Denim HQ – Levels Of Perfection, Or a Lesson In Subjectivity?

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Whilst idling the hours away in cyber space yesterday I happened to come across an article on a well known denim web site concerning a certain successful kickstarter denim brand. The article presenting some interesting points, but the comments section and subsequent research to which they lead, were the real eye opener.

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The gist of the comments amounted to little more than an argument between two camps, camp A had a contention that the kickstarter brand represented unbelievable value by offering the same fabrics as more expensive and well regarded Japanese brands for relatively little money (comparatively), camp B contended that the kickstarter brand used stock rather than the proprietary fabrics developed by the higher end brands, lacked the details of the higher end brands and even the intangible mythos or mystique of (particularly), Japanese denim. The argument went something like this (I am paraphrasing).

A) All you guys buying your $350 jeans are mugs and poseurs, these jeans rock hard.

B) But they lack the details and use stock fabrics so you can’t really compare.

A) What details? You need to take your head out of your ass, they’re jeans.

B) Vintage machines, proprietary fabrics, different threads and a good story about the brand.

A) A story? Really? You need your jeans to have a narrative to justify the purchase.

And on and on it went…..

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I’m going to pitch my stake in the sand here and say that this is just a case of complete and utter subjectivity. A case of different people having different expectations, needs and wants and then reacting quite badly to other people who don’t share their rigid view of how denim should be. I could speculate on the reasons behind this, I could surmise that if a person has backed a crowd fund with hard cash that they are less than eager to admit disappointment as they may feel like they are saying that they fell for the con, I could go the other way and say that people who have paid more for their jeans could feel the need to justify that spend by focussing on details and lording the perceived superiority. It is probably all true but does not change the point that none of it actually matters, like two goldfish in bowl arguing over which one is the most wet.

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The fact is, and not only when it comes to denim, we all have different levels of expectation and we all place more value on certain details, characteristics or points of purchase than others. Does this make anyone wrong? Does this make one person better than another? Does it matter who’s jeans are better or more expensive if the wearer is happy with them? If you answered yes to any of those then you need to turn your computer off and go for a walk, the internet has become too much for you.

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To take it a step further, the details which I look for in a pair of jeans are as follows…

– Interesting fabric with character.
– Flattering cut.
– Ethical production and supply chain.
– Good quality hardware.
– Hard wearing pocket bags.
– Subtle detailing in terms of the stitching, patch and other features.

I have determined that if all these details are in place and to a sufficient level then I will pay what the cost is, if these details are not in place then the jeans wouldn’t interest me anyway. I know that some of the guys commenting there would regard me as a jeans snob, they would laugh at me paying $350 for Japanese jeans rather than $150 for the kickstarter because to them the jeans have too little variance to make the $200 a consideration, that fine but to me they do, and no one can really tell you that your wrong when it is completely a matter of personal opinion, taste and subjectivity.

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Unfortunately the comments did lead me to look at some of the marketing from this kickstarter brand and it seems that their own words may well fan the flames, they claim to be “redefining quality menswear, starting with denim”, and “using materials which are equal of any other jeans on the market”. Of course they are just words, of course it is simply marketing but if you take those words, believe them and use them as a club to beat anyone who does not agree with you then it will certainly lead to the kind of aggressive debate I saw yesterday.

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Your jeans are better for you, not anyone else, you jeans are worth what you paid for them (whatever that is) if you think they were, not anyone else. Don’t use someone else’s ideal to beat down people who don’t favour “your brand”, does it really matter? Buy jeans, wear jeans, enjoy jeans, job done.

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