NYDJ Designers: The Secret to Success

How do you blend success with style? It helps if you can wear jeans every day of your life. We talked to Deanna Herron, NYDJ creative director, and Erin Nevins, NYDJ senior design director, about finding inspiration, getting career advice and, naturally, choosing the best jeans for your body

by Susan Swimmer

MORE: What are the secrets to your success?

Deanna Herron: Knowing my customer is always key! I have to know what fit she likes, be it a straight fit or skinny fit for example, and I have to know what special details she likes, such as sparkling pockets or a slit at the hem of a crop pant. I have to look at all the fashion trends that are happening and understand what she will embrace.

MORE: What is the best part of your job?

DH: Of course, it’s the designing of four seasons a year that is really rewarding. I really enjoy building stories around each planned look to help tell a broader fashion story.

Erin Nevins: So many things! But of course my all-time favorite part is being able to go shopping each season! It’s important to always be on top of the trends and in the know of what each brand and designer is producing to ensure you’re setting yourself apart.

MORE: And the hardest?

DH: All the deadlines, especially when it comes to designing a unique sequin jean or highly technical metallic print, for example. They’re the most exciting pieces, and everyone in the company wants to see them, but they take the most time to develop properly.

EN: Editing. Sometimes the team has so many fantastic, ideas it’s hard to choose.

MORE: Where do you get your design inspiration?

DH: I always start with both U.S. and international magazines and tear all the images that inspire me. I also pore over pictures of global street-style looks that are so inspiring. Lastly, I listen to our customers every season to hear what she either loved or missed from the season prior.

MORE: Best professional advice you ever got?

DH: Never get out of touch with what’s happening at a store level. Go shopping, look at your product and look at what your competitors are doing and pay attention to how customers react.

MORE: What is your work uniform?

DH: Jeans and more jeans! I love denim, and sometimes it’s hard to wear anything else. In the fall I wear all colors of boots, from ankle to knee, dark blue denim, gray and black with a simple T-shirt and either leather or sweater jacket.

EN: Always a skinny jean, a great feminine top or blouse, a great blazer or jacket and ankle boots.

MORE: What is your “off hours” uniform?

DH: More denim! On the weekends I tend to pair them with lots of easy sweaters and never leave home without a colorful scarf for warmth but also to give attitude to my outfit. 

EN: I'm in constant motion during the off hours running after my 3 1/2-year-old son, Kelhan, or Australian Shepard rescues, so comfort is a must. Usually my look consists of a sweatshirt or boyfriend T-shirt, a knit jean track pant and vintage red Nike trainers.  

MORE: What do you wear when you want to look powerful?

DH: It almost always includes something black and high boots or heels. I need to feel completely comfortable with the items I select, and they have to feel unique to me.

EN: Heels and a tailored jacket give me the confidence to take on the world.

MORE: What are the pieces in your closet that you cannot live without? And what do you love about them?

DH: Boyfriend jeans. I love them because they chic and casual at the same time, and my moto boots with zipper and buckles. They are a little rebellious, make me feel tough and give me a sense of freedom to express that side of myself.

EN: Isabel Marant white pin-tucked blouse, NYDJ cargo pants, Helmet Lang three-quarter-sleeve blazer, Rag and Bone Ankle Boots, my enormous Eugenia Kim sun hat for the pool.

MORE: What’s the last item you splurged on?

DH: A new pair of shoes—they have the perfect heel height and a black ankle strap. They’re perfect.

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