Some highlights from the first fitting.
At a certain point in the pursuit of anything it becomes necessary to either have something made to your specifications or make it yourself. Something that has always frustrated me is trying to find anything (a jacket, shoes, or jeans) that has all the details I like, is styled to my tastes and —most importantly — fits. The world of denim is hyper-focused on details, quality and construction. Everyone has their preferences; denim weight, stitch count and variance, type and number of buttons used. For me it has always been a trade off between my ideal style of jeans and finding a pair that fits well. If your $500 limited edition, 32 oz left hand twill Ironhearts, hand dyed by 100 Okinawa virgins don’t fit well, you would have done better to have saved your money, gone to Levis and found a pair that fit.
If you’re removed from a major city the search is even harder: Without trying on the merchandis you find yourself in a grey zone of measurement and comparison. The logical solution, and next step in the growing worldwide interest in denim, is for bespoke and made-to-measure makers to step forward. Shops have already opened in SF, and NY, and now LA has its own with Den.m bar’s opening a few months ago.
"Bespoke" needs some clarification before we go on. Five years ago the word was nearly forgotten, and now its used and abused everywhere, nearly a meaningless catch phrase. Bespoke doesn’t mean customer chosen details or fabric, or a choice in style/ silhouette, or even a garment that is made to your measurments. It is a garment made completely to the customers specification, the materials used, style or silhouette he requests, and whatever details he might ask for. An argument can be made that many bespoke tailors won’t drastically alter their house silhouette to suit a customer’s wishes. When I can afford a trip to Saville Row, we can have that conversation.
I have a few pairs of selvege jeans that work for everyday, so I wanted to go for something that would look good at night, dressed up with a jacket. I went with a slim leg, no coin pockets (so not technically jeans), subdued stitching, a higher rise and a zipper over buttons to keep the pant front flat. All this wrapped up in a Nishinbo 13.5 ounce selvege denim, darker, sleeker, and not too hot for summer. J’s pair is following tomorrow, for you traditionalists out there…