will become a central aspect of Nili Lotan’s truly spot-on offerings for a timeless, relaxed, and always-cool women’s wardrobe.