Every time I wear distressed jeans or jeans detailed with paint or bleach splatter marks, I always get the same old “hey, your jeans are torn!” Or “I painted my house yesterday and now I have jeans that look like that too!” or the classic, “How much do people pay for those??” Ugh, whatever. That’s one end of the spectrum. Now take the case of artist-turned-entreprenuer Joan Claire Smith, who used to paint textured art on the sides of restaurants and other businesses, which actually resulted in people (friends, family, random people on the street) asking her WHERE she got her resulting paint-soiled jeans, wanting to get a pair for themselves. Hah! So, Smith had a lightbulb go off in her head, and in 2012 launched Dragonfly by J Claire, transferring her artwork from walls to jeans 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. According to Forest Leaves, 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. Darn.
Joan Claire sources her jeans from a California company, and uses stencils or goes freehand. 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 Forest Leaves reports that Claire is working towards creating a lower price point, as well as a brick-and-mortar storefront which could offer customizations for customer’s 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. She 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.
Hopefully one of these days I can grab one of these beautiful jeans! As a denim fan, it would make sense to support this woman by adding one of her pieces to my collection. Read more about Dragonfly by J Claire or shop her designs right here.