Denim is a wardrobe staple for most professional women – she wears it to work, she wears it out, she wears it to relax. The best denim can make her feel comfortable, fashionable, and confident at the same time. There are tons of jeans options available to her in the marketplace – competition is fierce – however, she is well aware, all denim is not created equal.
Enter Warp+Weft, a new, direct-to-consumer, women’s and men’s contemporary denim line, founded by denim industry veteran and DL1961 Creative Director Sarah Ahmed. Its inclusive sizing, proprietary denim technology, sustainable practices, and affordable prices – nothing is over $100 – meets the needs of all body types and wallets.
Warp+Weft is textile terminology for the weave that forms every fabric – ‘warp’ is the vertical and ‘weft’ is the horizontal weave. The vertically integrated brand launched with jeans & shorts, but will soon offer denim skirts, jackets, and jumpsuits. Each pair of jeans is named after an international airport ala New York’s JFK, Paris’ CDG, Barcelona’s BCN. Sizes range from 00-24 for women and 28-40 for men.
Ahmed’s family has been in the denim manufacturing business for over 25 years. Founders of global luxury jeans brand DL1961 carried by high end stores, they run their own production mill in Pakistan.
“Sometimes I feel indigo runs through my veins! We own and operate one of the most sustainable and technologically advanced mills in the world. Our focus has always been to create high quality performance denim with minimal impact on the environment. We are able to do that because we control the whole process from spinning to finishing,” says Warp+Weft CEO.
The facility’s sustainable practices include the use of solar panel energy and cutting-edge water filtration & purification.
“Warp+Weft and DL1961 are both produced at our factory in addition to other denim brands as well. However, we make special fabrications for each brand. The focus has always been how do we create the most high quality denim at every price point from mass to luxury,” adds Ahmed.
She trained as a UX designer while earning her BBA in Strategic Design and Management from Parsons School of Design in New York City. In 2011, Ahmed was looking to start a career in technology, however the opportunity to join her family at DL1961 – where she discovered she could combine her passion for fashion, tech, and customer experience – was too good to pass up. As DL1961’s Creative Director, she has helped shape the luxury brand and business into a household name.
However, Ahmed realized something was still missing in the denim market.
Kristina Moore: Was Warp+Weft a natural evolution for you as the Creative Director of your family business – DL1961?
Sarah Ahmed: I grew up surrounded by both denim and fine art. So, somewhere along the way those two blended. I graduated from Parsons where I studied fine art, business and design. Shortly after I starting working at DL1961 and I was able to apply all the things I’d learned. After spending the past 7 years immersed in all things premium denim, I realized there was a huge gap in the market. There was a need to create high quality, inclusive sizing jeans at a competitive price point. So, I founded Warp + Weft to change that. Warp + Weft is built on an everyone-welcome philosophy, we’re inclusive in every way – from production and price to sizing and design.
What is the difference between the two denim brands?
Ahmed: DL1961 has had incredible success in the premium space because of its impeccable fit, high quality fabrics and on trend designs. However, it’s space was very much limited to the customer shopping above $150. Denim is a universal piece of clothing and customers exist in every market segment. Through our mill, we have dedicated so much of our life making sure each segment has high quality denim, that Warp + Weft seemed like the next natural step when it came to creating another brand. It’s under $100, primarily direct to consumer, inclusive and built on the philosophy that essential denim should be value oriented and available to all. Our core collection definitely reflects that – we have men’s, women’s, plus and petite style options. It’s full of elevated basics focused on solving common Denim problems. Through multiple inseams, tried and tested fits, and shape retention fabrics that conform to your body, we are able to cater to a wider audience and have a really high keep/success rate. It’s really quite a scientific approach towards denim that’s never really been done before.
Why do you think more premium denim brands do not offer a broader size range?
Ahmed: There’s an aspirational quality to the world of premium and luxury brands, which is great for a certain customer and there is definitely a market for it, but with Warp + Weft, we’re really seeking to democratize denim. 67% of women in the U.S. are size 14 or above, yet the majority of mainstream fashion is produced in sizes 0-8. This didn’t add up to us, and we wanted to create chic, amazing fitting jeans for women of all sizes.
How does owning your own denim mill support the Warp+Weft customer?
Ahmed: We believe in making jeans that not only fit perfectly, but are extremely comfortable.
While other denim brands source their fabrics, we make ours from scratch in our own mill. We do everything from spinning yarn to weaving the final product. Because we own our own mill, we’re able to develop proprietary denim technology with the perfect amount of stretch and retention. Our goal was to create a product that everyone could wear and feel good in, so we offer sizes 0-24 for women and 28-40 for men. We also believe in passing along great value to our customers so everything in our product offering is below $100.
How does wearing a great pair of jeans allow you to thrive at or outside the office?
Ahmed: Well, I’m always in denim. I don’t know any other life than that. If I’m not wearing jeans, I’m usually wearing a denim shirt, or jacket. I love how durable and versatile denim is. I’m also all about a uniform and denim is a really great foundation for minimizing choices and maximizing style.
How important is your family’s encouragement and support in embarking on a new venture?
Ahmed: We all work together and add something different. It’s great because we almost always have the same goal. Sometimes, we differ in how to achieve that goal, which leads to passionate phone calls and for some really animated dinner table conversations. They are unbelievably supportive and have instilled a sense of responsibility in me. By working hard and creating new things and following through on projects, we are able to not only manufacture amazing denim but support thousands of people who are involved in the process. That’s a very powerful feeling!
What’s next? Where do you see Warp+Weft in three years?
Ahmed: Warp will continue to push the limits of what we can do with denim. We are trying to optimize our supply chain, so we can pass even more value to our consumer. My dream is that people know Warp + Weft as a dependable, value oriented brand that is dedicated to them. I want people to feel heard and create clothes that offer solutions to their wardrobe problems! Everyone deserves that.