IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Stacia Harris of Penelope Piper Denim is on her way to becoming a leader in the denim space. The Texas-born and now Los Angeles-based fashion designer is committed to providing fresh, modern and timeless denim staples that are sure to make a statement no matter the weather. Though what caught our attention is the brand’s commitment to domestic manufacturing, which is a personal point of pride for Stacia. So to kick off the first interview of the year in our ongoing series with BRAND ASSEMBLY we visited the busy designer at her studio to learn more about her story, how she celebrates personal style and what her experience has been like in building a contemporary fashion brand in a city like Los Angeles. Discover the full conversation below and definitely visit The Assemblist for an exclusive look inside Stacia’s design space and how she styled a few of the brand’s iconic styles.
I’m Stacia Harris – and I’m the Founder and CEO of
PENELOPE PIPER DENIM. Born in a small town outside of Houston, TX now a resident of Los Angeles for ten years. Trips to Napa, CA with long dining of 2 hours or more is where you can find me in my downtime. When I’m not traveling, I’m home. I enjoy cooking and oddly enough, cleaning- it relaxes me. I’m a runner because I’m a thinker and it helps organize my thoughts as well as spin, pilates, and ballet. Intimate conversations with loved ones, friends and newcomers is where I find free thinking inspiration at its peak. I listen more than I talk, but my facial expressions speak louder. I value the chance to be myself and having every day to become better at doing it.
From your prior industry experience to new learnings as an entrepreneur and designer how has your outlook on building PENELOPE PIPER in a city like LA evolved? What is your favorite aspect of life and style in LA?
At first, I felt that my previous design experience working with other top brands wouldn’t be all that helpful in starting my own line—I believe nothing can fully prepare you for being an entrepreneur. Not true. In fact, I believe it lessens the curve balls that this industry can throw your way. The guessing games were removed from a lot of my decision making at the beginning of my design process. I knew who to work with and what vendors would fit my brand best as partnerships. Vendors knew me by name from working with them prior, or if I didn’t know someone personally I knew someone that knew them. Los Angeles is small and just like any other city, it’s all about who you know!
Who is the PENELOPE PIPER woman and how do you hope to see her evolve as the brand becomes more deeply rooted in the industry?
Who is the PENELOPE PIPER woman? She’s chic, elegant, sophisticated, all-American, with a strong sense of personal style, a flair for the dramatic and desires a versatile, sharply tailored pair of denim that fits her busy lifestyle. She’s a woman who strongly believes that things should be exactly what they seem: simple, pure, and thoughtfully crafted, like a timeless piece of music. I’m hoping to see her grow into more than just denim. Looking towards the future into RTW and accessories, and possibly beauty, but enjoying the process of growing a small business in the meantime.
How would you advise the next generation of designers, makers, and creatives to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
Start now!! We live in a world of instant gratification, where success can’t happen soon enough. Success takes time and a lot of patience.
Mistakes, misshapes, lost fortunes will happen, and if it doesn’t you’re not working hard enough. Learn and move forward, stay positive and push through. It will happen just not overnight. Be true to who you are even if it’s “boring”.
Don’t fall into the pressures of being “different”, “outlandish” or “over the top”. Just be you. Also, trust your vision and know your craft will get better with time as long as you keep working at it.
How do you celebrate personal style and why do you think you’ve found yourself always coming back to denim?
Don’t stray from your designated paths. Early on I hated my personal style and looked to others to change and define it. Later, as I got older I committed to my own inner voice. I don’t like to wear much color… and that’s okay! Knowing what you like and staying true to you, presents the best version of yourself to the world. I’m a Texas girl and denim is always on the table.
What is one question you wish people asked you more often?
Why Los Angeles and not New York? Yes, seems like the obvious transition after design school would be New York, and although NY will always be the capital of fashion here in the States, Los Angeles runs a close second. Having worked for some of the top contemporary and denim brands here in LA I’ve had experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to have in any other city. I’ve been able to transition that experience into PENELOPE PIPER DENIM. We have some of the best wash houses in the world here, and being so close to them makes starting a new denim company that much easier. Also being around so many other great denim brands inspire me and I’ve had the opportunity to learn from the best.