JJ Medina Brings Denim to Life with DNIM INC
JJ Medina of DNIM INC
Designer JJ Medina
“I believe in happiness,” JJ Medina professes, his hand gesturing widely to the paradisiacal landscape he calls home. We’re rolling down the manicured highways and byways of The Woodlands, a cherubic, intentionally–planned suburban enclave just north of Houston, Texas. The interior of his Porsche Cayenne is pristine, and the appearance of the fashion prophet himself is meticulous—every inch is pressed, perfectly–fit and spotless. JJ speaks with passionate flare and genuineness. “It’s easier to be successful when you’re authentic,” JJ wisely admonishes early on in our interview, a two–day tour of this piece of paradise he’s chosen to call home.
Happiness has been the sole pursuit of the artistic genius, creative prodigy and gifted entrepreneur JJ for his entire life. And he’s found it here, in The Woodlands. We tour his favorite restaurants and shopping centers, inevitably met with a distinctive shout of his name as we run into yet another of his acquaintances. JJ hasn’t been in Houston long, a mere few months, but he’s already settled into the community and become an icon. He searched the globe for years on the hunt for the perfect place to settle and cultivate his young family (Solei, 10; Apollo, 6; and Mai, 7), testing out suburban provinces in Paris, Milan, Laguna Beach and other covetable communities, but nowhere felt like the utopian homestead for which he was searching—nowhere, that is, except The Woodlands.
But really, JJ’s journey is a long and winding one. From his humble beginnings in Mexico, JJ set his sights on the lofty skyscrapers of New York City. With no mentor and no advantages, JJ climbed the ranks as a lawyer in America’s toughest city, eventually carving out his niche in the legal department of the Mexican consulate in New York. His life, including his eldest son, resided in and revolved around the buzz of NYC. But JJ’s life was to take a turn—a turn of passion.
JJ met and fell in love with the mother of his children on one of his monthly trips to Mexico; they knew they wanted to start a family, but there was one problem: she didn’t want to move to NYC. So JJ set his sights on a new profession. He had three requirements: it must be something he likes, something that was easy, and something (he notes with a grin) that will make him a lot of money. And that’s how JJ Medina traded in the structured suits of a lawyer for the worn, relaxed jeans of a denim designer.
JJ could talk about denim for hours. “Jeans are the uniform around the world,” he emphasizes. “Jeans reflect personality, jeans are a matter of desire. You buy a jean for a desire, for a wish, for an aspiration.” JJ can back up his passion for his industry with undeniable statistics and numbers. Five billion jeans are made every single year; people who like jeans own an average of 16 to 18 pairs, and even those of us who don’t still own six to seven pairs. We don’t buy the next pair of jeans because of a need, we buy them because they’re somewhat unique from our other pairs—be it fit, cloth, look—and we want them. JJ explains that there are four reasons we buy jeans: one, we see the jeans on someone else and want to have that exact look; two, we touch the fabric and fall in love; three, we try the jeans on and they feel and look great; and four, perhaps the most Westernized of all sales tactics, we buy for brand. Thanks to JJ’s intentional cultivation, he can offer all four of these aspects of desirability to consumers (but more on that later).
When JJ transitioned into the fashion world 12 years ago, he found immediate, striking success. Working with a jean manufacturer in Mexico, he quickly expanded and improved their clientele. Within months he was working alongside the biggest names in denim of the decade, including Abercrombie, Levi, The Limited, American Eagle and Target. His talent for his new profession was inexplicable and impressive; colleagues assumed he had been in the business for 10 to 15 years, not 10 to 15 months. But it was his devotion to the craft, rather than experience, that earned JJ his marks. “I don’t decide to get involved in many things, but when I do, I do it properly,” JJ promises. And doing it properly is exactly what he intends to do with his latest venture in denim design, DNIM INC.
DNIM INC is a wholly unique concept born of JJ’s creative genius. In a world rife with technology and remote communication, it’s actually surprising that the fashion, especially the denim, world hasn’t already become technologically autonomous. With DNIM INC, JJ intends to bring denim to designers, and even consumers, with the mere click of a mouse.
JJ describes DNIM INC as the Uber or Expedia of denim. dnim-inc.com is a massive commerce platform, offering reams upon reams of denim fabric and designs with incomparable speed and quality. Rather than the traditional six month process of design and manufacturing, DNIM INC designs and develops fabrics and keeps an accurate inventory so that designers can simply pick the fabric and receive it within the month. As of right now the site is business to business (offering denim to designers and outlets), but in the coming months DNIM INC will shift and offer personalized denim design directly to the consumer with its own brand, Mission Blue.
Mission Blue is JJ’s passion project. He wants to make it as easy as possible for consumers to buy and create their own, personalized denim. With DNIM INC and Mission Blue, he plans to completely redesign the denim industry; consumers will simply log in, design their denim (including fabric, silhouette, measurements, finish and wash) and receive it the next day—no need for dressing rooms, pushy salesmen or combing racks for that perfect pair. Premium fabrics and meticulous design mean this isn’t just a matter of convenience, but quality and desirability. Plus, the manufacturing process is 100% sustainable; the jeans are washed with a laser and ozone in a process that saves valuable resources like water.
On the second day of our interview, JJ shares samples of the denim and designs we’ll soon be able to purchase directly through DNIM INC. He excitedly pulls out pair after pair, design after design, exclaiming with the panache and passion of a true virtuoso. But it’s easy to understand his excitement; this isn’t normal denim. It’s buttery soft, gliding over curves and skin with ease and wrapping the wearer in an almost warm embrace. Bold, richly colored denim lies beside saturated indigos and perfectly distressed designs. This is a curated collection of designs, every stitch, patch and stain invested with the artful touch of JJ himself.
When JJ first delved into denim all those years ago, it was with passion, not just for the industry, but for life itself. “It’s not easy to improve my life,” JJ notes, “but I’m trying. I can not be comfortable—I need challenges every single day. I have a deep need for daily improvement in all aspects of my life.” After spending two days with the charismatic entrepreneur, I can certainly attest to JJ’s proclamations. He lives every day with the flamboyant spirit and vigor of a true maestro, a spirited flair he brings to his business and soon to consumers themselves.
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