Screaming Mimi’s, the vintage boutique on Lafayette Street in Manhattan’s East Village, is known by stylists and connoisseurs as the go-to place for vintage tops, dresses and coats. But Laura Wills, the boutique’s owner, saw an increasing number of women bypassing the racks full of old-stock denim.
“Our customers, especially the younger girls, don’t like the fit of vintage denim,” said Wills. “It’s too baggy and the fit is just not flattering, especially considering how girls want to wear their jeans now.”
So Wills, at the urging of her patrons, contacted Lee Jeans and told them she wanted to carry a denim collection that meshed with the vintage vibe of the store. On March 1, Screaming Mimi’s will start carrying the limited-edition Maddox jeans, specially developed for Screaming Mimi’s from Lee’s X line, the brand’s premium denim collection.
The jeans are a slim-fit, straight-leg style with a slightly deconstructed medium-blue wash that casts a bluish-gray tint. Wills wanted to incorporate the iconic Buddy Lee image into the design, so each pair features a miniature Buddy Lee figurine dangling from the pocket chain. Only 150 pairs of the jeans will be produced. They will retail for $175 at Screaming Mimi’s boutiques in New York and Tokyo. A men’s style, called the Knox, will also be available on March 1.
“Laura has a keen sense of what’s going on in the fashion community,” said Liz Cahill, director of advertising and public relations for Lee. “She recognized that in the fashion world, legs are tighter and the rise is not as low as it used to be. Finish-wise, we were able to direct her to what we saw going on in Europe and Asia.”
“I’ve always loved Lee and the history of the company,” Wills said. “These jeans are perfect – they’re a good fit, but have historical reference.”
Many vintage boutiques are stocking denim these days because of its popularity.
“I absolutely needed denim in the store,” Wills added. “It’s such a classic and Lee does it really well. If you look at the back pocket of these jeans, it looks vintage, like a cigarette pack was kept in the back pocket. You can see the faint outline from it. I love details like that, and jeans are timeless.”