In The Studio | Danielle Ribner
Posted: Jun 26 2018
LOUP is a women's wear collection designed with thoughtful attention to detail and fit, and made in New York City's Garment District. Drawing inspiration from French icons Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rambling, designer Danielle Ribner has gained a cult following for her curve-friendly bottoms, including the beloved high-waist Simone Jeans. Danielle was kind enough to sit down with me in her home studio in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood.
Your collection has major NYC roots — you live in Fort Green, BK, you have a studio in Manhattan and your line is produced in NYC’s Garment District. Why was it important to you to keep production close to home?
When I first started Loup, manufacturing in NYC was really the only option since the line was so small. But as the brand has grown, I’ve developed really important relationships with our factories and the people that run them. They know our brand inside and out, and now everyone who works on the clothing from the cutters to the washers to the sewers depend on our business the same way we depend on them. I kind of unintentionally built a network of incredible, hardworking people that have become a great community and the soul of the company.
What are some of the perks/pain points of producing in NYC?
The best part of producing in NYC is the fact that everyone is basically in one neighborhood, the Garment District, and we can run over there any time there’s a question and see every part of the process. The downside is that there aren’t too many factories that do everything for us, so we do have to manage a lot of smaller companies to produce our goods. It’s great because the people here are so skilled at what they do, but it can be a little more work for us.
One of the hallmarks of your brand are your “perfect butt” jeans (The Simone). What was the inspiration for that style? And why do you think this particular style has been so well received?
I created the Simone Jeans mainly because I wanted to wear cool pants and could never find anything that fit me because I’m super curvy. I wanted something that looked vintage from the 1960’s, but fit better than anything I’ve ever tried on. The response has been so immense, and I’ve learned that many women have been searching for clothes that fit a curvier body and make them feel sexy and confident.// ]]>
Where do you draw inspiration for your collection?
A lot of the literal references come from images, film and art, especially from the 1950-70’s and definitely from French icons like Jane Birkin and Charlotte Rampling. Our bestsellers take inspiration like this and match them to pieces that I feel women really want – like great fitting jeans and flattering easy jumpsuits - that will mix into their wardrobe throughout different trends.
What most inspires you about living in NYC? Is there any place that you can’t live without?
I love pretty much everything about NYC, but I especially I love that I’m surrounded so many different kinds of people and we’re all going about our lives. I feel like NYC is the great equalizer and I’m so inspired by walking through each neighborhood and seeing new things. My absolute favorite thing in the city are the museums, and my perfect afternoon is going to one uptown and then walking through Central Park. I’ve also gotten very into my local library!
You grew up in LA, which also boasts a sizable garment district and a growing fashion community. Why NYC over LA?
I’ve always been drawn to NYC, even as a child. LA is fantastic, and I love that I get to visit every few months, but I feel very comfortable and immersed in NYC, especially since moving to Brooklyn and living a slightly quieter life. Since I’ve developed a strong manufacturing community here, it would be hard to just pick up and leave.
Have you ever made a style that you thought would be a hit that just didn’t resonate with your community?
Yes, many! It’s a constant learning process and I’m so grateful customers come back even if we make some clunkers. We’ve changed our business over the last few years to keep offering items that people love, like our Simone Jeans, Slate Coveralls and Knot Overalls, and then give new and exciting pieces every couple months that hopefully inspire our customers.
What’s your design philosophy?
Never design something that would only look good on one type of person.
All photos by Jason Roth Photography