Denim

Embracing his entrepreneurial spirit and Midwestern attitude, designer Matt Baldwin of Baldwin Co. has disrupted the fashion game by creating American denim smack dab in the middle of the heartland.
Downtown Kansas City

Photographs by Ryan Strong

Baldwin is Kansas City; it’s durable, it’s industrious, it’s modern. With exceptional classics and seasonless staples, this KC-based brand is poised to put its community on the map as a fashion force. Step aside Brooklyn cool.

KC—the City of Fountains—is revered for sports, the arts and its absurdly good barbecue–wait-in-an-hour-long-line-outside-of-a-gas-station good. That good. The popular Power & Light district is an nightlife hot spot, Westport is a low-key favorite and the Plaza always makes for a great day of shopping (with a stop at Baldwin, of course).

Matt Baldwin

Matt Baldwin

We chatted with Matt about creating a clothing company, the perfect pair of jeans and the barbecue capital of the world.

SEE MATT’S KC PICKS AND BALDWIN CLOTHES INSIDE THE CITY’S PREMIERE ART GALLERY

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7 For All Mankind designer Steve Romero and president Barry Miguel; image courtesy 7 For All Mankind

The challenge was simple: make a pair of jeans that don’t shrink in the dryer. Because you know how jeans are, right? You wash and dry them, they get tighter.

That shrinkage, however endemic though it would seem to all cotton-based garments, was unacceptable for 7 For All Mankind designer Steve Romero and president Barry Miguel.

Two years later—20 prototypes, 150+ dryer trials and 1 winning recipe for the weave and the yarn—enter FOOLPROOF Denim, 7 For All Mankind’s newest innovation.

We got on the horn with Miguel for a FOOLPROOF overview and with Romero for a drilled-down conversation about what they’re calling the best denim ever.

Shop: 7 For All Mankind

Let’s pop the hood on these jeans, shall we?

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Fall Denim: Five Washes to Know

falldenimblack1There are a billion and one things to know about denim, but at this exact moment you only need to know two:

1) Slim fit is the new normal.

Don’t worry, wearing slim-fit jeans does not mean having an awful time trying to get your keys into/out of your pocket. It means you’re living in modern times.

2) Owning jeans in various washes is the move.

If you care about coordinating with your shoes and the rest of what you’re wearing, you’ll need a few pairs of jeans in different colors. Five washes for you to consider: black, distressed, grey, vintage inspired and dark wash.

Check out the murdered-out fit above and, below, four more ensembles to inspire you to master each category.

Shop: cold weather Chuck Taylors | DIESEL hoodie | BLK DNM t-shirt | J Brand jeans

Shop: all jeans

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How to Wear Jeans by Fit

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How to wear jeans in 2015? It all depends on the fit.

We want you to stay shining, so we must implore you to check our video where we break down the denim fits you need to know about: straight, slim-straight, slim and skinny.

In the video you’ll learn how to consider these shapes, what to wear with them and little styling tips that make a big difference.

We got you.

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Shop: Diesel jeansZanerobe sweatshirtBoss shirt1901 wingtip

These five denim washes/styles are perfect for right now–distressed, white wash, dark slim, bleached gray and black skinny. Here they are contextualized in five different outfits, shot at our own Studio N.

Consider this all FYI (for your inspiration). For more complete looks, hit this link.

Styling: Chad Christensen and Morgan Dillon

Photography: Joel Ramirez

Art Director: Eric Bay

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Perhaps you’ve been following True Religion premium denim since the brand’s inception in the early 2000s in Manhattan Beach, CA. If so, you already know some designs: the name-making bootcut jean and maybe also the more recent jogger silhouettes–though the boot fit is definitely still in the building.

The brand is growing its audience now with new official spokespeople, basketball star Russell Westbrook and supermodel Joan Smalls. But let’s talk about unofficial spokespeople for a second.

Because there’s a good chance you learned about True Religion from rappers.

In the last decade and change, rappers have shouted out “Trues” 50 billion times in their lyrics, including heavyweights such as Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz and Jim Jones.

To sate our curiosity about how and why this came to be, we sent David Drake, one of our favorite music journalists and rap experts, deep into the True Religion/rap music overlap.

This is his report.

–Andrew Matson

Shop: True Religion

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New York lifestyle photos & all denim flat and detail photos by Velvet Sea Media; San Francisco lifestyle photos by  Matthew Reamer; Seattle lifestyle photos by Thomas Akin; Los Angeles & Chicago lifestyle by Sean Klingelhoefer; animations by Studio 30

What does a year of wear and tear look like on a pair of jeans? If they’re Nudie jeans, really good.

Don’t believe? Peep the finale of the Swedish brand’s #breakingdenim campaign: five guys, five cities, five pairs of jeans, one year.

Here is post #1. This is post 2, with full documentation of a year in the field.

Shop: Nudie

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Throwback Thursday: ’70s Denim

retro throwback 70s denim vintage

There you two were on your canoe in the best jeans 1977 had to offer, romantic tension having built to roughly a billion pounds per square inch. And then…exploding soda.

The moral of this story is to seize the moment and express your heart. Let the chips fall where they may. Because if you don’t break the silence something else will.

Shop: Men’s denim

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Hands down, the colors appearing most frequently in the Nordstrom catalog from winter 1987: light blue and peach. Huge colors that year. And lo, here chill two supremely outfitted dudes, owning both. Tough to pick a winner, but we’d have to go with Goldilocks on the left. That all-denim fit is slamming!

Shop: Men’s jeans

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What’s the best thing about this image from the 1986 Nordstrom catalog? Well, all that denim is certainly not to be undervalued.

But check out what homegirl all the way on the left is doing with her shirt tails through her belt loops. Tying a knot in the front is an established style move. But going through the loops and knotting to create a smallish exposed triangle–that’s next-level.

Shop: Men’s jeans | Women’s jeans | Men’s denim jackets | Women’s denim jackets

—Andrew Matson

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