COLLABORATION: Denim producers x Designers

Branded jeans would be nothing without their denim supply partners who work closely with them to create the most appropriate indigo blues and character denims to fit the brand in question.

It is therefore only natural for these denim suppliers to forge partnerships and collaborations of their own into product ranges other than jeans brands.  To become known in their own right as being the foundation of success for a broad spectrum of products and brands.

 New Balance X Cone Denim Mills

New Balance X Cone Denim Mills

Denim is unique and tough stuff which is why Cone Mills being a close geographical neighbour to Levi supplied the iconic 501 jean with all the denim from day one.  Now Cone Mills has entered into a collaboration with a difference- New Balance performance active sport shoes. Indigo Denim has to achieve high performance standards of tear strength and abrasion resistance as well as having the delightful ability to fade naturally. What an imaginative partnership for an active sports shoe brand to use Indigo Denim as part of its street sport range.

 Volcom  X Cone Denim Mills

Volcom  X Cone Denim Mills

Taking street sport to another level Volcom Stone Made jean and chinos, with their roots in Skateboarding have teamed up with Cone Mills for the same reason as New Balance. That of strong high performance and high indigo aesthetic.  With cone's S Gene technology Volcom has created a collection of super fitting jeans which offer super mobility for activity with comfort.    The S Gene from Cone is a patented technology which offers double high stretch fabric with perfect recovery - no more baggy knees! The Volcom-Cone jeans are offered in raw and washed versions with heavy stitching to replace rivets for active safety and comfort.   Versions in ConeGard water repellant denims, Anti-Microbial treated ( stop the stench! ) denims and the new Stone Made jeans with Lycra Tough Max in Conestrong denim which offers enhanced durability and resistance to tears and abrasions.

 GStar X Archroma

GStar X Archroma

G Star a top brand we all know and love has recently teamed top with Archroma one of the industries leading sulphur dye producers to launch a capsule denim collection not only high in aesthetic but also sustainable in origin.    Archroma's earth colours which are dyes made from recycled plant waste recently hit the industry headlines being the gold winner of the "outdoor sustainable innovations" award in 2017.   Colours of Dark Plum; Asphalt; Mazarine Blue are made from the non edible left over parts of beetroot, and Saw Palmetto.  The iconic Elwood style from G Star comes in 2 different fits in these Earth colours from Archroma - mid waist skinny and 3D super slim.  G Star is striving to challenge jeans conventions by collaborating with producers of the raw material at the beginning of the chain rather than waiting for denim manufacturers to come to them. By doing so they hope to influence other denim an jeans brands to switch to are sustainable means of production. 

 Oneil  X Isko

Oneil  X Isko

Again, performance is the driver behind the collaboration between O'Neill and Isko denim.  Isko is the biggest denim manufacturer in the World based in Turkey. They specialised in high quality and high performance denims and non denims and are suppliers to many of the World's most well known jeans brands.  Here they team up with the O'Neill pioneer of the original neoprene wetsuit for board riding to produce a lightweight, high stretch durable denim board short.  Unlike denim for jeans this new innovative fabric is 50% lighter and claims to be "quick dry" unlike the classic jean.  The denim remains soft and breathable and can withstand continuous surf wear.   Together with Isko's innovation in fabric and O'Neill's innovations in style and technology for function we are now offered a new wave of indigo denim surf wear.

COLLABORATION: Artist/ Designers

Wearable Art continues to fascinate designers and brands. Shapes and styles can be kept simple and be focussed on the brands identity with the addition of eye catching recognisable prints from well known artists.  This new wave of partnerships is set to redefine art and fashion collaboration.

 Calvin Klein in Collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation

Calvin Klein in Collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation

Calvin Klein x Andy Warhol foundation partnership is back.   The latest instalment of the collaboration is back with Raf Simons being the design driving force behind this exciting news announced last year with a promise of previously unpublished works such as  "kissing couples" images on underwear and candid self portraitist of Warhol himself on the heritage inspired denim collections in T shirts and hoodies.

 Lee X Hattie Stewart Collection

Lee X Hattie Stewart Collection

The VF Corporation owners of Lee and Wrangler Jeans are just about to celebrate their 130 year anniversary as such have also joined the bandwagon of collaborations.   Historically Lee jean has taken a fashion back seat to Levi but with the new collaboration between Lee jeans and Hattie Stewart to celebrate their "Scarlett Jean" this may be set to change.   Hattie Stewart a well know illustrator and self proclaimed "doodle Bomber" has customised the Scarlett high jean and the denim Rider jacket with her bold playful designs which transcend both art and fashion.  Her strong images and with clean lines and bold colours are almost cartoon like in their fun and humour, destined to become as iconic as the garments they adorn.  Available in the Covent Garden store from August 2018.

 Peter Max for Wrangler, Celebrating 70 years of Wrangler

Peter Max for Wrangler, Celebrating 70 years of Wrangler

Wrangler have teamed up with Peter Max for a bold new take on the iconic wrangler shirt and T shirt range.

 The 21st Century Jean, 3x1 X Joe Doucett

The 21st Century Jean, 3x1 X Joe Doucett

 Scott Morrison's amazing 3x1 jeans brand having morphed from being a heavy weight denim brand into being the fashion icon it now is is still focussed on the cloth as being the driver behind their recent collaboration with Joe Ducet. But Jo has also added some details essential for today's urban dweller plus proclaiming it to be the 21st Century jean with shape and details fit for 21st century purpose.    Enlarged coin pocket to accommodate a credit card;  reflective back strip for commuter protection ( where have we seen this before i wonder!!); micro fibre pockets to protect your devices all in Kurabo' s raw stretch selvedge denim. Purposely unwashed to enable the wearer to have a personalised wear over time.   This fashion utility jean is available  in women and mens slim straight fit in stretch dark indigo.  

 Uniqlo X  J.W. Anderson

Uniqlo X  J.W. Anderson

Uniqlo gets better and better. When we thought they had it all they now offer us designer collaboration teamed with their amazing quality!   A good "fit" with the simple stylish creativity of JW Anderson to achieve must have tops, shirts, T's and hats and jeanswear.  Yet more to covet from Uniqlo.

COLLABORATION: Levi's

Levi is not only the master of jeans but also of collaborations. Planning to launch 50 such collaborative partnerships to launch a come back into the consciousness of the youth market. Not only focussing on jeans and truckers but also expanding this dominance to other product areas,  to grow beyond jeans and appeal to todays digitally driven youth.    What a way to generate a buzz and  to increase the brand relevance in street culture.

 Levi's X Supreme

Levi's X Supreme

Levi + Supreme = funky stripes combines with vintage look denims. Real vintage blues with the crackle texture we all know and love.

The iconic Brand has also had much success with tailoring vintage fo themselves with the 501CT  in 2014 for Women or working with Re-Done for up cycled and re-purposed items which look fresh offering a perfect combo of vintage thrift looks with the best denims around.

 Levi's X Air Jordan

Levi's X Air Jordan

Collaborations for Levi are not restricted to clothing. Being a brand worn by street sport dudes it is appropriate to team up with Nike and their Air Jordan range.  Cool feet with baggy low slung vintage Levis can look newly box fresh or found vintage.  Slashes of white on the feet with indigo or grunge coloured jeans offer a distinctly retro appearance.

 Levi's Collaborate with 50 Celebrities to create 50 custom Trucker Jackets 

Levi's Collaborate with 50 Celebrities to create 50 custom Trucker Jackets 

The New Personalised Trucker is total excitement.  501 and Trucker are synonymous with the Levi Brand. The Trucker can be worn by anyone with anything and everything and is imitated by every jean brand on the planet. Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery but the original honours go to Levi.    As such Levi invented it and are happy to evolve it with customisations relevant to todays consumer.  Celebrity customisations from global Artists and Media personalities have been commissioned for the 50th anniversary of the trucker.   Collaborations with the likes of Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister; Vanessa Wu; Caroline Issa; Snoop Dog; Feng Cheng; Chance the Rapper;  Taylor Kitsch and many many more.  

 Feng Chen X Levis

Feng Chen X Levis

Shifting down the body from working with the Trucker Feng Cheng Wang, the supremely talented Chinese Designer has linked up with Levi for a new collaboration. and created some really exciting jeans silhouettes. Focussing on form and function of 6 of the best past 501 models piecing, layering, tonal blocking to bring the iconic 501 5 pocket jean into " the now" street relevance.  

Indigo denim largely fuelled by the popularity of Levi over the years has achieved a romantic, nostalgic, must- have position in fashion. What better way to perpetuate such emotion by offering a fresh take on the 501 jean hitherto a mid life classic now re-freshed and associated with high Design and celebrity status.  No doubt it will fly.

CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Pioneers

Would that we could find original jeans and work clothes from the 1800's California gold rush.

 

 Images - 'From Cowboys to Catwalk' and '  'Jeans Des Heroes'

Images - 'From Cowboys to Catwalk' and '  'Jeans Des Heroes'

Clothing from The General Store was fit and strong enough for railroad hard labour.  It was these Pioneers and their tough overalls who not only helped build the railroads but have unwittingly helped perpetuate our love today of everything indigo denim.

To the point of copying in every small detail the style and shape of their utility clothing.    The exact replica badges, logos , labels, buttons, rivets, braces and buckles are all part of the essential package of contemporary workwear.

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And of course Levi Strauss was one of the first companies to capitalise on the popularity of what was originally workwear, HD Lee with his "Jeans that built America" slogan,  was another.  In the 1800's Leob Strauss and Jacob David collaborated turning the turning original work pants from brown canvas sailcloth to a 3x1 weave in indigo and registering them under the name Levi Strauss, using the two horse brand to represent strength and durability.  The history of the jean goes back even further.

In 1567 sailors from Genoa arrived in the USA wearing tough trousers made from a cloth called Serge de Nimes - De-Nimes, which is the origin of the name Denim. This cloth was dyed indigo being a universally traded commodity at that time.   The word jean however is hotly debated. It is  thought the the sailors from Genoa ( Genes) gave rise to this.  But it was many years later that Levi Strauss registered it for his tough 3x1 RHT cotton cloth pants.  This is a too short precis of the many years that gave rise to and turned a San Franciso family textile factory owner together with a Nevada tailor into the icon we know today.      Denim is now the biggest selling fabric and jeans the biggest selling garment in our World of apparel today.

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CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Junkyard Denim

Flea markets and junkyards are enjoying a revival, newly popular with the young denim heads. Finding only more of the same old, same old on the high street the more adventurous are scouting further afield for new denim excitement.

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Where shapes are original denims are likewise, both with a history and romance not to be found in normal shops.

The touch is worn in soft rather than chemically achieved softness.  The light indigo is generally worn in and worn out lightened rather than chemically bleached.   Whilst the shape is baggy given the jeans were someone else's  first being cinched at the waist achieves  a more contemporary silhouette.

 Long Beach Antique Market 

Long Beach Antique Market 

Original Vintage jeans have achieved parallel status of vintage Louis Vuitton bags.   Vintage and flea markets in the USA are over subscribed with lovers of the original.   Items be they original or simply old have mostly  been cleaned, repaired, washed ready for another owner.  There are some however which remain in their original unwashed unworn dusty state - maybe, just maybe here is a real original find!

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Real vintage finds and revived popularity of seeking them out will serve to perpetuate the romance of blue denim on the high street.   Some prefer to have the originals replicated for them others prefer to experience the joy and excitement of finding the original for themselves..

CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Customised

Denim is a canvas to be made your own. 

Styles and shapes have change little over the past decades but our love affair continues.  Every little mark and blemish tells a story to be loved and enhanced with painting , stitching and applied accessories.

 Live Wyld Designs // Levi's 'Made in California Denim Jacket' // Ft. Lonesome chain embroidery patches

Live Wyld Designs // Levi's 'Made in California Denim Jacket' // Ft. Lonesome chain embroidery patches

If you cannot do it yourself there are always those who will do it for you. Take your own item and have Live Wyld Designs renovate and re-create using your well loved pieces as a canvas.

 Jacket - Live Wyld Designs

Jacket - Live Wyld Designs

Our denims are better when old and used. The touch becomes softer, the blue becomes your adorable friend, the shape is an echo of you so never throw them away.    Cherish these vintage imperfections and make them behave differently over your life. Then pass them onto someone else who can live in them like you.   Your best jeans are your oldest jeans.  Like Rufcut Denim LA your love affair with your denims, unlike the shade, never fades.

  Rufcut Denim // Ft. Lonesome 

 Rufcut Denim // Ft. Lonesome 

From a classic trucker beginning a fashion icon is born.  Pure walking art to be proud of.

Both ourselves and our jackets stoned, when hair was long, free love was the message and music transported us to another place to wear such a customised piece now takes us back to that time and makes us smile.

 Images - From 'American Denim' // Anaa Sui ss18 (Right)

Images - From 'American Denim' // Anaa Sui ss18 (Right)

CALIFORNIA DREAMING: The Hippy Trail

60's and 70's vintage denims. Low rise hipster Bell Bottoms, shrunk around the body and flared at the ankle.       The body is focus, the memory is of music and Psychedelic trips.   Woodstock and other music festivals promoted jeans and the hippy lifestyle to huge commercial success.  Such festivals today perpetuate the same marriage of fashion jeans and music culture

 Images -  'a denim story' 

Images -  'a denim story' 

Crazy patterns, pyjama stripes, giant platforms and cowboy boots are a part of this Sunshine State Festival mood.

 images - 'a denim story' // 'American Denim' // 'a denim story' 

images - 'a denim story' // 'American Denim' // 'a denim story' 

Denim is high stretch with long warp threads. The flared shape hanging over the big shoes.

 Flares image - 'a denim story'

Flares image - 'a denim story'

Light and bright blue denim is everything. It starts simple and classic in shape and style but the end result is personal, funky and fun customised beyond fashion.

 Jeans image 'American Denim' 

Jeans image 'American Denim' 

TREND ALERT - CALIFORNIA DREAMING: Sunshine State

The Sunshine State - the original denim state is where worship of the original and the romance begins again every summer.  It  has become less about new jeans, more about the original and customising carefree fashion from a denim base.  Focus on summer sun doing little or nothing with denims being your only clothing.  That's all you need.

Denim style today should be core basic, sun bleached from light indigos and whites. Easy fits, classic 70's styles ruled by shorts, shirts and skirts.  Vintage inspiration from last century yet modern for the 21st.  Keep it simple with an eye to the original.

 Image (right) from 'A Denim Story - Inspiration from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends' 

Image (right) from 'A Denim Story - Inspiration from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends' 

2x1 featherweight vintage weaves in crisp cottons or linen blends - naturally crushed and creased combines with man style jeans with oversized rolled cuffs in worn and bleached ecrus. 

 Images from 'A Denim Story - Inspiration from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends' 

Images from 'A Denim Story - Inspiration from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends' 

Tops and skirts are wrapped, tied and crushed. Green casted indigos are blends of linen, tencel, ramie and cotton.  Flares, playsuits in lighter weights with comfort stretch, always add a T shirt.  This has been the only summer uniform for decades .

 Images 'A denim story' // Stoned Immaculate Clothing 

Images 'A denim story' // Stoned Immaculate Clothing 

70's dreamin'.   Pattern blocked denim playsuits and gathered strappy tops.

 Stoned Immaculate Clothing

Stoned Immaculate Clothing

Stonewashing has reverted to a simple process with no degrading or spraying.  Wash down your denims with just stones or heavy machine action.  Reduce the chemicals and get back to basics.