We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Leverton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Funnily enough it was actually a bi-product of moving to Los Angeles. I launched my first book, Denim Dudes in LA in 2015 and on that trip decided that this was where I wanted to live. I was talking to an immigration lawyer about how to go about it and he suggested starting a business out here. Based on my experience and expertise in denim I had the opportunity to apply for an O1 visa meaning I didn’t have to come out here attaching myself to a company, which would give me the freedom to work for whoever I wanted and stay as long as I liked. So essentially it was an immigration guy who actually gave me the impetuous!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
There are two sides to what I do: behind the scenes denim industry consultancy and then direct to consumer journalism. I graduated in 2002 from Kingston University with a BA in fashion design and worked as a casualwear designer for about five years before getting into the world of trend forecasting. My job is to anticipate what’s around the corner in the world of denim design and innovation in order to help brands and designers make smarter, more informed decisions. But over the last 13 years working in this industry, focus has shifted considerably from watching what’s happening in popular culture (bands, movies, celebrities, street style…) to really understanding human behaviour on a deeper level. The way we consume culture, flex our status and buy clothing has changed so much over the last ten years that my analysis spans technology, sustainability, health and psychology amongst so many other aspects of modern life. It’s an exciting and fast paced world! The other side to my work is the consumer-side but that wouldn’t have happened without my career. My denim street style books came about in 2015 because I was so inspired by the people I was meeting in the denim industry: designers, store owners, founders of brands and enthusiasts. Denim is a close-knit, super inspiring industry and I wanted to celebrate the individual style of these amazing people and the democratic appeal and versatility of denim. So now I have a blog and two instagram feeds that span this world and we share news, inspiration and information that is aimed at both industry insiders and those just interested in denim.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, as the world’s biggest fan of LA, I’d be more than happy to share my favourite things to do in this city. I have been living here for 5 years and visiting for 10 and every day I wake up and pinch myself that I’m here! I’m going to write this as if there is no global pandemic because otherwise its tricky! I live East so I would encourage them to stay in Hotel Covel because its really gorgeous AND it’s located right next to my favourite breakfast spot: Homestate. I love their secret menu breakfast tacos and I literally dream about their queso. Afterwards I would take them to Skylight Books, Otherwild and Bell Jar for some ‘shop local’ retail therapy and then take them on a tour of some of the local Frank Lloyd Wright houses in the neighbourhood (Hollyhock, Ennis and Sowden) and then up to the hills above the observatory: going up there always makes me grateful to live in such a beautiful city. Later we would eat somewhere simple and adorable like Speranza and then I’d drag them to my favourite bar in all of LA: Jumbo’s Clown Room. I’m a fan of DTLA, my design studio is on 7th and Los Angeles and I always get inspired visiting Bodega at The Row, Dover Street Market, Visvim, Departmento, Poketo, and my friend’s awesome vintage store Raggedy Threads. Everyone has the Broad on their museum list and I do think its worth that crazy long line but something I recently discovered was its next door neighbour’s free tour; the Walt Disney Concert Hall is an incredible building from the outside but to see inside is even better. A great place for those conceptual-cool photos for the gram and such a fascinating building history to learn about too. If we’re feeling boujee later, we’ll head to Soho Warehouse for sunset drinks but my absolute favourite food in DTLA is the Sonoratown Mexican joint: it cannot be beaten! I love Venice and often ride over to the coast from Silverlake on my bike, either solo or with the amazing organised Ride For Black Lives crew, founded by Ron Holden. Once West-side I’m a fan of the artisanal bakery, Gjusta. I can’t head to the beach without a visit. My friend is the pastry chef there and her baked goods are out of this world. I’ll also swing by Older Brother, a beautiful, sustainable, natural-dyed brand with an awesome little store on Rose st. General Store on Lincoln is always worth a browse, as is Deus, followed by a visit to Superba Food and Wine for that Fleetwood Mac selfie 😉 A drive through the Malibu hills to one of the exceptional beaches is always on my list: point Dume or Zuma beach for instance. Driving that PCH with the wind in your hair and the sea right next to you is such a great feeling! I like to drive the scenic route past Old Place, one of my favourite ‘All American’ food spots. The wood clad, Pioneer style building gets us brits very excited! There’s so much more besides: the Getty, the Hollywood sign hike, the Rose Bowl flea market, the Chinese theatre, a gig at Zebulon, Huntington Gardens…. the list goes on and on. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Oooof, there are so many individuals who have helped me along the way. When I look back at my path, I realise that so many opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without certain individuals giving me chances along the way. Whilst there are too many to mention, I’m going to pick three today: Sue Barrett for employing me at WGSN in 2007, Helen Job for encouraging me to write a book in 2013 and Jonathan Cheung for putting his faith in me to kick-start my working relationship with Levi’s in 2015.
Jon Dragonetti and Kate Berry