Mother of Two Relaunches Paper, Denim & Cloth

Paper Denim & Cloth, one of the original “go to” brands for denim purists, recently re-launched with a modern day twist and a story of rebirth that every parent can appreciate. Founder Alex Gilbert, who launched the company back in in 1999, led the company to a successful spot and then made the often difficult decision to walk away and start a family. More than ten years later, she is back with an infectious spirit, a positive message and an honest look at what it takes to be a working mother today. We sat down with her for a chat and a look at the new line.


Q&A with Alex Gilbert, Creative Director, Paper Denim & Cloth

LAM: Why did you leave the brand?
Alex: I left New York to follow my husband. Paper was successful, so I chose to launch a ready to wear collection. Then I got pregnant with my kids (now 6 and 3) and did the whole attachment parenting thing so my family became my focus.

LAM: What are some of the challenges of re-launching an old favorite?
Alex: There’s a nostalgia in recreating. While we look at the brand as being timeless and ageless, many of our fans are grown up now and looking for what they know and love. Our challenge is creating the feeling that our clients got from a former best seller like the “ripper,” without being too literal.

LAM: How do you currently balance having a high-powered career and a family?
Alex: It’s not easy but I want my girls to see you can follow your dreams and still be a loving mom and wife. I’m still trying to find time for myself though.

LAM: Has being a mother to girls changed the way you look at fashion?
Alex: Yes! Originally our jeans were only for really skinny girls. Now, we have jeans that women with all different body types can wear. Being a woman is about confidence, not body size, and I’m trying to show that through our campaign. The model in our look book is a 36 year old new mom. She looks great and she has curves. Before, the models were always teenage girls.

LAM: As a mother, that’s refreshing to hear!
Alex: Fashion can be intimidating but this is a company about feeling confident and secure. The truth is, people who can afford these clothes typically aren’t 15 and none of us can look like we’re 15 so it dawned on me … “Why not have a woman representing you?”

Alex’s denim tips:

1. Don’t have time to try your jeans on before purchasing them? Wrap the waste around your neck. It should fit snugly end to end
2. Buy your jeans as tight as possible. They always stretch
3. Jeans that have at least 5% polyester stretch less than others
4. White denim typically runs tighter and smaller
5. Prevent fading by washing your jeans inside out
6. If you’re a real “denim head,” instead of washing, put your jeans in the freezer. That will kill the smells and bacteria while ensuring your jeans stay as close to new as possible.