Saturday, May 29, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
There are few shoppers who will look at pair of jeans anymore and think: 'Wow, that will look incredible two years from now when I have worn it in.' The fact is that most of the fashion denim sold nowadays is mass produced, pre-shrunk, pre-washed and pre-worn. Popular fashion culture is more often aspirational and instant in its need for gratification. This is why True Religion, Replay and Diesel are considered by many to be at the edge of 'high quality' denim. These brands do everything for you, from wearing, washing, breaking down to patching your jeans before you have even worn it. And while treated jeans has become a highly sophisticated fashion art form, I feel that there is an intrinsic fashion dishonesty in it. The wearer has not been roughing it by painting, working on a ranch, in a factory or swimming in the sea as the pair of jeans might suggest. Is it a pretend culture wearing jeans that seem like they were involved in vigorous activity when in fact all they did was sit at an office desk, walk in the mall or step side to side in a club.
It has become so normal that we don't see how odd it is that a manufacturer actually wears in your jeans in for you. This is a large reason why the denim we wear these days is no longer well crafted with top quality material- its simply not intended to last, in fact its life span is already halved. These brands are more interested in you buying your next pair of jeans as soon as possible.
Now days when I am shopping for denim even if its a well constructed pair of selvage jeans I am disappointed when I find them broken in, faded, painted or patched, especially if I like them.
For me it misses the entire point of what denim was originally designed for: hard work and adventure. Its like having a used 4x4 Landrover that sits in your driveway only because it gives you the appealing appearance of an off road adventurer, not realizing what ultimately makes things like great denim and a 4x4 cool is the actual experiences you should have with them.
The serious denim-head culture seems to be all about reinvigorating the original spirit of denim along with it's intrinsic timeless style as well as passion for living and work hard. What you do and how you wear in your jeans becomes an art form in itself. All you have to do is ask a Denim Vintager how they got their jeans to look that way and they will most likely launch into an interesting story about where they were and what they did while wearing it.
Since your denims ultimately tell a story about you and what you do, it all comes down to this question: wouldn't you like to write your own story rather than wearing some mass produced story that a few thousand other people are also wearing.
Bernard Baaitjies is a well known business entrepreneur currently working in Johannessburg. His tough rags to riches story is told in the South African feature film Dollars and White Pipes. The bag says it all.