How We Dye Our Light Storm Denim (There’s a Method to the Madness)


As a nod to longer, brighter days, our denim designers dreamed up and brought to life a sun-bleached hue of supersoft denim. Take note: This is not the acid wash of decades past—we call this shade “light storm,” and it’s not created with the throw-in-the-washer-with-a-heavy-coating-of-Clorox method you may be imagining. We spoke with our head denim guru, Aubrey, and while a magician never reveals her secrets, we did discover that there’s an art to getting it right, which requires time, patience and some hands-on TLC.

The lightweight denim starts fresh in a deep shade of indigo. Designers then hand-sew little folds into it. This prevents some of the fabric from coming in contact with a very special formula we created (it’s perfectly blended to not oversaturate the denim). Next, we wash the material over and over, so the original blue is gently extracted from the fibers. This results in a one-of-a-kind piece that’s so beautiful you might want to frame it (though we suggest wearing it 24/7 instead).


Erin Wasson, on location in Malta, wears our Western Jean Shirt in Light Storm and our Skinny Skinny Crop Jeans in Light Storm.

Weekly Roundup: What To Read This Weekend


We can’t wait to enjoy our first full weekend of extra daylight—and while we don’t technically need that hour to read on our many screens, it sure will be nice. Here’s what we’ll be enjoying when we’re not out soaking up the sun.

Art: Doug Wheeler’s space installations use beams of light to make walls disappear and it’s pretty mind-bending, via Collab Cubed.

Film: Ever notice that Wes Anderson’s characters only move in a straight line across the screen? We didn’t either. The more you know, via Vulture.

Curiosities: Hilarious lost and found flyers for things no one is looking for are also adorably earnest, via The Bold Italic.

Sleep: For every person who whines about their mattress, there is someone else out there getting a really great night of sleep, at least according to these love letters to the most popular mattresses on the market, via Apartment Therapy.

Food: “It’s been some years since I mastered the art of dressing strawberries in tuxedos.” One writer recounts her adventures in fancy food  via The Paris Review

Literature: If your eyes are tired, we have just the thing: 550 audio books. Free, via Open Culture.

Word: mondegreen (n., English): a word or phrase that results from a mishearing of something said. The word, itself a mondegreen, comes from a 1954 magazine article by Sylvia Wright in which she misheard the folk lyric, “…and laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen.”

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Our Spring Campaign Shoot in Malta, By The Numbers

Malta’s well known for its beautiful blue ocean views; its meandering, moped-filled streets walled by sandstone buildings; its relaxed, vacation vibes and its equally relaxed hospitality. Malta’s not so well known, though, for photo shoots featuring Texan tomboys—which is exactly why we headed there to capture the natural beauty of both the over-7,000-year-old island nation and the star of our spring campaign, Erin Wasson.

Here, a few things we learned about Malta—and a few of our favorite snaps from the trip.


19 hours: the time Erin Wasson spent on a plane from Los Angeles to Malta


2,612 vehicles per square mile: the number of cars, segways and scooters packed onto this tiny island (which is way higher than the world average)


63 degrees: the temperature in Malta the day we shot Erin


3 beaches: the number of sandy spots we visited during our shoot. Mellieha is the largest; Golden Bay is shallow and great for snorkeling; the Blue Lagoon has the clearest waters. To ensure shores are quiet and calm, all big boats moor in the Grand Harbour (pictured above).


7,000 years: the duration of the Maltese civilization (give or take a few hundred years). Strolling through the city streets—which is to say, dodging speeding scooters—feels like stepping into another era.


122 miles: the square mileage of this tiny country (one of the smallest in the world)


1,096 café and restaurant reviews: the number we read prior to our trip, to gather intel on where to grab a bite in Malta

Endless: the combinations of outfits we put together for the shoot. Take a peek at and shop the catalog here.

Fêting Our Spring Catalog (Check Your Mailbox)

We like to think of our catalog as a harbinger of spring (a harbinger of all good things really: warm days, sunshine, new clothes)—and it arrives today, along with our latest batch of new arrivals. To celebrate its launch, our head of design, Somsack Sikhounmuong, cohosted a little dinner for friends with campaign star Erin Wasson—whom, as you may have heard, we took to Malta for our shoot. Over chocolate budino, we rhapsodized about our shared love of warmer days and even sat for portraits by digital sketch artist Janelle Sing.


Erin Wasson in our Linen Paris Stencil Muscle Tee with Somsack, our head of design. 


From top down: Flipping through our spring catalog; Somsack gets sketched; the warm environs of Margaux at The Marlton.

Sketches by Janelle Sing using Paper for iPad.

Shop our spring collection here, and follow us on Instagram for more moments like this.

Either/Or With Erin Wasson


Before we took LA resident, jewelry designer, TV personality and Texan Tomboy Erin Wasson to Malta for our spring catalog shoot, we knew she would look great in our jeans, tees, swimsuits and accessories—that was a given. We suspected she would be pretty down to earth and easy to hang with (also true). But there were a few things we didn’t know: the fun stuff. For example, we learned she’s a fan of an old-fashioned phone call, she goes for a high five before a handshake and she prefers to travel by car rather than by airplane. How we discovered all this? Through our new handy questionnaire—we call it Either/Or. Erin took a break from shooting to answer our questions. See what else she’s into below.


See how Erin wears our sexy-tomboy spring collection here.

Spring 2014: Sexy Tomboy Erin Wasson


Our spring catalog arrives this week and if you haven’t ID’d that signature sun-kissed hair yet, now you know: Sexy tomboy Erin Wasson takes center stage—and the beautiful beaches and streets of Malta make the perfect backdrop. Can’t wait for the mailman? Our favorite snaps from the shoot are on Pinterest right now—forty-eight hours before they arrive in your home—so take a virtual spin. Not on our mailing list? Get on it here and stop by your local Madewell store to pick up a copy this week.

Sneak Peek: Our Spring Catalog (Hitting Your Mailbox Tuesday)


Bike rides, bare legs, warm breezes—there’s a lot to look forward to this spring, and it’s right around the corner (promise). But numero uno on our looking-forward list? The launch of our spring catalog. We can’t show you everything just yet, but we can tell you this: We took our favorite tattooed Texan (who has the sexy-tomboy thing on lock) to one of our favorite places (a seaside country with blue waters, rustic sandstone buildings and steering wheels on the opposite side). The photos we snapped were so striking, we just had to share a few. There’s plenty more on the way, so check back Sunday, March 9th, when we share the catalog on Pinterest.


P.S. You’ll find more images on Instagram and behind-the-scenes moments on Twitter.