Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dress Code: Dirty Your Denim

-This post from Hypebeast about a new A.P.C. line, first rumored in July, in which the jeans have actually been worn in by real people before they're sold, got me thinking about a number of denim related things. As genius or ignorant you might think the idea of wearing already worn jeans is, I think it's a better approach to distressing jeans than sanding with power tools, at least the lines will be authentic. And you get half off if you trade in your old A.P.Cs which is a good gimmick.
-It seems like I've bean seeing a lot of talk lately about how to wash your denim. A Continous Lean recently offered his once yearly method for washing his A.P.C. New Standards. In a feature in the September GQ in which top denim designers were interviewed, Carl Chiara, lead designer for Levi's Capital E and Red lines advocated never washing your jeans. In the same article Rogan Gregory of Rogan said the only way he'll wash his jean is by jumping in the ocean and letting them sun dry. The article also featured Jean Touitou, badass creator of the aforementioned New Standard, which have become increasingly popular in the last few years. Then in the October GQ (you know, the Megan Fox one) there was a question to The Style Guy about whether or not dry cleaning was an option for denim, to which Glenn O'Brien replied that simply airing out your jeans is the best way to keep them fresh, but if they start to smell or you spill something on them, dry cleaning won't fade them too much .
-The essential truth here is that, whether you're wearing the rarest raw Japanese selvedge or 511s (see previous post,) washing your jeans fades the color and kills that character. And drying is just out of the question. My boy N. Fenn is doing good with his first pair of raws (by Manik, $120,) he hasn't washed them yet and it's been about two months.
-So here is my method (I learned it from Seb,) which I use for my one pair of raws and for the 511s that I wear almost every day. I take my jeans and put them on a chair outside and blast them with the hose at pretty high pressure. I focus my spray on stains. Then I let them hang dry outside. I never do this more than once a month (I know ACL says once a year, but it's the northwest, we get our jeans dirty.)
-I like the hose approach because it removes large particles but leaves a ghost of what was there before. In the 511s I'm wearing right now I can see mattes of bicycle grease, blood from a skating injury from last week, mustard from my El Capitan polish dog. But because of the hose it's nicely blended, but the character, the story told in the denim, remains.
-And just a note, I heard about Naked & Famous jeans a little while back and I think they're going to be my second pair of raws. The denim comes from the rarest Japanese producers and straight to a wearhouse in Canada and on to the customer, sans any of the embroidery or gimmickery the drives up the price of premium denim. They've got a blend of 70% raw denim and 30% silk that I'm interested in feeling.
-That was pretty long but, you know, spray your jeans with the hose.

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