This photo almost never happened… I’m not reorienting towards modelling, but Keoni Levan, my designer best friend (full disclosure) invited me to golf in Lake Placid, NY, and swing by Whiteface Mountain to help with his look book. Don’t ask me why, but overzealous customs agents thought we didn’t look like two golfers, all tattooed and in our crisp new jeans, and after a very flustering question period in the back office, shipped us back to Canada! One of their colleague obviously felt bad and told us to come again. Which we did the next week, when the weather sucked for golf but made for beautiful pics!
My wife often tells me that when I like a piece of clothing, I wear it too often and that with all the washes that ensue, I’ll unfortunately get to wear it out too fast. With my new pair of Japanese selvedge denims, made in L.A. and designed in Montreal, I was surprised to learn (and then happy to tell her) that the second part of the equation, all that washing, could be ignored for a while. You see, Ke had told me that I should don them as much as possible without washing them… and I mean for months, if not years!
It’s all part of the unique aging and fading process of this particular type of top quality denim. When I do finally wash them, the fading will be absolutely unique and take the form of my movements, of where the jean folds when I wear it (or let it lie on our bedroom floor and leave it there for days, much to Loli’s chagrin)! The whole thing is really quite impressive.
Something else that impresses is the talented multidisciplinary artist that is behind the new men’s denim line. His attention to detail, his drawing skills, his photographer’s eye.
And his perseverance. When I look at where Kle is today, I am always reminded of « How to Make it in America », a cool HBO show I recommend by the way. The series is about two buddies in NY trying to launch their denim line. And it’s hard! In the second episode, the pair meets with John Varvatos and the head of his jean department for advice. The main tip they get is « not to go into this business. That it is a waste of money and time. »
Keoni was in the beginning phases of his project at the time that episode aired, in 2010. And I remember wincing at that point in particular and as the show in general always struck me as a pretty dire warning of hardships to come. But you see, he prefered to rely on his gut, continue chasing the dream and dwell on other quotes from the show, like: « You know the secret to selling jeans? Cool pockets. »
Representing Japan’s most impressive mountain, Mount Fuji (homage to whence Kle’s materials hail from), the fading pockets could look even more like that snowy tip as years go by, depending on how you sit I guess!
To the disappointment of many (Kle and I included), HBO, in a rare lack of insight, failed to apply the show’s message about perseverance towards « making it in America » and canceled it after two seasons.
Well, Keoni DID persevere and is on his way to making it in Canada, after a detour in Japan and an extended stay in L.A. to supervise a long and sometimes frustrating manufacturing process.
The learning curve was steep, but the line is launched and he’s already thinking of his upcoming products. Like that phenomenal tease of a denim bag you see here and there on kledenim.com.
You will also get all your specific, and honestly quite fascinating, denim care tips on the company’s Facebook page.
And remember, wear them as much as possible, rain or shine, it will only add to their personality when you decide you can’t wait any longer and must wash them.
I’ll update this post next Spring to show you my unique fades. And you can show me yours!