In the fall of 2019, when neo-soul singer Danae Simone first started planning DSX Denim, an affordable and quality denim collection based in Denver, she knew it wasn’t going to be an easy project. But she couldn’t have foreseen that a global pandemic would disrupt her launch. As a Black woman, it was important for Simone to show her community strength and resilience during a time of racial unrest and create a path for other Black women. So, after pushing the brand’s initial introduction from April to September, Simone turned her dream into a reality—selling out her first collection of edgy denim jackets, jeans, and jumpsuits in just a few days.

Before DSX drops its second collection—which will include a line of men’s denim—on November 27, we caught up with Simone to talk about her brand, her inspiration, and what’s next for DSX Denim.

5280: What inspired you to start a denim collection?
Danae Simone: Initially, I planned on creating merchandise to promote music for my Danae Simone artistry brand, but I wanted to challenge myself to something that would get my foot in the door within the fashion world. I always wore denim jeans from Madewell, and I wanted to create something that gave customers quality material and luxury without making them feel like they had to spend $120 on a single pair of jeans. I also wanted to figure out a formula for women of all shapes and sizes that would fit comfortably but still show off your curves.

Photo by Monaie Diamond Photgraphy

What is your vision for DSX? And how is it connected to your values?
My values as a mother and as a Black woman are definitely built around integrity and work ethic. I’ve been through a lot and with that, it has taught me to be strong, to be smart and calculated, and most importantly not to be afraid to take risks. I could have given up given the discouragement of 2020, but even with what seemed like the odds being against me, I still thrived. As a Black woman, I’m blessed with the responsibility to be an innovator, a trendsetter—whether it’s my child, my spouse, my colleagues, someone is always watching. Regardless of what is thrown at me, I’m going to show up for myself, my brand, and my family as my best version! Mistakes and all—successful people push forward and DSX will constantly evolve because of my attitude towards life.

What’s your favorite denim style and your favorite pair from your line?
My favorite style of denim is probably a high-waisted skinny jean with a very simple distressed style within the pockets or knees of the pants. I would say my favorite piece from my [first] line is our DSX Classic Moto Jacket. It’s super chic and simple yet very edgy.

Of all of the many fabrics and styles, why did you choose denim?
It’s so funny because when I wear “denim on denim” which most people call a Canadian tuxedo, I feel the most confident. I get the most compliments. Denim is for sure the most challenging [fabric], but it was fitting for me. No one has really mastered this on a local level and it’s a great brand to keep building on. It’s timeless; it will literally always be on-trend.

Who is the DSX customer? What do they love?
We have a style for every DSX Diva! I made sure I created pieces for every type of woman. Our simple and sophisticated Divas purchase our ‘DSX Moto Denim’ jacket because it’s simple enough to wear to work and edgy enough to wear on a sexy first date.  Additionally, DSX offers plus sizes (and now, denim for men). We’ve gotten amazing feedback on how our brand is for all women of different colors, shapes, and sizes.

How did the pandemic affect the launch of DSX?
In 2018, I committed to one year of actually researching, getting different denim samples, taking business courses for marketing and eCommerce, as well as learning about the different types of denim materials. In 2019, I started preparing for my launch, teaming up with amazing graphic designers such as “Graffiti,” who created my logo and custom designs for shipping and packaging my product. My plan was to launch in April 2020 but due to COVID, all of my custom product was delayed, the fabric was delayed, hangtags—everything you could possibly imagine. I also never intended on having an online store, I wanted to create an experience for my consumers by doing a weekend pop-up shop, where all sizes and styles were available for in-store purchase. I had plans to sell out in a weekend. Ultimately, I had to push my launch back until September 2020. However, we got everything launched and sold out in four days!

What can we expect from the next collection?
We are excited about our holiday collection, which includes men’s custom denim jackets and our women’s “Black Out Collection” which will include majority-black denim. My favorite piece from the women’s collection is our Blackout Glam Jacket, a classic black denim jacket with a faux fur collar. So chic! We are also releasing our unisex tracksuit line “Worthy of Love” in white, beige, gray, and black.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

The second collection of DSX Denim, which launches Friday, November 27, will be available to shop online