designer interview
Stefan Miljanic, principal designer and creative director of Gilded Age

I am not a guy. But I love anything guys. Boyfriend jeans, men’s jeans, men’s streetwear…. and, um… boyfriends (the actual guys), too, of course ;-). it’s just the way I am.

And when I first came to know about the men’s denim brand, Gilded Age in one of the tradeshows, I instantly fell in love not only with the denims, but also with the way the jeans were presented.

Their lookbooks are transpiring an air of vintage. The images have a very suave, sepia feel of like how I love to think of NYC many decades ago. Actually, there’s a quite a vintage vibe on their website – check it out here. And right, the name, “Gilded Age”, says it all!

We wanted to know more about the guy behind the brand, Stefan Miljanic, and about his trend predictions – read on below our Q/A

“After graduating from fashion school in London with a B.A. in women’s fashion design, Stefan worked in the top design position at brands including Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, and Tommy Hilfiger. Before launching his own brand, Stefan was also vice president of the men’s design department at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Deeply committed to a handcrafted and sustainable approach to fabrics and manufacturing, Stefan has realized his creative vision and applied his design aesthetic to his own brand, Gilded Age, which he launched in 2006, inspired by the industrial revolution era and old New York.

Gilded Age utilizes unique materials, natural dyes, and natural and artisan fabrics and leather goods reminiscent of an era that predates mass production. The brand combines casual luxe denim-inspired sportswear and accessories that represent metropolitan sensibility and East Coast lifestyle.

“Our customer has high expectations for quality, authenticity and a unique sense of style”, says Stefan. “Gilded Age’s unique design aesthetic is reflected in each of our products. They are instantly recognizable for their detailed, and carefully executed look which evokes a powerful association with style, luxury, and casual lifestyle today”.

Gilded Age is a recipient of many awards, and Stefan has collaborated with a handful of high end designers in the past 13 years. Stefan is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He lives and works in Soho, New York.

Q: What are your trend predictions for this coming fall?
A: Talk about the trends in today’s multi sensory world is like talking about weather. There are some gathering storms of change, and it seems the momentum on relaxing of the silhouette in menswear is gaining speed. Whether this accelerates and shows up in the wider trend for Fall 2019 – it’s hard to say right now. We have started experimenting with different proportions such as fuller wider leg and cropped leg denim combined with somewhat shorter tops a season ago, and have presented a wide range of such options for Fall 2019.

{You can check out the Gilded Age F/W ’19 lookbook here}

Q: In terms of denim, do you have any new materials in mind?
A: We are always on the lookout for new fabrics for every season. This is often our own individual quest, and all about what we would like to see, rather than what market and mills currently present. Currently we are working on creating new pigment coated black and blue selvage denims that we”re planning to unveil and showcase in July/ August of this year.

Q: What will be the next big men’s style?
A: Men’s fashion is pretty fragmented these days, and that is due to many different reasons. The “next big thing” in style is often associated with shifts in the cultural mood, arts, emergence of new music movement/ style/ artists, political moment in the society, etc… To me, the current state of the affairs in men’s fashion and styles could be described as being “between the waves”.

Q: Do you believe and agree that generally men are leaning more towards stretch jeans nowadays?
A: Slimmer men’s silhouette that has been prevalent for the 10-15 years epitomized by skinny and slim jean, could have only have happened with the use of stretch fibers in denim. If a man has a need to wear slimmer and skinny jean, stretch denim is important and will always be important for these type of looks. If the trend of relaxing the silhouette continues then there will be a bigger need for heavier weight 100% cotton denims that can keep the shape. In general most men don’t even give much thought to that, I think.

Q: Will printed or embellished jeans make a comeback?
A: We consider our denim and work on our brand’s jean as an art project. I do some oil paint on denim, we experiment with washes, color casts, shapes. For us, denim is an art form, and we see our brand as a little art atelier that produces some of the worlds best cut and sewn and worked jeans. I am not really concerned with the mass trends, I am much more vested in the art form, and what we can do with the denim that could fill in the realm of applied arts.

Q: What are your predictions for the men’s denim?
A: I predict the classic denim styles will be the winner. 🙂 As they always were, from the early days of Industrial Revolution until today.

Q: What is your personal favorite denim style and why?
A: Natural Indigo denim, button fly, 13oz to 14oz in weight, stubby yarns, selvage of course. Natural and sustainable for sure! You don’t need to buy a pair every month. Spend $500 for a great pair of jeans and you can wear them for years… live and grow with them. Or you can spend $120 and buy new jeans every few months. Which way is more sustainable?

Q: Which person living or dead would you most like to see in a pair of your jeans?

A: I don’t harbor such thoughts at all. If I gave it a thought, I think I’d say Vincent Van Gogh would have looked great in the pair of Gilded Age, or Pablo Picasso …. or Andy Warhol. Actually I would have liked Andy Warhol and Calvin Klein to have a pair or two of Gilded Age jeans. Another one would have been Frank Lloyd Wright in his younger days.

{But when we asked Stefan in a kind of jokingly way: ” No Johnny Depp or Alec Baldwin in your Jeans? ” He answered: “As for Johnny Depp or Alec… hahah … All welcome to buy Gilded Age.:) There are many many people alive who I would like to see in Gilded Age jeans.”}

Q: Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
A: I was in Washington DC the other day and was looking at the Navy building right next to the White House. That building took some 20 years to be built. It takes time to build monumental things. To build something that can have lasting appeal and value one needs good amount of time and patience, steady hand, the funds, and a dose of good luck… In 5 years time I see us finishing another great wing of this building called Gilded Age. Building and creating is the name of the game for us.

Q: What special “denim advice” you would like to give to our readers?
A: Aim high. never go low end!

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