There’s little I love more than the meeting of great jeans, so when, last fall, I heard that NSF and Bliss and Mischief would be collaborating on a collection for spring, I marked my calendar and emailed Jamie Haller and Hillary Justin, the designers behind the two lines: “You guys will keep me posted on your collab, right?,” I wrote, “I can’t wait!”
Now, the wait is over. NSF x BAM’s first women’s collection landed in stores and online last week (their men’s offering, all of which is at Barneys exclusively, arrived a season earlier; shop it below, too!). The gist: BAM’s American Southwest-inspired chain-stitch embroideries, which Hillary typically applies to vintage denims and army surplus jackets, on the gorgeously washed jeans and shirts that Jamie makes at NSF. “We really wanted it to be special and over the top,” Jamie said. “We didn’t water anything down.”
Ask the designers how it was working together and it’s obvious they’re smitten and on exactly the same page (see their answer to question No. 3). “Hillary and I share the same big loves in life – vintage Levi’s, vintage military, and vintage tees,” Jamie said. Now neighbors, they work where they live, and vise versa. “Usually, I go over to Hillary’s beautiful hillside abode and design studio…We select our favorites, dig through the samples I bring over, drink a little champagne, and design things together. It just flows,” Jamie explained. In fact, NSF x BAM is going to continue to flow into next fall, too (stay tuned!). But first, some fun facts about spring…
Why do you think your two lines make so much sense together?
Hillary: We both care about how the integrity of vintage gets communicated in modern ways. I was a huge fan of NSF because of its aesthetic, but also because I knew about all of the hand-done work and craft that Jamie puts into the washes. That and the fact that its made in L.A. really aligned with the things I love and care about at BAM.
Jamie: NSF is really the perfect canvas for the Bliss and Mischief embroideries. We do these iconic shapes – vintage-inspired boyfriend jeans, military jackets, perfectly worn in t-shirts and lovingly faded chambray shirts. I also sensed that Hillary was early on a trend that would resonate with the NSF denim customer. It just seemed more authentic to address this inspiration and trend by going to the person who is doing it the best, and do it together.
If you had to pack up one piece of NSF x BAM and take it with you anywhere in the world tomorrow, what would you pack, and where would you go?
Hillary: Japan. So I know I would bring the East At Dawn hooded parka. It’s a perfect, lightweight jacket for layering, and the asymmetrical cut and vintage Chimayo-inspired embroidery would probably win me some major style points!
Jamie: I would pack the Song of the West chambray shirt and go to Bali, and I would wear it everyday with a long, tied batik sarong, bikini and sandals. I really want/need a faraway beach vacation. (Insert prayer and sun emoticons here!!!)
You’re making a video of all your friends dancing in NSF x BAM – what song is playing?
Jamie: Well, it’s funny, Hillary and I both love country music. Maybe it would have to be a Johnny Cash song.
Hillary: I love that Jamie said Johnny Cash because my first thought was Lucinda Williams! Definitely a country song.
NSF – what you love most about BAM?
Jamie: Hillary, and roses, and the huge cactus in her backyard.
BAM – what do you love most about NSF?
Hillary: The effortlessness, the tomboy edge, how cool Jamie and Nick are, and of course the denim. NSF is the only denim I wear that’s not vintage.
Fill in the blank: NSF is to BAM what ___________ is to ___________.
Hillary: A cactus is to its bloom. Cacti evoke such an iconic American visual. Then sometimes they bloom and you had no idea something so awesome on its own could get even better!
And BAM is to NSF what ____________is to ____________.
Jamie: Honey is to peanut butter. Peanut butter is already good. It’s iconic and classic and a big love for people, an everyday sort of thing. Honey makes peanut butter even better, next level, It’s the perfect love-match gooey mixture.
DENIMHEADS, AT HEART Bliss and Mischief’s Hillary Justin and NSF’s Jamie Haller (right), in pieces from their collaboration. On Hillary: Bliss and Mischief Face of the Desert shirt (about $750) and Face of the Desert jeans (about $900); go to matchesfashion.com. On Jamie: NSF x BAM Song of the West Denim shirt ($495); go to barneys.com.
Related: How Jane Bishop Found Her Bliss and Mischief and NSF, Rebel Denim.