The Iconic Edition
Insider
|7 Feb|5 mins

The Woman Doing Denim Differently

Meet Emma Grede, the business mind who dreamt up 'Good American'
Kate Tregoning
7 Feb
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Khloe Kardashian may be the famous face of Good American, but it’s the brand’s outspoken co-founder Emma Grede who brings years of fashion industry experience and insights. As the inclusive brand lands in Australia for the first time, we sat down with Emma to find out why she’s shaking up the denim offering for women of all sizes and what it’s really like getting business advice from Kris Jenner.

What drove you to start Good American and how has your fashion experience helped?
I didn’t feel like the traditional fashion industry was serving all customers, so when I decided to start Good American, it was about offering premium denim and being inclusive of all sizes from 00 to 24. I come from a family of women who are shapely and happy with it and that doesn’t mean that their appetite for fashion is any less feverish. The other thing was this shift in popular culture. The women that we admire now are not just the kind of stick-thin fashion icons of the past. GA is about feeling great about your body as opposed to changing yourself for fashion.

Is it true that you approached Khloe Kardashian? Why did she feel like the perfect partner for the brand?
Absolutely true. It was about having a really strong and powerful woman, proud of their body, embracing their curves and really comfortable in her skin, and for me Khloe is someone who epitomises all of those values. She’s someone we’ve all seen at different sizes and she was never less confident or less happy. Khloe and I are really different in a lot of ways but the thing that we share is that we’re both incredibly confident and self-assured. Clothing has got a huge part to play in that.

Insider
|7 Feb|5 mins

The Woman Doing Denim Differently

Meet Emma Grede, the business mind who dreamt up 'Good American'
Kate Tregoning
7 Feb
Share:

Khloe Kardashian may be the famous face of Good American, but it’s the brand’s outspoken co-founder Emma Grede who brings years of fashion industry experience and insights. As the inclusive brand lands in Australia for the first time, we sat down with Emma to find out why she’s shaking up the denim offering for women of all sizes and what it’s really like getting business advice from Kris Jenner.

What drove you to start Good American and how has your fashion experience helped?
I didn’t feel like the traditional fashion industry was serving all customers, so when I decided to start Good American, it was about offering premium denim and being inclusive of all sizes from 00 to 24. I come from a family of women who are shapely and happy with it and that doesn’t mean that their appetite for fashion is any less feverish. The other thing was this shift in popular culture. The women that we admire now are not just the kind of stick-thin fashion icons of the past. GA is about feeling great about your body as opposed to changing yourself for fashion.

Is it true that you approached Khloe Kardashian? Why did she feel like the perfect partner for the brand?
Absolutely true. It was about having a really strong and powerful woman, proud of their body, embracing their curves and really comfortable in her skin, and for me Khloe is someone who epitomises all of those values. She’s someone we’ve all seen at different sizes and she was never less confident or less happy. Khloe and I are really different in a lot of ways but the thing that we share is that we’re both incredibly confident and self-assured. Clothing has got a huge part to play in that.

Emma Grede, Good American

Good American seems to be all about owning your look...
Everything that we talk about at GA is confidence, whether that comes across in a sexy way or you just feel super comfortable and confident in your clothes. When you go out in a great-fitting pair of jeans you feel secure, you feel hot. We honestly think that when women feel confident they can do anything. Fashion should be about having a good time and I think it’s been miserable for so many women for so long - denim shopping can be the worst and I think we took a lot of the pain points out of that.

You’re surrounded by strong, influential women. Is it empowering - or ever intimidating - working with the powerhouse that is the Kardashian clan?
Do you know what, actually, it’s never intimidating because they are so nice - just a normal family who happen to be great business women. Certainly for me, Khloe is a wonderful business partner and she has taught me a lot. She has a great appreciation for her audience and a way of listening to her fanbase. I also learn a lot from Kris Jenner because she’s super generous - and I don’t just mean that she sends really amazing bouquets of flowers, which she does by the way - but she is very generous with her time and with her contacts. She’s spent a long time in this business and she’s been very helpful to me in sharing information and making sure all of her amazing friends are kitted out in Good American. She’s always wearing GA as well which I love. It works for my younger sisters, it works for Kris Jenner, it works for Khloe’s grandma who called in our velour jumpsuit the other day. They’re a powerhouse you know, and I think I should be so lucky to be getting advice from all of them.

Who else influences your decisions in the business?
Listening to the customer is one of the smartest things we can do, because my god, she’s willing to tell you. We invented a size 15 and it was a really obvious decision because customers were telling us unequivocally size 14 is too small, yet size 16 is too big. We’ve created a whole new pattern and stuck a size in the middle to find that sweet spot in between the grading shift. First we launched size 15 in about five fits and we’ve since rolled it out into 35 fits.
The curvier girl has been trained to believe she wants something completely different, but my experience is that she doesn’t want it to look different. She wants to put it on and for it to feel right and fit in the right places but she doesn’t want a different style.

Emma with THE ICONIC staff, road-testing Good American denim

What makes GA denim stand out from others on the market?
There are a lot of technical differences in our denim like curved stitching and really great details. We fit everything on two different body shapes and there’s actually a difference in the pattern of the larger sizes - nothing that you would see to the naked eye - but it’s cut for a curvier figure when it goes up on the size scale. Then we’ve got all sorts of tricks in the pattern of the denim. We have this thing called a ‘four-piece trouser contour waistband’ which means you’re never going to get that gap at the back which shows your underpants, which is horrendous for most women! We use a premium fabric which is not just about stretch but recovery - in between wears, the fabric shrinks back to the original size, which makes a massive difference. Every pair of Good American jeans is pretty high waisted so you’re scooping it all up, showing the best parts of your body, embracing your curves and not trying to hide them.

Which pairs of Good American denim do you live in?
I was always about Good Waist - that’s our classic, ultra high-rise skinny. Now I’m really really feeling our Good Curve jeans. For me, they are one of the best fits we’ve ever done. They’ve got that whole vintage denim feel about them, they’re a heavier weave and they’ve got great washes on them. I like something super high waisted, I like to feel like I’m nipped in at the waist because that’s the most comfortable for me and then like most women, I really care what my bum looks like in jeans. I’m all about finding that situation where I can see my backside at all times. I also love a crop. The great thing with GA is that we have different leg lengths, so we’ve got cropped and ultra long so it’s really just about finding exactly what to suits you.

In terms of Good American, what achievement are you most proud of?
When Khloe and I launched the brand we kind of set rules in place - this is how we’re going to behave, this is what we’re going to do and we’re just going to say no to everything else. In the beginning not everybody got it straight away - you don’t see behind the scenes where people are saying ‘no you can’t’ and the fact that we’ve been able to stick to our principles - doing all the styles in all the sizes, only working with retailers who are going to embrace what we do and also showing such a diverse mix of women - not just from a size point of view but a racial point of view - they’re the things I’m really proud of. We’ve stuck to our guns and not compromised. It’s so easy to make those compromises and we just haven’t.

What’s your dream for the brand in the future?
There are so many categories that for us make a lot of sense if we can take some of the learnings from Good American about fit and fabrication. We don't see ourselves as a seasonally changing fashion brand, we’re much more about giving women absolute staples in their wardrobe that are going to work and they can come back to time and time again, and if we can do that in other categories, that will be where we win.
So many girls wear our bodysuits as swimsuits and I’m like, ‘Girl, there’s an opening on the crotch. Don’t dive in that!’ Australia is the place to come and do swimwear for sure.

Kate Tregoning
Lifestyle Editor
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