the vault

Episode 2: Denim Expert Susan Lawrence Talks About Her Career in Fashion


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Susan Lawrence has spent her thirty-year career in fashion mastering the process of producing denim. Her experience dates back to her first job out of college at Philadelphia College of Textiles  (now Philadelphia University) working at a mill in New York City, where she spent two years learning the production process and honing her skills.  She's undoubtably an industry expert when it comes to denim. 

Susan's first dream job started at Graniteville Company,  where she pioneered the first stretch denim made from lycra that was used for Levi Strauss products. It was here during her seven years where she built relationships with Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Structure, Gap, and other well known companies producing denim.

We talk about the early days of denim production when Levis, Lee, and Wrangler Jeans controlled market share in the U.S. Then tap into the first two colors of fabric primarily used in early denim production, washing, and the production process of mills domestically before manufacturing went overseas.

Susan dives into her time at Ralph Lauren, where she was promoted during her maternity leave to lead a team that went on to start the spin-off line, Double RL. While at Ralph Lauren, she helped launch Polo Jeans by developing the fabrics and washes used in production.

During her ten years working for Gap as a Senior Director, Susan frequently traveled to mills and laundries in Mexico, Guatemala, China, Hong Kong, Macau, India, Bangladesh, Morocco, Turkey and Italy to oversee the production process. 

Susan resides in Hoboken, New Jersey, where she now consults with designers and brands looking for help starting a denim line, or who need emergency help during a production process. Her expertise in the industry, particularly around denim, is unrivaled in the fashion community. 

To contact Susan for work inquiries: pugsakuk[at]

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Music on this episode of The Vault is by Ben Bethurum, check out his SoundCloud for more musical masterpieces.