Ai LIVE: Designer Kathryn Brolin Fills Denim Fashion Niche
August 13, 2021
In this edition of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez speaks with fashion model turned fashion designer, Kathryn Brolin, wife of actor Josh Brolin. She discusses her transition from working on movies to finding—and filling—a need in the fashion industry. Today, Brolin leads the company Midheaven Denim, which was originally created to ensure that long-legged woman had denim options available to them. The company has expanded to add collaborations with other designers, as well as dresses and jeans for all sizes.
Brolin began her career working behind the scenes of movies, using the skills gained from her studies in magazine journalism and photography. She moved into modeling, and quickly found that fellow models were clamoring for jeans that fit their long legs.
“I got a job offer in the wardrobe department for a movie and I started to see the need for longer inseams, especially in denim, for some of the actress working on the movie,” she says. Over the course of the next 4-5 years, she began to write a business plan. Then serendipity stepped in. While on a walk, she met a neighbor who asked about her career goals. After sharing the idea to create jeans for taller women, Brolin discovered that the neighbor had experience in the denim industry.
She then set to learning everything she could through networking and connecting with her neighbor’s contacts. Brolin learned not just how to design, but how to communicate with people in business. She worked from the mantra that “if you can feel it, you can build it.”
Brolin promised herself that she wouldn’t launch the brand until she had four solid products. Because she was focused on a line—not a collection—she had the opportunity to do one thing very well.
Because her formal education was not in fashion, Brolin admits that her path to a career was non-traditional. She encourages students to stay focused and challenge themselves. “Do the thing that you want to do. You don’t have to wait for someone to call you a photographer to be a photographer”
Brolin also emphasizes the need to collaborate, work as an intern or volunteer to gain valuable experience and take risks. “If you have a unique perspective, don’t be afraid to share it.
Be willing to take a risk. It will probably get you noticed.”
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