What a difference some 15 years and an endorsement with Buffalo David Bitton can make. At Buffalo Jeans’ booth at the Project trade show in Las Vegas on Monday, UFC star Ronda Rousey reminisced on how much her denim collection has significantly expanded since she was in the sixth grade.
“I remember the first pair of jeans I was really excited about getting was in middle school,” said the 29-year-old mixed martial arts athlete said. “I got to go get the Gap Kids super-flare jeans. I had two pairs of those jeans and I wore them on alternating days. They were super low-waisted and super flared-out, dragging on the ground and collecting all the dirt.”
As she grew older, Rousey experimented even more. “When I was 17, I was all about the super low-slung jeans,” she said. “In your early to mid-20s, you care much more about how you look to everybody else. But as I get older, I want to look good to everybody else but my first priority is how I feel myself.”
Since scoring her brand ambassadorship with Iconix Brand Group’s Buffalo Jeans in 2014, Rousey has increased her pile of jeans to possibly 30 to 40 pairs. She’s also gravitated toward high-waisted styles that pair well with crop tops. Plus, she likes to feel comfortable during a tedious task that many Angelenos do every day — commuting in a car.
“Honestly, what’s really become important to me with jeans [over] the last couple of years is I don’t want to have to unbutton them when I’m driving,” she said. Forty miles separate her home in Venice and her gym in Glendale. As any woman knows, squeezing into jeans after a workout and shower can be an athletic event in itself. “Sometimes it’s hard to stop sweating when you get out of the shower,” she said. “And I’m putting on jeans that have no movement or anything. I can’t get back in them. I end up spending 20 minutes in the bathroom to get my damn self in some skinny jeans in the hot gym and I’m just sweating more from the effort.”
It’s a good thing that Rousey gave her opinions to Buffalo for its new line called Hope, which she is promoting in a new fall ad campaign. In Las Vegas, she hugged retail buyers and posed for photos in which she let them pretend to beat her up. Even though her contract with Buffalo expires at the end of this year, she’s not giving up on fashion. She may have hit pause on her film projects to focus on training and winning her belt back from Holly Holm, who knocked her out last year in a much-hyped Ultimate Fighting Championship bout. But fashion is still important to her and her status as a role model for women.
“I would love to have the opportunity to have my full apparel line,” she said. “When I was growing up, my body was so different that I had to literally cut and pull seams and everything. Those baby doll Ts that were big when I was growing up, I had to rip out the seams in the armpit in every one. I just feel like I don’t know if my body type represents the majority of the world but there is a large number of women with bodies like mine that aren’t being specifically catered to. I would love to try to have some impact on that.”
Rousey’s already getting a chance to be a DIY designer. One fan in Las Vegas gave her a red T-shirt screen-printed with the face of rocker Jimi Hendrix.
“I’m going to cut it up and train in it,” she said.