The Exchange | Isabelle Benoit Founder of Bullet Blues

French native Isabelle Benoit's strong military bloodline and ardent appreciation of those who serve their country led to the creation of Bullet Blues. A 2011 trip to the American Cemetery in Normandy where close to 10,000 courageous men were laid to rest deeply resonated with the designer, fueling her desire to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Symbolizing their bravery and their bullets in battle, Bullet Blues honors those slain heroes through its devotion to domestic production and its employment of skilled American craftsmen.I was born in... France and was 18 years old when I came to the US. I grew up in the South West of France in the Cognac region in a very small village named Bignac. My family's military background... both of my grandfathers were taken prisoner. My father's father was mobilized August 28, 1939. He was taken captive June 23, 1940 in Vaudemont in Les Vosges, France and was a prisoner of war in a Stalag in Altenberg, Germany for 5 years. He was liberated by the US Army just after escaping the camp. He was lucky to have escaped when and where he did. Had he not escaped north, he would've been in what would become East Germany, and would not have been able to come home. My mother's father was taken captive June 8th 1940 in Esquelloy, France and was forced to march to Belgium, then taken to Stalag #17352 in Germany. After 2 years, he was taken back to France and was forced to work for the German army. He made powder for bullets since that had been his job when he was taken prisoner. They both came home and were ok. Every generation of men had to do their military service. My father was sent to fight the war in Algeria. I have many uncles and great uncles who also held jobs in the military. My inspiration comes from... everywhere - nature, cities like Miami (pictured below) and Paris, travel, rock'n'roll, Hollywood, cars - anything and everything.Best career advice I've received... to be honest in everything I do and just deliver the best that I can. Favorite Bullet Blues of the moment... Our new cigarette-skinny style in a light blue wash (pictured below). They feel and look amazing. They're not on the website yet, but they'll be there shortly. My go-to style is... our BB Babe famous boot cut jean in Nuit. A great pair of jeans... is an essential piece of everyone's wardrobe. You can wear them everywhere, dress them up or down, perfect for when you have so much in your closet and still don't know what to wear! They're as important to have as a little black dress. Most prized item in my closet... my gold cross that my grandmother Mamie Simone gave me for my communion. I tend to splurge on... good food, fine wines from around the world and of course good Cognac, my latest addition being Meukow Cognac. Favorite American brand... besides Bullet Blues, I love Nanette Lepore's designs. I also like the brands featured on the Made Collection website since they are all US made. Manufacturing in the US is important because... of the economy of the country and of course, job creation. Manufacturing in the US also provides superior quality and safety of the products. This summer I’m most looking forward to… putting out my new collection of jeans.

*Special thanks to sponsor Bullet Blues for this insightful interview!