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Denim

As part of our fall 2014 Men’s Shop Catalog, we profiled 4 real men of style and substance. Here, AG Jeans creative director Sam Ku.

In taking the reins at AG as the denim brand’s creative director, Sam Ku not only followed in the footsteps of his dad, who helped build the business from the ground up—he also took on the legacy of famed designer Adriano Goldschmied, AG’s original namesake.

In the years since, Sam has met and exceeded those high expectations, establishing AG as a leader in the technology that drives some of the most comfortable, stylish jeans on the market. Keep reading for his insights on USA manufacturing, keeping it simple, and the step-by-step craftsmanship that occurs at AG’s L.A. factory.

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5 Guys. 5 Trades. 5 Break-in Stories.

Our new collaboration with Nudie Jeans—Swedish master-craftsmen of raw denim in its purest form—follows five men of distinction over the course of nine months, as they do their best to beat up a crisp, new pair of jeans. You can follow their progress here on Men’s Shop Daily, as well as on Instagram.

Keep reading to meet the five guys—from a bicycle shaman to a caffeine connoisseur—whose stories, and jeans, we’ll be getting better acquainted with in the months to come.

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From dark and raw to bleached and faded, we can all agree that a great-fitting pair of jeans is a menswear essential that will never go out of style. With more new and unique denim brands entering our Men’s Shop lineup than ever before, we asked our buying team to name a few whose stories (and, of course, jeans) they thought you, our valued reader, would like to know. Keep reading for the low-down on eight cutting-edge denim brands—from zany Canadian start-ups to 125-year-old American icons.

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February 26, 2014

Nordstrom Men Talk Denim

Shopping for jeans online has its ups and downs. On the one hand, you have a huge selection of brands and styles to choose from—on the other, you can’t try them on to make sure the size is right. Enter our new, easy-to-use jeans size finder (you’ll find it on the product details page of every pair here).

Just grab two jeans you already own that fit well, type their sizes into the tool, and we’ll give you a size recommendation on a new pair.

To give it a test run, we asked four of our Nordstrom colleagues to try out new jeans based on our size recommendations. Keep reading to hear their thoughts on personal style, work, and of course, the best denim.

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You’re probably aware that Levi’s makes a great pair of jeans. But did you know Levi Strauss also invented today’s most prolific pant over 100 years ago, in order to outfit hard-working prospectors of the California gold rush?

A century later—after countless iterations of the classic 501 to best suit each generation of working men and women—a special branch of the Levi’s family, dubbed Levi’s Vintage Clothing, faithfully recreates the fabrics, packaging and fit of specific, bygone decades of denim. Because we firmly believe you should know your history to appreciate the present, we mined the LVC archive for incredible, period-specific memorabilia. Keep reading to see our favorites.

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What happens when our Men’s Shop video team goes to Las Vegas during Market Week? They run into Pharrell. They get down to brass tacks with up-and-coming design heroes. And they make some movie magic—amidst three furious days of menswear trade shows.

Watch the interview clips above to learn about the humble beginnings, advanced technology, and DIY ethos behind today’s best denim brands—then shop our Editor’s Picks below to start your quest for a new favorite pair. (Catch part 1 of our Vegas-trip Editor’s Picks here.)


L-R: Natural Selection | Levi’s Made & Crafted | 7 For All Mankind | Baldwin | Nudie


L-R: BLK DNM | AG Jeans | Hudson | Lee 101 USA | Raleigh Denim

 

Watch: More Videos in this Series

Shop All: ‘Denim, Reconstructed’ Featured Brands


Market Week: (noun) A series of concurrent menswear trade shows, during which our buyers spend a busy 72 hours hitting the best booths, meeting with dozens of designers and brand reps, and getting a hands-on look at what next season will have in store (literally).

Our video team tagged along to the trade shows in Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. Check out the trends they spotted below, with commentary by our Men’s Fashion Director Jorge Valls—and watch for video interviews with our favorite booth-keepers coming soon.

—  —  —

[Photos above via @NordstromMen on Instagram. Clockwise from top left:
Johan Lindeberg of BLK DNM; welcome to Project Las Vegas;
Marcus Troy's 'Blogger Project'; historical plaids with the good people at Grayers;
Todd Snyder showcasing his Champion collab; spotted in the wild at Stance socks.]

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Trend 1: Nautical Influences. “Breton stripes continue to be big. We’re starting to see maritime pops of color, like bold yellows and reds.” —Jorge Valls, Men’s Fashion Director

[Above: On-deck at Sperry Top-Sider;
a wavy show-goer with eye-catching accessories.]



Trend 2: Indigo Everything. “We saw every shade and shape of denim imaginable: raw, worn, torn, washed, you name it. Denim shirts and jackets. A chambray shirt is great to have—dress it up or down. Blue, in general, is everywhere. Deep indigos look especially good to me right now.” —Jorge Valls, Men’s Fashion Director

[Above: Black (and grey, and blue) denim at BLK DNM;
our denim-clad friend at AG Jeans.]



Trend 3: Tropical Skater. “The combination of floral/Hawaiian prints with skater/surf culture we’re seeing feels fresh, and is incredibly vibrant and colorful. Do one piece of pattern, or mix patterns and stripes together—there’s a version for every guy.” —Jorge Valls, Men’s Fashion Director

[Above: '90s-inspired hoodies with modern lines;
this guy mixed patterns like a pro.]



Trend 4: Tried and True. “Traditional men’s cues are still important—think heritage and prep. Keep it up-to-date with a modern fit.” —Jorge Valls, Men’s Fashion Director

[Above, clockwise from top left:
Matteo Gottardi of W.R.K.; inspired hosiery at Stance socks;
cream-color shawl-collars at Gant;
the wall of American-made boots at Red Wing.]

—  —  —

Watch for Market-Week video interviews in mid-September.
In the meantime, check out our street-style report live from the trade-show tents.

 
 

[Photos by Matthew Sumi. Quotes by Jorge Valls, Nordstrom Men's Fashion Director.]

From a garage band to a bike builder, and now to a blue-collar seafood aficionado, our tour of quintessential Seattle characters continues. The next Denim Shop episode in our nine-part series captures a day in the life of fishmonger Taho Kakutani, as he shovels ice and chucks sockeye at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market—all in a hard-working pair of AG Jeans.

Check out Taho’s bio on Pike Place Fish Market’s official site—and watch a comical but fantastic local news story about him here (Advil snatched him for a pain reliever spot before we did…at this point he’s never looked OR felt better).




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SHOP: AG JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

…And watch more Denim Videos here.

 
 

[Still photos by Robin Stein.]

Last month, we showed you how the lead singer of Seattle band Pickwick gets down (and annoys the neighbors). For our latest Denim Shop video profile, we got our hands dirty in the garage of motorcycle connoisseur Kia Karimi—and road-tested a sturdy pair of Joe’s Jeans.

A former pro fixed-gear bike rider who now builds custom choppers from scratch, Karimi nonchalantly says “I just love two wheels, I guess.” When he’s not wrenching on his latest creation, he works at Seattle’s small-batch, organic bitters company, Scrappy’s Bitters.

Hear about the symbiotic relationship between man and machine in the video above, and check out some outtakes from our shoot below.





SHOP: JOE’S JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM

…And watch more Denim Videos here.

 
 

[Still photos by Kyle Johnson.]

Swedish denim brand Nudie knows its way around a killer fit (see their spring 2013 lookbook image above)—but their philosophy runs way deeper than just looking good. Last year, Nudie achieved the difficult goal of converting to 100% organic cotton.

The eco-friendly journey doesn’t end there: Nudie takes impressive steps to extend the life of your jeans by offering tutorials on how to patch your pair at home and opening a brick-and-mortar repair shop in London. They even offer wrecked jeans a chance at reincarnation with amazing projects like handwoven recycled-denim rugs.

The images below illustrate the ironic beauty of Nudie’s craftsmanship—despite the outwardly gritty appearance, the dyeing and recycling processes being depicted are sustainable and environmentally conscious. (For a video of Nudie’s recycling process, check out our previous post on selvedge denim.)



Besides being a clear leader in sustainable jeans, Nudie also has its finger on the pulse of independent music. Here’s a live performance from Nudie’s store in Gothenburg, Sweden, by a band from the same town called The Shy Lips (who, according to their own Facebook page, have been producing the “Finest Swedish indie rock since 2012″). For many more in-store shows by the likes of Little Dragon, Band of Horses, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and more—check out Nudie’s website.


 

SHOP: NUDIE JEANS | ALL MEN’S DENIM
 
 

[Video and images courtesy of Nudie Jeans; Nudie production images photographed by Ulf Lundin. Individuals featured do not endorse Nordstrom.]