Designer Michelle Weinberg Schools Us On Denim


Wear them in or wear them out—either way, Nasty Gal Denim is all about giving you a lift. Our Senior Denim Designer and resident hair icon, Michelle Weinberg, designed our first ever Nasty Gal Denim collection with your ass(ets) in mind, “I hate jeggings,” she says. “I want comfortable jeans that conform to your body. I’m not playing around here.” We caught up with Michelle to talk cowboys, MILFs, and daisy-dusting bells.

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Photo by Perry McGrath Salon, Los Angeles

Tell us about the jeans you’re wearing right now.

They’re skintight, vintage 501s and I’m not comfortable—definitely going to have redline imprints on my legs by the end of the day.

Let’s talk iconic denim. What’s your all-time favorite campaign?

Anything from the late ’80s to early ’90s by Versace—the one with Nadia Auermann and Claudia Schiffer is so good. Also, Wrangler and anything with cowboys and rough riders.

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What was your first denim obsession?

Original 1950s Big E jeans. So good.

Where’d you get the inspiration for Nasty Gal Denim?

Vintage, vintage, vintage. All the jeans are vintage-inspired and fit like a dream. We’re making retro silhouettes accessible to every girl—she can have the look without any disappointment. There’s nothing worse than finding something amazing that doesn’t fit you because it’s vintage. 

Tell us why you picked these fits and washes.

We put so much time and effort into perfecting our fit, and the fact that it’s made in L.A. means we can really monitor it. Working hands-on with the pattern makers and sewers was key. Same with the washes—we’re working with local laundries, which gives us the opportunity to oversee everything and get exactly what we want.

For The Kink, we wanted a raw rinse, retro ’70s blue, and classic black. Those three washes are wardrobe staples, building blocks. For the MILF Jean, I wanted something that read truly vintage and looked like it was distressed and aged. For the Boyfriend Jean, I wanted it to look and feel like your boyfriend had been wearing them while he was riding motorcycles or working on his car. The Flip Skirt is just really easy—’70s-inspired and perfect for every day.

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Let’s talk about The Bell.

People forget how flattering a bell is, because we get so locked into this skinny jean, cool girl thing. Bells are the best, but it’s almost impossible finding a vintage bell that fits. I wanted a high rise that wasn’t too stretchy. We need this bell that actually fits to remind girls there’s more than just one option. It’s not just the skinny or boyfriend. There’s another jean, and it’s super cool. Also, it cups perfectly around the ass, so that doesn’t hurt. 

What about The Kinks? Ex Boyfriend? MILF? We’re kind of freaking out. 

The Kinks are a staple. They’re the iconic wardrobe builders that you can put on with everything.

The MILF is straight and will fit everyone’s body differently—it looks good on everyone because the way we designed the rise. 

Most boyfriend jeans on the market aren’t updated to the point that they look good on a woman’s body or they’re too high rise or low rise and cut at weird angles. Also, it’s a boyfriend jean—give it a button fly. People think, “women don’t want to use a button fly” or “women don’t like it.” Please don’t tell me what women like or don’t like. It takes ten seconds to put on a button fly and it totally changes the fit.

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What’s up with putting jeans in the freezer? It’s kind of weird.

I love denim, but I’m not putting mine in the freezer. That’s so gross. I don’t wash my jeans very often. Wear them a few times before you wash them so they can form to your body—that’s actually really important. Then wash them when they smell.

What’s up next for Nasty Gal denim?

You’ll have to wait and see, but it’s really, really good.