Imogene + Willie, named after Carrie’s maternal grandparents, is a celebration of family. Carrie, who comes from a long line of denim workers, first met Matt when they were 10 years old. They were reunited years later after Matt returned from college and joined the family business. When Sights Denim closed, the two decided to strike out on their own, creating a “mini version” of the old company. All they wanted to do, Carrie says, was sew the perfect jean.
Imogene + Willie, which is named after Carrie’s maternal grandparents, is a celebration of family.
Chancing upon an old gas station in Nashville, the Eddmensons thought it a place as good as any to start their business. They couldn’t wait to begin, cutting and sewing even before renovations were complete. Matt and Carrie each have their own niche: Matt, who steeps himself in clothing history, finds creative ways to illuminate the old in a modern context. Carrie, for her part, is the business brain of the operation, although her experience with fit plays an invaluable role, as well.
For Matt and Carrie, the terms “family” and “community” are interchangeable, which explains their obvious pride in supporting their local economy. Their fabric hails from one of the oldest denim mills in the world: Cone Denim in Greensboro, NC. “We are lucky to be able to collaborate with them to produce the special fabric blends that we use to make Imogene + Willie jeans,” Carrie tells Ecouterre.
Every jean is still made at a factory within an hour’s drive of Nashville.
Although the demand for Imogene + Willie has outgrown its studio space beneath that old gas station, every jean is still made at a factory within an hour’s drive of Nashville. The Eddmensons credit two of their employees, a couple with 25 years of combined experience in the textile industry, as a driving force for their company. Originally from Sri Lanka, Nester, a skilled pattern maker, and his wife, Gloria, a seamstress, can produce a pair of jeans in just 20 minutes.
The boutique itself continues to serve as a hub for locals, who drop by for “Supper and Song” concerts and other events the duo organize. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who shopped at Imogene + Willie while filming Country Strong in 2010, counts herself among the growing legion of devotees. “Going to their store is part shopping, part hanging out,” she wrote in one of her weekly newsletters. “Everything in the store has a story, which you become a part of the second you enter.”