A Current Affair

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Emily Current and Meritt Eliott are at last filling a longstanding and irksome creative void in the fashion industry: better denim, By inspiring (versus imitating), these stylists have stepped away from being glorified dressers to redefining their role as more of a hyper-blending of art director and wardrobe department, and the results are lovely.

The current state of fashion is overwhelmed with over-the-top bombshell sex and raunch (yes, I’m talking to you, Kim Kardashian), yet this duo has found a magic formula that is at once stylish and subdued. Current and Elliott are considered a fashionista’s fashionista, and the West Coast natives could also be called the first “man repellers” (a term popularized by the blog of the same name written by Leandra Medine), which accurately describes the off-putting effect select fashion mavens sometimes have on some men. A true man repeller dresses for herself, not for male attention, and while she may have a legion of female fans in her social circle, the boys of the group usually shy away from such bold choices and choose to woo more uninspired gals, with wardrobes (and perhaps personalities) easier to digest.

Current and Elliott are complex fashion makers, with creations marked by complex references, unusual color choices, and plays on texture. There is a sense of nostalgia and irony—basics in interesting proportions—and it is truly gratifying to see what they create.

Drawn to one another’s sense of style, Emily and Meritt first met while they were both attending UCLA working towards respective degrees in Sociology. While doing so, they realized their passions were more aligned with vintage shops and Karl Lagerfeld than Karl Marx and Durkheim. They quickly realized the fresh and fearless aesthetic they shared—an affinity for individuality, dressing without rules, and mixing high and low with confidence and flair. Whether they’re creating memorable outfits for clients, styling unforgettable editorial spreads and advertising campaigns, appearing as fashion experts, or consulting for companies inspired by their distinct world-view, the two bring a playful, intelligent spirit to whatever they touch.

They are known most, however, for their ultra popular denim collection that recalls classic Americana. Their denim brand, suitably called Current/Elliot, launched in 2008 wi t h Serge Azria as CEO and Creative Director and its wild success (favored by Hollywood A-listers like Reese Witherspoon and Mary-Kate Olsen) earned Emily and Meritt the label of “the masterminds behind the boyfriend jean,” according to ELLE magazine. Vogue, for its part, called the company nothing less than “the most refreshing denim line to come out of LA’s jean scene in a long, long time.”

And that scene is saturated beyond belief…denim designers sprouting like weeds every season, and no one has been able to maintain a captive audience while remaining as fashionably relevant as Current/Elliott.

The pair works with a host of stylish Hollywood starlets, including Emma Roberts, Mandy Moore, and Sophia Bush, dressing them for both red-carpet affairs and everyday looks. They create those looks steeped in vintage, a love of “classics with a twist”—like camel cashmere sweaters and worn-out gray jeans. They manage to create polished effortless ensembles brimming with rock n’ roll and personal style.

Hillary Kerr and Katherine Powers, founders of the everpopular fashion blog whowhatwear. com, observed, “Their finished looks are almost like the styling equivalent of a Sofia Coppola film or a Jenny Lewis album: deeply personal, a little quirky, and completely wonderful.”

Building upon their accomplishments as denim designers, the twosome collaborated with Kate Spade New York in 2011 to create a capsule collection of handbags, aptly named “Westward.” Kate Spade’s creative director Deborah Lloyd told Women’s Wear Daily that Spade selected them for their “great spirit” and because they “epitomize the chic, West Coast vibe.”

The fashion scene is still a creative wellspring, as long as designers and stylists like these two are pushing sense and sensibility in the right direction.


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