Reading Renzo Rosso‘s, founder of the Diesel brand, interview in last week’s the Observer Fashion Special got me thinking about designer denim. In particular, the pre-aged, pre-ripped type. Rosso waxes lyrical about how he kickstarted the destroyed denim trend over 30 years ago. He “made holes, imperfections, variations, idiosyncrasies that suggested history, character, past lives.” Natch. Over 30 years of really terrible denim ensued. You know, the kind with bleached track marks over the back leg that ladies of a certain spatial dimension, who should really know better, love to wear. Look At Me Denim.©
The same supplement also profiled Tamburlaine Gorst, a menswear designer who also likes to take a pair of scissors and the odd pumice stone to a garment. Interestingly, Sally Brampton’s rather insightful piece in the current Intelligent Life magazine, paints a different picture – or should that be, rips a different 5 pocket? – on the Diesel Effect. I really recommend getting a copy of the magazine. Ms Brampton compares different consumer market levels to decide who is the best at a high, low and medium fashion – London, Paris or Milan? On Diesel, her 17 year old daughter comments: “Boring… What’s creative about jeans that cost £150… none of my mates would wear it, but I’m trying to be kind so I’ll give it 5 (out of 10.)” Ouch. I wonder what Mr. Rosso, the out-spoken, would have to say about the response of the youth to his self-proclaimed brand of cool?
“Designer Denim” bugs me. I find this idea of pre-ageing and all the, albeit mind-boggling industrious processes, fake. I like my denim quite simple. A good quality cloth, 5 pockets and a slim-ish cut with narrow cuffs. In classic colours. Indigo, grey and occasionally black. Fashionable utilitarianism is a bit oxymoronic. Why bother? The beauty of denim is that it ages the more you wear it. It takes on its own character and flaws as time goes by. Each time-faded rip should tell a story. A true story and not one prefabricated by some underpaid worker in India or Turkey that will probably die of lung cancer due to all the microscopic fibres inhaled. Not that I am in anyway implying this about the Diesel brand. I know nothing of where or how they produce their denim but I’d like to think that they would ensure the best conditions for their workers. It’s a matter of personal taste. One man’s acid wash is another man’s poison, and all the rest. I just find the concept symptomatic of the world we live in. A sort of inherent laziness. The quick blue fix jumped over the lazy slog. Who cares about authenticity?! As if!
The pair you see photographed here are over 12 years old. They’re by G-Star and were a dark indigo when I got them. Over time they’ve faded to azure and I’ve ripped and patched them as was needed. Crotch falling to bits? Why not rip off a back pocket and stitch it in? Pocket bag full of holes? My solution was to hand-stitch what was left of them directly onto the outside. As they shrunk with each wash I seemed to grow consecutively wider. I once had a 28inch waist? Really? The slits on the pockets was my desperate attempt to give me a little breathing space over the thigh area and perhaps a few more months of wear. Ingenious, no? Marvel at my creativity! This is the real deal. No sand-blasting, no clever washing, scrubbing techniques. Just a knackered pair of jeans that I was inseparable from for many a happy, slimmer year. There is NO WAY that they are ever going to fit me again. I think I’ll frame them. Le Fat Noir. Adios.
© images above, copyright Le Fist Noir. If you so happen to think: nice idea, I’ll rip ‘em off, then DON’T. Ask nicely and I might let you have the original. For a fair price. Believe me, I’ll find out and you really don’t want to go there. Really.