PENELOPE PIPER DENIM's Stacia Harris On Designing Denim



From design to style, Stacia Harris contends that denim presents a number of opportunities - all of which have enabled her to build her contemporary brand PENELOPE PIPER DENIM.

With a nod to the west coast's penchant for casual sophistication, the LA-based designer is making her mark as the premiere ready-to-wear denim brand in the market. Known for marrying both fashion and function Stacia keeps tailoring, fit and accessible luxury top of mind when designing. What's even more inspiring is that her mom serves as the driving motivation, or in this case muse, behind the brand's ethos, "She’s the free, audacious and forward thinking spirit that I prefer my brand to be known for."

Needless to say, we love a good pair of denim here at Brand Assembly and were excited to meet with the emerging designer at her LA studio to see what's in store for the upcoming year. In this interview Stacia shares what she loves most about working with denim and what she's assembling daily for 2017. Enjoy the interview below and also visit The Style Line for a second part of our chat.

Please introduce yourself!

I'm Stacia Harris and I’m the Founder and CEO of PENELOPE PIPER DENIM. Born in a small town outside of Houston, TX now a resident of Los Angeles for ten years. Trips to Napa, CA with long dining of 2 hours or more is where you can find me in my downtime. When I’m not traveling I’m home. I enjoy cooking and oddly enough, cleaning- it relaxes me. I’m a runner because I’m a thinker and it helps organize my thoughts as well as spin, pilates and ballet. Intimate conversations with loved ones, friends and newcomers is where I find free thinking inspiration at its peak. I listen more than I talk, but my facial expressions speak louder. I value the chance to be myself and having every day to become better at doing it.       

Walk us through PENELOPE PIPER’s brand story. We love its “free, audacious and forward thinking spirit". Were there any experiences that led to creating a brand with these values?

Although the name PENELOPE PIPER came from two childhood dolls I could never be without, the brand itself is by my mother, who also happens to be my muse. She’s the free, audacious and forward thinking spirit that I prefer my brand to be known for. She’s a tear-sheet from the old '80s sitcom Knots Landing. Glamorous, chic, and a bit dramatic… something I’m still working on refining myself. 

Talk to us about LA’s contemporary market. How would you describe the community of contemporary and emerging designers here and what do you hope PENELOPE PIPER provides the west coast shopper?

Well, it's jeans and t-shirts of course, that’s what this city is built on! Our community of emerging designers is a very relaxed and fun group of designers. We all support each other and give each other advice when needed.  

From a design stand-point tell us more about the process of working with and designing denim. What are some unique challenges you’ve learned to overcome and what are your favorite elements of building a denim-centric brand?

Denim is a very unique and interesting fabric to work with. The possibilities are endless and it can be delivered in a multitude of ways. One denim fabric can be rinsed in more ways than you can image which can make the ending process a little difficult- you might not get the same wash twice the first couple of tries. My top favorite elements of building a denim-centric brand would first be the tailored fit of my denim and how well it’s cut. The attention given to not only the outside but the inside finishings and that it is manufactured here in the United States.    

How did you first connect with Brand Assembly and what has been the most rewarding aspect of being part of the designer community? 

When looking for the perfect market there is no competition. Brand Assembly was my sought after market of choice and after my first show with them I knew it was a great fit. I’ve received the best press since joining the community, recognition of an emerging designer and a better chance to build my online store.       

What do you assemble daily?

Keeping things simple. The ordinary makes the extraordinary every day.