American Gems: Imogene & Willie

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photos courtesy of imogene & willie

A good pair of denim jeans is not only an essential found in every American’s wardrobe, it’s a requirement. Denim’s ubiquitous influence reverberates across all genders and styles from 90s era mom jeans to today's skinnies. It’s true that with the right fit, a woman can bring a man to his knees.

While most think of Levi's, Nashville-grown brand Imogene & Willie's cult following is helping the company carve its own niche for a long-term run. Started in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Matthew and Carrie Eddmenson, the Imogene & Willie story reads like the lyrics of a Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash love song with denim at the center of it all:

"we wanted to make something that would last.
we wanted to make things in the usa.
we wanted to create a space to share.
we wanted to build community."

Stepping inside Imogene & Willie is a beautiful reminder of just why denim is the fabric of America. In a restored 1930s gas station, distressed wood and vintage rugs make way for Imogene & Willie's rustic denim, tees, and wares. It's relaxed, tough, and rooted in tradition. And at the same time, it’s rebellious and richly layered. 

When asked his definition of paradise, Johnny Cash famously said, "this morning, with her, having coffee." If a young Johnny and June were around today, what would that morning coffee together look like?

We’d like to think that June is already up when Johnny finds her in the kitchen. Johnny stops for a moment and leans against the doorway as if his body wasn’t fully ready to climb out bed just yet.  Not noticing Johnny in the doorway, June sips cautiously from the coffee cup clasped between her hands and gazes out the kitchen window at something in the distance.  Barefoot, June is wearing her favorite pair of Imogene & Willie jeans (most likely the 'Lottie Kennedy') and an oversized vintage tee (maybe it’s from Johnny’s first tour or maybe it’s just one she had lying around). Her face is bare, and her hair is a little messy from a good night’s sleep.  There's no frills. There's no fuss. It's in that moment, Johnny is smitten all over again.

...That’s how we see it, anyways.

Like the best country love songs will tell you, certain things get better with age. A love like Johnny and June and a pair of denim blue jeans, we believe in having both.

 

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What: Imogene & Willie
Why: Vintage Americana with modern approach
Essentials: Lottie Kennedy, vintage print bandana, graphic print tee
Locations: Nashville, Los Angeles, Portland
Don't miss: Song + Supper, a series of backyard gatherings featuring local musicians and food trucks