“Every story has a beginning and an end. What lies between those two points is a journey.”

Well, every brand has a beginning and hopes of no end, but what ignites the first and decides the second is the story. For us the story started before the brand because our story is connected to so many before us. After all, we aren’t the first denim brand to launch. Neither are we the first denim brand to create a raw denim jean.

And however we got our start, our journey is not what, but rather who and to be specific-you are our journey.

We believe women deserved to have it all and a piece of the raw denim pie cake. So when we created our first piece, we chose one that would celebrate your journey. The Nightingale is denim in its most pristine form so the first time you wear it, is the first time the jean gets to tell your story. And what you do in them from that moment on will not be forgotten but celebrated on your jeans.

Girl in Raw Denim Skinny Jeans on stairs

 

So how did we decide on the Nightingale? It all started behind the closed doors of a dressing room. I was trying on different jeans and most of them have to be altered because the seam is too long.

“I love the fit of these,” showing my sister a pair of dark wash skinny jeans. The legs were so long, it looked like I had grown flippers. “But look how long they are.”

“You can always get them hemmed,” my sister replied.

“True,” I said. I looked at myself in the fitting room mirror and noticed that the distressing along the bottom part of the jean leg was hitting my body at an unflattering point. I looked ever closer and the lighter part of the jeans where my knees should be were also off. “Well, that sucks.”

Needless to say, I didn’t buy those jeans that day but I did start to think about why jeans are such a meticulous process.

At this point, we had started CAKE and we were doing research, but we thought we had it all figured out. We knew our jeans had to be different. We focused mainly on the fit, not realizing that the quality of denim is the beginning of the fit. How a jean stretches, distresses, and lays once it becomes a garment is all dictated by the denim.

This experience was the first sign on our journey to creating the Nightingale.

Later on, I came home to find Dominique sitting in our jeans. At the beginning she was our fit model, so this wasn’t rare, but she usually only wore them at our fittings with our contractors.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked.

“Not much,” she responded.

“Ok, but why are you wearing our jeans?” I asked.

“Oh, I wanted to sit in them for lengths of time to see how they felt because it’s not enough to just try them on during fittings,” Dom explained.

“Genius,” I replied.

And it was genius, because not only did she explore ways to make our jeans fit better, she also realized, that they smelled. Ok, not a gross smell, but a toxic smell.

“Do you smell that? Do you think that’s our jeans?” She asked. Being a city, LA can have multiple unknown smells.

As much as I tried to ignore it, I could also smell something chemical related.

I’m not sure if you know this about me, but I’m the one at the grocery store reading every ingredient list on every package. It’s not just food that important to remain chemical free. Anything that comes in contact with my body, no the AIR around my body should be as natural as possible.

“Great,” I thought. “Another obstacle to overcome.”

“Maybe down the line, we can find more eco-friendly denim,” I voiced to Dom.

One of our misconceptions about starting a business was that we thought we’d have to wait to change things. 

When we talked to our first contractors, they already had a way of doing things-cutting, sewing, fittings, and washes. And when we asked if we could do something differently, they asked, “Why?” At first, it was difficult because we knew why we wanted to do things differently but they have been in the denim manufacturing industry for years so why would two young girls know how to do things better than them?

But you can. Along with being the newbies, we also brought new experiences and a new insight. We’ve actually found that we wouldn’t be able to compete if we continued to do things the same way everyone else is.

We got our second sign to create the Nightingale when we were at searching for a mill. As luck would have it, a mill that is based overseas recently opened a new design center in LA. Initially, when we went to see fabrics here, we already had an idea of what we were looking for. Well, that completely went out the window when we mentioned eco-friendly.

To be honest, we picked out our denim and we were half way through a tour of the new design center when they mentioned one of their eco-friendly practices. Well…how could we not ask to see that fabric. Dubbed “the Ferrari” of denim, I was handed the softest denim I had ever laid hands on. Dyed with pure indigo, how could we not get blue eyes? We went home to mull it over, but quickly emailed the mill to seal our eco-friendly choice.

Once we made our first sample and saw the denim and our fit, we knew it was our duty to give our customers the choice to wear it in its purest form.

 

Just look at that denim glisten in the sun!

The finally sign came from a friendly muse. (Warning: Side story!)

When Dom and I came to LA, we were decided to make the most of the trip (remember we thought we were only staying for 2-6 weeks.) Well, we made plans to visit San Diego and through this trip and common friends we met a woman who has impacted our brand for the better.

Hesitant to tell acquaintances about our ambitious business, we were surprised when one of the women started asking a few questions and went on to explain that her husband was a denim (raw denim, specifically) aficionado. We were further surprised to find out that she was just visiting as well and was from LA. She kindly offered to keep in touch, seeing as we were new to the area.

So being in a new city can be daunting and having contacts can definitely make the big city seem a little more manageable. Our new friend quickly became one of our close friends, in fact, she is still one of our best contacts and supporters in LA. When we were still perfecting our fit, we had her try on the jeans since we knew she was knowledgeable about quite a few brands.

I’ll never forget how reassuring it was to see our first prototype on her. But what was even better was before she even came out to show us them, she exclaimed behind the door about how soft they felt and how well they fit.

And it was even more magical when we told her we wanted our first piece to be raw, and she pulled out a few raw denim jeans that she had, however, they were men’s jeans. Her husband had taken her a few specialty boutiques in New York where she got her raw jeans. She told us that she had never seen raw jeans for women and wished there were more raw options for her.

Girl Skinny Jeans Raw Denim DTLA

I wish I could tell you that’s where the story ended, but it took many more fittings and research to finally develop the Nightingale, but we did it. Now you can start your story with your own pair. I know I did.

After our first round of production, I couldn’t wait to pull a pair from the pile and wear into them.

Here’s a little insight to how I like to wear my pair of raw denim Nightingale’s.

When I Wear Them: My favorite places to wear them are when I travel or working around LA. They’re the pair of jeans I turn to when I want to move around and be active. They’re soft but a little dressier so I like to show them off. LA is more relaxed and the fashion industry is definitely relaxed so they’re the perfect article of clothing to wear when I’m meeting people.

 

 

Can you see my knee distressing?? That’s right, my knees did that! 

 

Where I Wear Them: Since I wear them when I’m running around for CAKE, I wear them in DTLA a lot. I also  wear them at the airport and on planes a lot since they’re my favorite traveling outfit. I know that I’ll look relaxed yet polished when I’m traveling.

 

How I Wear Them: I usually pair them with the Ochoa since the black body suit is simple yet sexy. It’s pretty much my go-to outfit when I’m working. I’ll throw on a blazer or jacket if I need to, but at least I don’t have to worry about what to wear. I guess, it’s my version of Steve Jobs’ black turtle neck and jeans.

I like to spend as much time in the clothes we make because I want to know if there’s anything we can improve upon for the next collection.

I’m pretty picky and want to make sure we don’t stop at good enough. I also, cuff them which is trendy right now but I mainly do it because I don’t wanna get them hemmed. Maybe my new pair…

Why I Wear Them: Well, I did design them, but that’s not the reason I wear them. It might be the reason I tried them on but they’re one of my favorite jeans because they are unique. The fit is contouring to my body as I move and wear into them and the distressing is breaking through every day a little more. The remind me to be unique, life’s what you make of it, and to leave an impression.

One last thing…this piece looks sooo good styled with other denim. The quality of this fabric stops “denim on denim” from being taboo and instead gives the wearer a polished look. (See below for confirmation!)

Girl in Skinny Denim Jeans

Well there you have it. The story behind CAKE DENIM’s first piece. Even though it’s not how we thought our story would have started, we’re happy to say it was a start we can be proud of. We fought for what we wanted and learned a lot. These jeans along with the people who made it a reality have taught us so much. I’m sure we will continue to learn throughout this journey, at least I hope so.

The next few posts will continue to feature the pieces in our collection and their stories. Let us know if there’s anything specific you want to know or any advice you’d like to share with us. We’re always interested in learning how you came this way and what kept you reading this far!