GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Samples of Allison Izu Nagato's low-rise skinny jean and a mini skirt. The collection won't hit the stores until early next year.
Jeans: The long and short of it
Allison Izu Nagato designs easy-to-wear jeans for petites who don't want size to be a barrier to stylishness
There are jeans haves and jeans have-nots. Short people are in the latter category, complaining about being unable to find jeans that fit, only to be told nonchalantly by the haves, "Just cut them."
Allisonizu Spring 2008 Fashion Release Party
» Place: ThirtyNineHotel, 39 N. Hotel St.
» Time: 7 to 10 p.m. Tuesday
» Admission: Free
» Also: See Allisonizu line at Urban Pacific Event 5 to 10 p.m. Oct. 11 at Next Door. See below for details.
As if. I've been there and know that cutting jeans off at the hem to accommodate short legs DOESN'T work. The "knee" always ends up somewhere between your knee and ankle, bending in the wrong place when you walk.
At 5-foot-2, Allison Izu Nagato understands the problem, and has studied it ever since she started designing clothing.
"Basic (pant) patterns are made for a 5-foot-10 model, fitted from hip to knee and knee to ankle, and most pants use those proportions," she said. Hemming takes care of the knee-to-ankle proportion but doesn't correct the hip-to-knee ratio, a problem not visibly apparent, but obvious to the wearer in fit and movement.
Nagato has come up with seven styles of petite denim for spring 2008, marking the debut of her signature line, Allisonizu, her third following Reincarnation, which utilizes recycled fabric, and Sacred, for men.
Allisonizu is based on the classic notion of building a wardrobe from a few basic pieces while taking into account that sophisticated basics for the petite frame are hard to find. Samples will be unveiled next Thursday during the fifth Urban Pacific Fashion Event at ThirtyNineHotel (details below). The collection won't be in stores until early 2008, although Nagato plans a series of trunk shows through fall.
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Allison Izu Nagato has created a denim line to fit shorter women proportionately, with shorter inseams and higher back pockets.
THE NEED FOR a petite line -- addressing those who wear sizes 0 to 10 and up, but with shorter-than average limbs -- always seemed obvious to Nagato, a 1998 Fashion Institute of Technology graduate who worked in New York for two years before returning to Hawaii in 2000.
"I always noticed people wouldn't hem their pants properly," she said. "I've always found it hard to find things that fit me properly, but I understand it so I'll go home and hem my pants and dresses. Even if you just take two inches off the bottom, it makes a huge difference. It can make you look more together."
Nagato enlisted friends of all sizes to develop jeans that would accommodate as many body types as possible, from the straight boyish figure to the girl with a narrow waist and wide hips, for whom standard waistbands tend to gap.
"I wanted the perfect fit, taking into account bigger butts, skinny legs, athletic legs. I did very meticulous fittings; it was almost mathematical."
Adjustments she's made for petites:
» A shorter inseam for women 5-foot-4 and under.
» A higher knee break, to elongate legs' appearance.
» Higher placement of smaller back pockets to create the illusion of a raised and toned bottom.
» A shaped waistband, to prevent "panty peek" and "muffin top."
The small-waist/wide-hip syndrome was addressed with a curved waistband, and the entire line uses premium cotton denim with Spandex for a comfortable stretch.
"You can do squats in these jeans!" she said.
That might be enough to convince any nonjeans girl she really is a jeans girl after all.