Perry White has returned to the fabric that helped him start his career in fashion with the launch of his first full denim collection.
Noah Tyler Denim, named after White’s 13-year-old son, Noah, and 17-year-old daughter, Tyler, bowed last fall as a response to the extreme styles and embellishments he saw permeating the denim market.
“Everything seemed to be so contrived and so overprocessed or over the top,” said White, an apparel veteran who has served design stints with brands such as Guess, Bebe and Arden B. “I felt there was a need for something much cleaner and a little easier to wear. I wanted to bring sensibility to denim.”
White’s connection to fashion and denim stretches back to his childhood.
“The reason I’m in this business is because that’s the way our mom supported our family,” said White. “I grew up watching her construct wedding dresses, prom dresses and bridesmaids dresses.”
By the time he reached his teenage years, White was experimenting with his own creations using denim he purchased by the bale in Los Angeles.
“I’d make patched denim bags, purses, skirts and, at 14, I’d go to swap meets and sell it,” said White. “I’m 45 now, but at 14 I didn’t know what a fashion designer was.”
For Noah Tyler, White is focused on producing clean looks and designs for a fashion-savvy consumer who isn’t looking to buy the style of the moment.
“She’s ultimately looking for things that she can put in her wardrobe and they will endure,” said White of his target customer.
Styles draw on his background in the suiting business. The collection’s fits include boot-cut, trouser-fit, wide-leg and cropped trousers, knee-length shorts and short shorts. White is also one of the few denim players that has committed to sourcing and manufacturing domestically, a strategy most in the industry shun as being too costly. The line uses fabric from Cone Denim and is manufactured in Los Angeles.
“It was important to me because it became such a fad to say I’m using Turkish or Japanese fabric, when we have beautiful denim that is available to us that is American-made,” said White, who added that he felt the shift toward sourcing and manufacturing overseas simply took money out of the U.S. and put it elsewhere.
The line sells for $144 to $160 at retail and is available in about 30 boutiques. White believes that number could triple next season and has already garnered interest from Nordstrom.