Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Mark, of the fabulous oneculture jeans brand, has been kind enough to send me through his new images that launch his second cut of jeans. Mark has a blog that describes his life trying to build a jeans brand in the capital of denim in the west, San Francisco. As someone who has been involved in the set up of a brand, I cannot begin to describe my admiration for what it takes. Years feel like dog years and your compassion for man disappears in a haze of bitter struggle and pain. It's great, try it.
But that's not it. Although I'm no expert, most brands these days are set up with some serious outside funding. It's very rare you get one person and their idea managing to create cut through, buzz, etc. without either private investment or a deal with a garment company. Not only that, but most jeans brands, especially out of California, are started and owned by the same few people, and they involve designers or stylists to work with them on the conception and front the brand. They make money through economies of scale and business savvy. I don't want to sound cynical, but the money pretty much stays where the money has always stayed. Dude, I can't believe I was about to write 'in the hands of the man'.

Anyway, someone who does it on their own is doing a great thing, and Mark is clearly doing a great thing well. He's interested in telling a different story than the other dry denim brands out there, making something more personal to him. And he has a personal history that is located in 1970's San Franscisco, which is pretty good when it comes to talking about jeans. He's got two cuts of jean (correct me if I'm wrong Mark!), the Pulsar, which he launched with, and his new jean, Hello Again. Each season he takes inspiration from a year to use for his thread colours for that particular production run of jeans, and this year it's 1970. Cue lots of vintage photography of the Bay Area. He uses American selvedge denim from Cone Mills, and for the moment it's just dry. He does a production run when he can, which makes the jeans feel like collector's items to me. I love that he brings a real sense of place and care in construction to denim that's made outside of Japan. The sense of place carries through to where you can get the jeans from, which is one store, with a few branches around SF and one in Chicago, the BLUES Jean Bar. Or I'm sure from Mark himself.

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