Meet Your New Vintage Denim Gurus

Jennifer Francis and Alice Wells created e-commerce site Kindred Black for luxury goods that are also eco-responsible, craftsman produced, and ethically manufactured. Today, they’re adding vintage denim to the mix.

Kindred Black

It’s preternaturally tricky to find eco-conscious items that don’t reek of hippie self-pride. But Kindred Black is a luxe alternative to eco-conscious shopping. An e-commerce marketplace for ec0-responsible, craftsman produced, and ethically manufactured home goods, beauty products, jewelry and clothing, founders Jennifer Francis and Alice Wells source from emerging designers, established brands, and vintage wholesalers. Today, they’re adding a curated collection of American denim to the site–from Levi’s 501s and 505s, to the more obscure 517s, and Lee and Wrangler. While vintage denim is especially au courant, it also fits the the Kindred Black ethos: for just one pair of jeans, up to 1500 gallons of water is used to grow the cotton, which is often aided with pesticides and fertilizers, not to mention the harsh polluting dyes used to make the jeans blue. Vintage denim eases the environmental burden. For the look book, Francis and Wells tapped photographer Kava Gorna, who has a thing for blue jean-covered bottoms. Here, the duo shares their daily uniforms, what they’re lusting after, and (of course) their favorite denim brands.

Three words that describe your style: Jennifer: Classic, basic, and sometimes schizophrenic. Alice: Comfortable, consistent, and fairly effortless.

Daily uniform: Jennifer: Soft old ripped Levi’s, tight white tee, flat ankle boots, and layered silver jewelry (silver right now but probably heavier on gold in cold months). Alice: Blue or black denim, a t-shirt (I’ve been wearing Jungmaven hemp T’s nonstop ever since we found them), and my custom bootines from Stewart Boot in Tucson where my family lives.

Favorite store: Jennifer: Maryam Nassir Zadeh always has a lot of fun and different finds. Alice: Dashwood Books for rare and out-of-print photography monographs.

Favorite vintage store: Jennifer: Now that we sell vintage we’ve been able to gain the secret entry to vintage warehouses that only deal with wholesale. It’s mecca for someone that loves vintage but totally overwhelming. Alice: Passenger in Los Angeles – they do a beautiful job blending the old with the new.

Favorite pair of jeans: Jennifer: I have a pair of vintage Levis 501’s that are practically falling off my body at this point, they’re so ripped up and threadbare. Once you find that special pair that fits like they’re made for you though, they’re insanely hard to give up on. Alice: A pair of Lees I’ve had since middle school, they’re stretched out just enough to still let me squeeze in.

Favorite denim brand that isn’t Levi’s: Jennifer: I’m obsessed with old A.P.C. jeans. Alice: I’m dying to try Khaite.

Nighttime look: Jennifer: Under rare circumstances I’ll switch out flat ankle boots for heels. Alice: A tighter, more low-cut version of my daytime look, and I try not to carry a bag.

Style icons: Jennifer: Anjelica Huston, Charlotte Rampling Alice: Kate Bush

Style pet peeve: Jennifer: Wearing shoes you can’t walk properly and confidently in. Alice: Being able to see a thong through clothing – awful!

Best recent discovery: Jennifer: We recently found and bottled this amazing Iranian rose oil made from organic roses grown in the Lalehzar Mountains. The mixture has a very high concentration of pure rose oil to jojoba so you use just a tiny drop and it smells incredible. Alice: Korean body scrubs – go in like a lizard, leave like a seal.

Last purchase: Jennifer: A vintage Lucite bench for my bedroom. I realized too late that you can’t really sit on it but I still love it. Alice: An antique 18K gold Egyptian Revival mummy locket with a tiny female figure inside. People went crazy for this stuff in the 1920s after the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered. It’s my newest lucky talisman.

Lusting after: Jennifer: A mid-century, woven Danish easy chair by Hans Wegner. Alice: A cabin in the Catskills and a car to get me there.

What’s always in your bag: Jennifer: Several lip balms and lipsticks, the business card my fiancé gave me on the night we met, and for some reason I still carry around a checkbook. Alice: My glass iced coffee cup for the 4 or so I drink a day, a chignon pin, and peppermint oil.

Prized possession: Jennifer: The closest thing to a possession that I would say that I truly prize (and cherish and love to bits) is my pitbull, Louie. Alice: My grandfather had matching pairs of ruby cufflinks made for me and my brother when we were babies. My pair is supposed to go to a husband, but I secretly wear them myself whenever I get an opportunity to wear French cuffs (unsurprisingly, that is a rare occasion).

Favorite brands: Jennifer: Patagonia for what they stand for and how they conduct their business and Céline for the beautiful, clean aesthetic. The mash-up of these two is my inspiration for Kindred Black. Alice: We’re going to be carrying an assortment from A Détacher’s incredible Fall 2016 collection – very excited for that, Saskia Diez for jewelry (and super sexy look books), and Acne for its branding – no one uses pink like they do.

Summer wardrobe must-haves: Jennifer: Cut off levis, a bathing suit that waves can’t knock off, and a good lip balm. Alice: Castañer espadrilles, a black midi-dress, a gold collar that I throw on with everything, and some simple chains.

Photos: Meet Your New Vintage Denim Gurus

Kindred Black founders Jennifer Francis and Alice Wells.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.

Kindred Black vintage denim. Photo by Kava Gorna.