Erin Fridja

Denim Guru

With true blue blood running through her veins, Detroit’s very own Erin Fridja is the Denim Guru we call upon constantly for our clients. Here she talks about how she got her dream job, and the best piece of advice she ever received.

What is your current position?

I work as a freelance denim consultant, working with brands on improving their denim selection or starting a new division completely.  

What was your first ever job?

In suburban Michigan at Twelve Oaks mall, I had quite a few jobs there in high school but the first one was a hostess at a Greek chain restaurant called Olga’s Kitchen. We got to eat before our shift and I basically lived on this highly synthetic looking orange milkshake and chicken gyros.

Where did you grow up?

Novi, Michigan which is about 20 minutes by car from Detroit.

What was your dream job growing up?

Well this is a dream job, but as a kid I wanted to be a journalist like April from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I still want her jumpsuit.

Piece of advice for your former self?

Don’t worry so much about where you are in your twenties, just keep your head down and work work work and learn from people around you. It’s okay to ask questions. Also don’t put washing up liquid in the dishwasher, they are not the same thing.

How did you transition from in-house to consultant?  Any advice for anyone looking to do this themselves?

Quit your job. Don’t look for too much security before you do it; you’ll never get a 100% sure-deal in anything or while still clutching to the comforts of a full time position.  Believe in yourself and your work, and if you want to do it, just do it. The work will come.

Where is the future of fashion?

It flows from Laforet in Harajuku. I love people watching there.

How did you get started?

My first job in fashion was as an intern at Marie Claire magazine in Sydney, during my third year of University.  After graduating I moved to London and got a job as a personal assistant at Penfield, a menswear brand.

How do you disconnect?

My husband and I moved out to Kent about a year ago. We swapped a two bed in Clapton for a gorgeous mid-century modern palace in need of some TLC so I spend a lot of time on the garden and improving the house, little by little. Pruning roses is very therapeutic, stripping the floors less so.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Getting someone in a rad pair of jeans that they love and feel good in.

Who was your inspiration growing up?

Pauly Shore, “the weasel”. MTV was everything in 1980’s Michigan.  

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Never ever, ever, use fabric softener. It coats the fibres, is a skin irritant and shortens the life of a garment. I also cannot stand the smell it’s so overpowering.

Have your studies impacted your career choices?

I went off-piste with a liberal arts degree in Social Anthropology and History. It taught me analytical thinking and observation, and I picked up the fashion part in a hands-on way.

What are your thoughts on “fast fashion” – are you a consumer?

I’m not – I feel a bit sick at the amount of clothing that is bought on a whim and tossed away.  I’ve always believed “buy good and buy once”. I save for quality and treasure my clothes.

How do you get behind the essence of a brand?

By people watching in-store.

Summarise your job in three words.

Fantastic denim dream.