Thursday, 26 February 2009
The whole wild west aesthetic of classic heritage denim fits right in with the renaissance of true American heritage clothing. The traditional denim accessories and finishing techniques complement the outdoor workwear gear and chime with the 1950's aesthetic as another golden age of denim iconography.
The result is that I have an eye-wateringly expensive belt that I bought from Jean Shop because I became convinced that my wardrobe would not be complete without a very large metal buckle on a tooled leather belt. (Picture of the store above). The smell in the shop is amazing, the leather reminds me of shopping as a child in Camden Market with my mum. I almost think the non-jeans things in the store are cooler than the jeans.
A couple of denim brands have initiated/tried to capitalise on this nexus between American workwear and American denim heritage, the Earnest Sewn store in the Meatpacking District of NY being the most notable, right down to the wagon wheels and bits of cotton lint.
However, most of the jeans that are worn with the trad style clothes at the moment are probably Japanese - it's that kind of anorak trend. Made in Turkey or China just isn't going to cut it. Your other clothes can be made in America, but the jeans have to be Japanese I reckon. Dark, slim, anti-fit style with a small cuff (all the better to show off the boot/brogue). I can see faded and paler denims coming in, and of course denim and chambray shirts are a must.
As for American denim brands reclaiming the territory of authentic 'atelier' style producers from Japan, I'm really interested in a couple of things I've read about recently in San Francisco. Firstly in an interview with a Levi's designer Peter Stolz on The Brilliance, 'I hope to someday make high quality, handcrafted denim garments much like the winemakers in Napa and Sonoma Counties make their wines: with a great attention to detail and care.'
Also the oneculture brand, a small start-up men's brand (who's founder is documenting his progress in a blog). In keeping with the new 'made in America' spirit, there's obviously room for smaller brands who's ambition is to produce something they love and sell to Selfedge, rather than selling to Saks.
Not many American denim mills anymore, but that's another story.