Jill Perilman is a longtime denim designer and well known in the fashion industry. In 2012 she founded her own denim brand Liverpool with her husband. So we thought that it's about time for a recap: We sat down with the Los Angeles–based designer and talked about the brand’s development, future plans and her worst fashion sin.
Jill, you are now over 30 years in business. After working for other brands and services you and your husband started with your own label Liverpool in 2012. Was this a long-cherished dream that you had pre-planned?
Over the years, Ron and I always enjoyed being involved in each other's careers and businesses. We didn’t ever envision working together though–it just sort of happened. After I sold my trend service Denimhead I had time to look around to figure out what I wanted to do next. I knew I wanted to start my own line–which then led me to join Ron with Liverpool. After working together now for several years, it still shocks us how naturally we collaborate and how much we are enjoying it.
You started as a womenswear brand that offers styles that are really connected to yourself. Most recently you also launched menswear. Why and what’s the core of the menswear line?
The women's line was built on the premise of offering on-trend products made using the highest quality fabrics at a great value. We are “fit fanatics” and spend a tremendous amount of time ensuring a perfect fit. Our men’s philosophy mirrors the women’s direction. I lead efforts on the women’s side and Ron handles the men’s line from fits to color to fabrics and washes.
Being on the market for five years now, how has the brand developed so far?
We’ve significantly expanded the breadth of our product line from just doing women’s jeans to offering a range of sportswear like trousers, tops, leggings, jackets and skirts alongside our denim. Launching men’s last year was another big step. We’re also just now starting to ship our first capsule collection–called LVPL–which offers more dramatic styling and trim at a slightly higher price point than our traditional line.
I think the most exciting thing in terms of brand development is how often we spontaneously run into women wearing Liverpool. It’s a huge kick to meet fans of the brand and hear their feedback.
How satisfied are you with the development of your brand?
We are extremely gratified with the response we’ve received from shoppers and retailers. Our focus on fit, quality materials and value have really resonated and we’ve had triple digit growth every year for the past three years, expanding to more than 1,500 accounts including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Stitch Fix, Von Maur, Lord & Taylor and Dillard’s. And we’re not standing still! We’re continually striving to bring the best innovation to our customers, not just with denim, but with sportswear like our tops, skirts, leggings and jackets.
What makes your jeans different from other jeans?
As I mentioned, we really are fit fanatics. So for instance, on our men’s line we offer three different inseam lengths across all waist sizes to ensure great proportion and balance. We want the knees to hit where the guys’ knees actually are, whether they’re 5’7” or 6’2”!
The other innovation that sets us apart is our focus on what we call cross-fitting. Meaning, we don’t just size our jeans off a single fit model but instead cross fit them on multiple body types. This process solves for the fact that while different women may share the same dress size, they can vary significantly in their overall shape.
The result is that our jeans don’t just flatter one particular body type; they’re designed to look good on a broader cross-section of people.
Why is working with denim still so fascinating after all these years?
Because it evolves. Because there is no end what you can do with denim. Because it’s timeless.
But I want to point out–our non-denim portion of the line is equally as strong as our denim. We create amazing trousers and knit leggings in both solid colors and yarn-dye stripes and plaids. We also offer beautiful pigment dyed stretch twill and elevated brushed stretch Tencel and Modal blends.
If not your current job, what would you do in another life?
I’m a passionate amateur painter. So having a career as a fine artist would be a dream (and I emphasize only in a dream) job for me.
Where do you prefer to buy - apart from the brand?
I shop the market both nationally and internationally. I don’t really have a preference of where I shop–I am just always on a mission to find something unique and different.
How would you describe your clothing style?
Quite spontaneously: What is the favorite item of clothing that you own?
I have a few–my big black Rick Owens sweater, my Liverpool black ponte legging that I live in and my new Stella McCartney boots.
What was your first pair of jeans?
Guess–they cost $50 back in the late ’70s–my mom thought I had lost my mind spending so much money on a pair of jeans.
What was your worst fashion sin ever?
The Go-Go’s era. I’d rather not think about it.
What piece of clothing did you last get rid of?
Because my closet skews heavily Liverpool and I constantly wear test everything we offer, I’m always giving away my older Liverpools to make room for new styles.
Which part or product is at the top of your wish list?
Boots–any and all kinds. I’m always wearing boots.
Who is your favorite designer?
They are always changing – but right now: Marques Almeida, Isabel Marant, Barbara Bui, Ann Demeulemeester, Balmain and IRO.
What don't you like about the fashion industry?
How fast time goes by. We are always living in the future, designing a year out. When the next year comes I always feel like I’ve already lived it.
Are you more like…
... Rolex or Apple Watch?
... newspaper or news app?
.... sneakers or high heels/brown shoes?
... New York or Nice?
Neither–anywhere in Italy.
… boxers or briefs?
... online shop or brick-and-mortar?
I don’t think you could call yourself a true shopper without loving both!
... country house or penthouse?
... clean or destroyed?
Right now – clean.
... raw or washed?