Citizens of Humanity Frank & Eileen olive green shirt

Citizens of Humanity took a fashion tip from its retail buyers for its next collaboration.

The premium denim brand has partnered with Frank & Eileen on a spring collection of button-up shirts stitched from Italian fabric in Southern California. Expanding beyond the one or two shirts the brand offers in its seasonal collections, the array of washed, foamy colors complements the vintage-inspired jeans from Citizens’ spring lineup.

“The colors look really good together,” said Amy Williams, chief executive officer of Citizens in Huntington Park, Calif., who fessed up to owning a half dozen shirts by Los Angeles-based Frank & Eileen. “We both have this similar sensibility and style.”

Her wholesale customers also are part of the bandwagon that helped steer her toward the project. “Stylistically, the stores’ buyers come wearing Frank & Eileen shirts and Citizens of Humanity jeans,” she said.

Citizens of Humanity and Frank & Eileen cream shirt

A cream shirt from the collaboration paired with Citizens of Humanity’s jeans. 

Launching in late March, the $238 style is an interpretation of Frank & Eileen’s top-selling silhouette, the Barry, in five different washes, ranging from pale pink, cream and olive green to light and dark shades of denim. The U.S. stores slated to stock the collection, dubbed Frank & Eileen for Citizens of Humanity, include E Street Denim Co., The Dreslyn, Revolve Clothing and Laguna Supply.

In Japan, where the Citizens team was keen on a tie-up with Frank & Eileen founder Audrey McLoghlin, the shirts also will be available at Ron Herman, Hankyu’s Umeda unit, Isetan’s Shinjuku location and G6 in Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood.

While rivals in the competitive denim sector have made collaborations a regular part of their design department, Williams said Citizens stays selective with its projects. Past efforts involved foodie favorites such as Blue Bottle Coffee and Gjelina, for whom it made chambray shirts and other denim-related items for the eateries’ staffs.

Citizens of Humanity and Frank & Eileen dark denim shirt

A denim-on-denim look from Citizens of Humanity and Frank & Eileen. 

“We tend to work with certain teams and brands we like,” she said. “It happens organically. We don’t go out and look for them. It’s based on the relationship.”

For instance, McLoghlin is featured in the forthcoming issue of Citizens’ semiannual magazine called Humanity, which will be the second issue it will translate fully into Japanese. That’s serendipitous because the collaboration also is heading to Frank & Eileen’s store in Tokyo. “It’s a way to build a market over there,” she said.

Boosted by strong business in 2016 and good response for the spring designs with Frank & Eileen, Williams said Citizens founder Jerome Dahan and creative director Catherine Ryu have drawn up new looks to continue the collaboration through fall. In addition to an indigo wash and some other colors for the Barry style, they’re also considering a new silhouette for women. Plus, “the team in Japan requested a men’s shirt,” she said. “You think of new ways and interesting ways to work together. Business happens and positive things come out.”

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