Dragonfly by J. Claire Custom Painted Jeans in Barcelona Tile Review - Front View

If it’s not already obvious, fashion and artwork go hand in hand. After all, fashion IS a form of art (just check out any high couture fashion show or observe the numerous amounts of fashion blogs infused with home decor out there). Chances are, anyone who cares how they look when they step out the door give just about the same attention to decorating the walls of their home or admiring art exhibits. Besides the very-popular printed jeans out on the market, what if we could combine denim with artwork? J Brand just proved the incredible potential with their recent collaboration with artist Rob Pruitt, but this isn’t the only great example out there. I recently discovered Dragonfly by J. Claire, which already has a hot hold on the market with some celebrity attention. These are custom hand-painted jeans—done with your choice of both denim wash and design colors. If you please, you can even send in your own jeans to be given a makeover! I recently wrote about Dragonfly by J. Claire on my own blog, and long story short, now I have a few pairs to share with all of you! Two are from her shop, and one was done on a pair of Mia & Moss jeans I reviewed recently (review here)! So here is something truly special to present to all denim fans out there…a Dragonfly by J. Claire Custom Painted Jeans in Barcelona Tile review!

As mentioned in my last reviews for the brand, Dragonfly by J. Claire was founded by artist-turned-entreprenuer Joan Claire Smith, who always desired to be a positive inspiration. She became a certified decorative painter in 2000, and used to paint textured art on the sides of restaurants and other businesses. Several people ended up asking her where she got her resulting paint-soiled jeans, so they could get a pair for themselves! So, in 2012, Smith transferred her artwork from walls to jeans by launching Dragonfly by J Claire, after her daughter sent a letter to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, leading to a phone call back from one of the show’s producers. Her intricately hand-painted works have already gotten a ton of Hollywood attention. Selena Gomez bought two pairs, and Smith had to turn down a request to create a few pairs for grab bags given to celebrities at high-profile red carpet events, due to lack of capital. Joan Claire sources her jeans from a California company, and uses stencils or goes freehand using a soft fabric paint and a dry brush technique, layering and blending to give a “fade-in fade-out” appeal. Because of this, and her desire to stay in the designer denim market with high-end fabrics, all jeans range between $200 and $300, but Smith is working towards creating a lower price point, as well as a brick-and-mortar storefront which would offer customizations for customers’ existing items. She also wants to expand her denim line to fit a variety of body shapes. Joan Claire is inspired by her late father, who was also an artist and taught her early on about giving back to those in need. She keeps this mentality through her work with the company slogan of “Create, Inspire, Give Back.” Dragonfly by J Claire also offers t-shirts to help support creative arts programs in schools with the profits, and donates 5% of net profits to a wide variety of additional causes, such as anti-bullying campaigns, children’s cancer research, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation and various human rights campaigns! She also asks customers to suggest other causes as part of her “Urban Buzz” campaign to continuously help make the world a better place.

Dragonfly by J. Claire Custom Painted Jeans in Barcelona Tile Review - Side View 2

So this review is my second of the two custom painted jeans that came directly from her shop! For each design from her swatch shop, Joan Claire offers two washes of straight leg jeans as your canvas: white or indigo, which is a dark rinse wash. One of the jeans she sent back to me was painted on an white pair! The wash itself is the Barcelona Tile, in the Turquoise & Mediterranean blue. I basically mentioned I’d like a pair in that design, and to surprise me with the second one she wanted to send, which is represented in my review of the indigo pair. For any custom order, you can choose the size and inseam. Since I had offered to test out some different styles for Joan, this one was sent in a 28 (I’m usually a 26). It’s definitely relaxed but has a great contour! The waistband could be tighter for me, but fits well and these jeans look awesome with a styled belt. It almost makes the design pop more! As mentioned before, I have a curvier athletic shape so sometimes the waistband is tricky for me, especially with higher cotton blends that aren’t super stretchy, and these are 92% cotton, 7% polyester and 1% spandex. So if you purchase a custom pair from Dragonfly by J. Claire, I’d say go with your size for a tight fit, or size up if you like a fitted but more relaxed fit! They are stetchy, but not too much. These are a 33″ inseam (you can choose between 29″ and 33″) which is perfect for me in straights and bootcuts, so they are just in between for wear with either heels or flats. Joan states that these are safe to wash, and washing almost breaks the design in for an even more custom look! I had an unfortunate incident with these pretty white jeans and they ended up in the wash, but they still came out looking great. The design was beautiful before, but now it almost looks naturally ingrained in the jeans, with kind of a rustic or antique fading! So there’s a great demonstration for you…they definitely hold up! Just like the alternate wash choice of indigo, I’d say these are great to wear during the day to work, around the town, or wherever…but they also look spiffy enough to show off on a nightlife run. Find a pretty flowy bohemian or Spanish looking top and I’d say you’ve got the perfect combination (although I’d say these would go with almost anything that doesn’t have too much of a differing pattern).

Grab a white or indigo pair painted in the Barcelona Tile pattern here or visit Dragonfly by J. Claire here to browse her wide range of custom options!

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Lana Ober
I’ve been quite the denim fanatic for several years now, and am happy to apply this passion to something that I can share with others. I am also a graphic designer/web developer and have done design work for two of the biggest designer boutiques in town, which is partly to blame for the 100 plus pairs of jeans I now own in my collection! It always fascinates me how much can be done with the denim fabric alone, and the constant innovations will always keep me hooked.