A Vancouver-based studio is making incredibly progressive denim garments, and we’re “pair”-fectly pleased to share its story with you. Committed to creating inclusive shapes and sizes, Decade developed the Ratio-Fit formula to fit every curve and eliminate the waist gap on every body—zero guesswork required. Plus, all the jeans, any style are priced at $243. We chatted with designer and co-founder Molly Spittal about her brand mission and philosophy, and why perfectly fitting jeans could be the gift of the season! —Noa Nichol
Hi Molly! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I am a 34-year-old female-identifying designer living in Vancouver. Me and my partner (in business and life) just moved back to beautiful B.C. after seven years in Montreal, which was an incredible experience. In 2010 I founded my first company—a gorgeous line of handbags called The Stowe, which was a cult hit across Canada and the U.S. We closed down in 2019 to focus on my new project, Decade Studio! An amazing collection of sustainable, shape-inclusive denim.
When and why did you launch Decade Studio? What denim niche were you wanting to fill?
Decade launched in early 2019, but I had been developing the product behind the scenes for two years before the customer-facing launch. I knew that I needed to focus on making this product really special because the denim space is highly saturated. So I began thinking about the problems the average denim lover was facing when buying jeans. I didn’t really have to go further than my own experiences because while I love jeans, I had yet to find my perfect pair because everything on the market was designed for super-straight silhouettes, adhering to the industry-standard fit model. I have a high ratio, which means my waist measurement is small compared to my hip ratio (read: I have a juicy booty and thighs) and I consistently found that there was a big gap at the back of my waistband. I know that I don’t have what would be considered an unusual body type. I’m very average but have been sized out of some brands size ranges based on my hip measurement. I started asking around if other people had been experiencing the same problem and it was an overwhelming “YES!” I started developing the patterns for my first “ratio fit” jeans, The Bonnie jeans, which are still our best-seller today. They are tucked in at the waist, while still leaving room for a juicy butt. My production manager in Portugal is very traditional (he’s been making jeans for 40 years) and the first time he called me “crazy” for doing what I was doing I knew I was on to something big.
What would you say your mission/philosophy at Decade Studio is?
My mission is to make everyone feel good in their jeans, while simultaneously making a sustainable product that will enjoy a long life-cycle in your closet. I also want to create a space where the trauma of shopping for denim is completely removed. We are what I call a “shape inclusive” brand. Across our 3 fits, we have fit an impressive range of body types, but we have not reached our potential for size-inclusivity. We are very excited to be launching our complete sizing in the spring, after lots of development and research. We will be the first brand offering 100% cotton jeans up to size 4X. We are also a small independent brand that has extremely high standards concerning social and environmental responsibility. Our production team and everyone along the supply chain are paid a living wage, we recycle every scrap from the cutting room floor and recycle our wastewater. Our web orders are shipped using post-consumer, recyclable and compostable materials and we redistribute 5 per cent of online sales to non-profits and organizations that support marginalized communities around the world. These standards are inherent to us and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
What makes Decade’s denim pieces different? And please tell us about the Ratio-Fit formula!
The difference is all in our pattern making and the denim itself. I exclusively use 100 per cent cotton denim because it is totally repairable and recyclable (stretch denim is neither of those things) When you buy denim with stretch you are essentially buying a disposable product. The elastane starts to break down immediately and never recovers. That’s why it’s so common to feel like jeans are sagging or bagging out. The elastane has snapped, leaving behind a saggy cotton yarn, and the result is the dreaded “diaper butt”. That said, I know exactly why elastane was introduced into denim in the first place. Big brands want to sell comfort. When you try something on the feels comfortable you’re more likely to buy it. But we’re going back to the way denim USED to be, where initially it’s initially uncomfortable (the jeans will be VERY tight for the first week or so) and they mould to your body perfectly, becoming a beautiful reflection of your own body and daily routine. I get testimonials in my inbox from customers who didn’t believe they could ever wear non-stretch denim and these are their all-time favourite jeans. The reason our jeans work so well for so many different people is my pattern system, which we call “Ratio-Fit” I use data gathered from our online community to develop our fits rather than the industry standard fit-model which is, well, a model! It’s obvious to me that this model doesn’t work for every body type. There is a huge demographic that has been “settling” for jeans that just don’t fit. When a super-curvy customer is in my fitting room and tries on the Pamela (our super-contoured fit) for the first time it’s like literal magic. Your ratio is the difference between your waist measurement and your hip measurement and this measurement is what determines your best shape out of our three offerings. I can say from experience that it’s totally incredible to wear jeans that actually fit your body type. When I stand up my jeans come with me, rather than having to yank them up every time.
Coming up to the holidays, what makes Decade denim a perfect gift fit?!
We know how hard it is to buy clothing for someone. ESPECIALLY jeans! It’s a really personal experience, so I started thinking about how we could offer this experience as a gift to a loved one. We offer gift cards (as most brands do) but ours are unique. Every gift card purchase comes with a personalized fit experience with me so we know that your loved one is getting an amazing customized experience. You can choose an in-person fitting or if you’re not local to Vancouver I also happily conduct fittings virtually! I am confident that this gift is an absolute home run; the perfect jeans along with a unique and personalized experience! What more could you ask for?!
How do you suggest we style our Decade denim for the festive season?
Anything that sparkles! Jeans are SUCH a great neutral support system for something REALLY extravagant on the top! I also absolutely adore blue jeans with a strappy heel. I know that for holiday 2020 it’s likely that we won’t be attending any parties but it’s always fun to dress up at home!
Win! A $243 Pair Of Perfectly Fitting Denim Jeans For You Or A Friend!
We have a winner! Congratulations Hannah A. of Vancouver, BC, who will receive a $243 gift card to purchase or gift a pair of Decade jeans! Every Decade gift card comes with a virtual or in-person fit session with co-founder and designer, Molly Spittal.