By  on July 30, 2009

Hussein Chalayan is the first to admit he’s a “designer’s designer.” Just don’t call him avant-garde. “I hate that term,” says the London-based Chalayan, over a macchiato at Manhattan’s Soho Grand Hotel. “It’s a real hindrance because I don’t think it expresses what we’re about. It makes it sound like we can’t appeal to people or something, and it’s absolutely rubbish.”

The reason for Chalayan’s midsummer trip to New York is a case in point: His collaboration with American denim label J Brand on three styles of jeans, launched exclusively at Barneys New York. If the idea of a designer known for his experimental runway shows, replete with mechanical dresses and LED effects, designing jeans — for a fairly accessible line at that — registers to some as selling out, to others, it’s the ultimate example of fashion’s current fixation: Getting down to business.

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