I just stopped by to visit our old friend Mike Hodis at his new Rising Sun store in Eagle Rock, here in Northeast Los Angeles. They’re having a sample sale today, and I grabbed some of his beautiful jeans for my wife, along with some Christmas gifts for the family. Mike and company will be there until five, and by appointment thereafter, so drop them a line. Their number is 323-982-9798.
My Recommendation for Jeans: 3sixteens
APCs tend to be the standard recommendation for people looking to get their first pair of quality jeans. In my experience, there are disadvantages to the old standard. They stretch out much more than other jeans, have poor stitching, and aren’t built from Japanese denim. I recently had a great conversation with Kiya Babzani, co-owner of Self Edge, one of the leading denim shops in the world, about why APCs have become so popular, despite their mediocre quality.
“APCs got into the scene really early and offered a raw selvedge jean with nothing on the back pockets at a good price,” Kiya explained. “There are other brands but most of [them] have a very Americana look to their branding. APCs were a crossroads between fashion and classic […] a more simple, almost ‘fashion,’ look as opposed to a straight reproduction vintage style look which was originally designed for workwear.”
Nowadays, however, we have more options in the sub-$200 price point, and for such buys, I think 3sixteen’s jeans are the best that you can get. Unlike APCs, they’re actually made from Japanese denim (specifically a 14.5 oz red-line selvedge denim woven at Kuroki Mills).
“The Japanese have mastered the art of producing denim, and textiles in general,” Kiya said. “Their textile producing techniques date back further than most of the world, as they produced extremely complex (even for today) fabrics for kimonos, which were dyed with the most exotic dyes and woven on wooden looms.”
What’s so special about 3sixteen’s particular Japanese denim? For one, it’s woven exclusively for them, which is rare for a company that isn’t the size of Levis or Gap. The material is pure indigo dyed, with no sulfur, which gives the jeans a deeper blue color than many other models you’ll find on the market. At the same time, there is minimal processing, which allows the denim to retain some hairiness and prevents it from looking too sleek or uniform. They also have an interesting weave. The 14.5oz weight gives the jeans some heft, but the open ended weft yarns leave the jeans fairly soft on the inside. In short, the denim is some of the most handsome I’ve seen and comfortable I’ve worn.
The best thing about the jeans, however, is the fit. While the company makes a slim tapered model (ST-100x), I favor the straight legged (SL-100x). They have a respectable rise and a flattering fit all around. If you like the fit of slim, but not skinny, trousers, you’ll probably like the fit of the SL-100x.
You can get a pair from Self Edge for $195. They’ll hem your jeans with a traditional chainstitch for free, which will give you a roping effect as your jeans age. That’s still a bit pricey for many people, to be sure, but if you’re looking to get some quality jeans, I can’t think of a better first buy.
It’s On Sale
Gap Selvage Standard Fit Jeans
These are a one-wash jean, so there’s no need to soak, they’ve already been shrunk. I’m not nuts about the selvage coin pocket, but for $18, who’s to complain?
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the cost of a domestically-produced pair of premium blue jeans. Ignore the fact that this is a laughable play for the unadorned, “authentic” market by True Religion. The numbers are fascinating. The markups here are significant, but not ridiculous. There are overhead significant costs that aren’t listed here - not least of which is marketing.
Among the other interesting findings is that only 1% of the jeans market is for jeans that cost more than $50.
“You’re too old to be wearing all that denim. It is not hip.”— Larry David to Jay Leno
Taylor got into sewing about a year ago, and he just made himself these jeans. Holy moley.
Kiton makes some of the finest (and most expensive) ready-to-wear men’s clothing in the world. They also make these blue jeans, which apparently cost $870. Sort of like a handmade, organic selvage Kirkland Signature. These are like the denim equivalent of Donald Trump’s hairpiece.
And people complained about us covering Rising Sun…
Q and Answer: When Will My Jeans Fade?
Isaac writes: i got some nudie raw selvedge jeans about 3 weeks ago. i have been wearing the hell out of them yet, still NO FADES!!! is there anything i am doing wrong? please write me back.
Isaac, the same impatience that leads you to forgo capitalization at the beginning of sentences has betrayed you again.
You will generally start to see fading after a few months, with more appearing after your first wash, six months or so in. Super-faded jeans like those above are usually the product of a year or more of heavy wear.
“Whaddya get there?”
“Yeah… I bought dungarees.”
“Kramer… they’re painted on!”
“They’re slim-fit. They’re streamlined.”