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.
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.
Good to know: Every Nordstrom store is staffed with expert Personal Stylists, who can help you look amazing at an important event, locate the perfect gift, or just keep you up-to-date on the essentials you need to stay current each season. Their services are free of charge, so don’t hesitate to book an appointment today.
For this month’s installment of our Personal Stylist blog series, three female stylists from our flagship store in Downtown Seattle—Christie Coover, Nicole Jackson and Lisa Proko—fill us in on the five key items they’d love to see every man master this season.
1. Bold Color. “It’s fun to see guys wearing brights such as yellow, red, orange, and blue. This trend works in knitwear, linen, denim, even leather. If you’re nervous about executing it properly, relax. Just pair your one bright piece with neutrals—khaki, taupe, navy. Works every time. Ying and yang.” [Above: John W. Nordstrom Cotton Blazer]
2. Pumped-Up Kicks. “With our love of brights right now, we love to see color on guys’ feet, too. This looks great beyond sneakers—think boat shoes, oxfords, loafers. Speaking of boat shoes, we’re kind of obsessed. Such an easy alternative to the sneaker. A high-quality shoe with your suit is also a must—try stepping it up with a wingtip or double-monk slip-on. Women take notice when you care about the details.” [Above: John Varvatos Star USA Canvas Buck]
3. Jeans That Fit. “Similar to a great-fitting suit [see below], women want to see guys get a spot-on fit with their jeans. Jeans are such a staple because you can wear them so many ways: Dress them up with a blazer and skinny tie, or throw them on with a soft T-shirt and hoodie. Either way, have a salesperson help you find the fit works best for your build. Pick up multiple kinds (colorful, white, skinny, destroyed) so your denim doesn’t start to look like a uniform.” [Above: PRPS 'Rambler' Slim-Fit Selvedge Jeans]
4. A Well-Tailored Suit. “There’s a quote floating around Pinterest right now that says, ‘A well-tailored suit is to women what lingerie is to men’…And we agree! Nothing says sharp, smart, and confident like a great-fitting suit. It’s timeless. For a proper fit, your suit jacket should hug your shoulders. Try on a size smaller than you think you are, just to see how it fits. We like a slim lapel best. It’s fun to see guys do something custom and unique to show their style, like add a ticket pocket or wear a colorful pocket square.” [Above: Hugo Boss Trim-Fit Suit]
5. Eye-Catching Patterns. “Some men might be hesitant to mix patterns together—but we say go for it! As long as you vary the scale and color, you should be good to go. For beginners, feel free to start slow: Same rules apply as with bright colors, just pair your pattern with neutrals so it’s not overwhelming.” [Above: Zanerobe Shirt]
When we interviewed AG Jeans Creative Director Sam Ku a few months ago, we noticed his favorite style icons were all of a vintage nature. From rough-around-the-edges antiheroes like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman to infamous ladies’ man Serge Gainsbourg, it was clear that Ku’s inspiration draws largely from the past—which provides a logical context for the latest lineup from AG Jeans.
Dubbed ‘AG-ed Vintage,’ the collection utilizes AG’s modern jean-crafting expertise in an ode to time-honored treasures discovered at a rare vintage shop. Each style is labeled with a number of years—the higher the number, the older the inspiration.
Here are a few favorites, from dusted-up greys that would look at home in the driver’s seat of a Mustang, to gently distressed blues for prowling Paris with Jane Birkin on your arm:
The deadline is drawing near for J Brand’s #TylerChallenge (in which Nordstrom employees all over America compete to break in their J Brand ‘Tyler’ Raw Selvedge Jeans as creatively as possible—and capture the process via Instagram).
Check out our first batch of #TylerChallenge pics here—and in the coming weeks, keep an eye out for the winner, who will get a chance to tour J Brand’s factory in California. In the meantime, here are our latest favorite images of J Brand’s raw jeans in action. (Check out many more on Instagram, under hashtag #TylerChallenge).
One of our Rail buyers (@Yellow_Govna, left) takes his J Brands high-low with wingtips and camo—while another Rail buyer (@DanDrewes, right) airs his out after a day of yard work.
[First image up top: @TamerlaneJunior, the legend continues.]
Kick flips and nose grinds are an effective way to loosen up stiff, raw denim (@NBozich, left). Jeans, T-shirt, Chucks—classic off-duty uniform with @Eric_Eugene (right).
We always appreciate women in menswear—and @OliveJuiceJay (left) does it with the best. Elsewhere, @SamuraiGeek accelerates the breaking-in process with a dip in a salt-water pool.
Two guys who are not afraid to put their J Brands to work: @SamuraiGeek rock-climbing, and @DanDrewes building a deck.
When Jay-Z wears your stuff, you know you’re doing something right. But the proof is in the pudding—here are the five Baldwin styles we have in-stock for Spring; try on a pair and see for yourself why GQ called Mr. Baldwin “the high priest of low-key gear.”
Hoping for a glimpse inside Baldwin’s creative process, we asked the designer to name a few current influences. His responses, exclusive to Men’s Shop Daily, are below. (Check out more on the brand’s Instagram feed, @Baldwin).
[Clockwise from top left]:
1. Mammoth Mountain, CA. “My first visit to Mammoth was this March, and I hit the powder trip of the year. My love for the sport led me into the clothing industry. Living in Kansas City, a good pow day is few and far between. This was an epic trip.”
2. DJ’ing the 2012 MLB All-Star Game. “I was asked to DJ the All-Star Game this last year, so I brought a good friend and musician, Miles Bonny, to play with me. A random and super cool highlight of last year.”
3. When Radiohead Played KC. “Radiohead has been on constant rotation for me since high school. They played a show in Kansas City last year, and I was stoked to meet them in our shop. They got jeans, and I got to check them out live for the first time. Amazing show.”
4. Farnsworth House / Lego Architecture Series. “Modern architecture and design has been a core foundation of the brand’s roots since the beginning. I have two boys, ages 5 and 7. Lego mania has taken over the Baldwin home. It’s super rad having relevant, cool things to do with your kids.”
5. GQ Best New Menswear Designer 2013. “This year started off with an amazing honor. I’m very blessed to be considered amongst the industry’s top talent. The future is bright.”
A few months ago, we had a wild idea: Round up nine interesting guys here in our hometown of Seattle, have them pull on a cool pair of jeans, ask them a couple questions, and show you what they had to say. In the first of many more to come, the clip above features Galen Disston, lead singer of local band Pickwick, wearing DIESEL jeans.
Pickwick has been making noise (both literally and figuratively) here in Seattle for a while now—especially on our killer public radio station KEXP—but with a full-length debut released earlier this month, we have a feeling you’ll be hearing a lot more of this ’60s-inspired garage R&B band very soon. Their soulful rendition of Richard Swift’s ‘Lady Luck’ (featuring Sharon Van Etten), below, has been stuck in our heads all week—and is available for free download at Pickwick’s official website:
Having completed their new album, the lads of Pickwick are currently on tour. You might have missed the first leg (which included an appearance at SXSW), but there are plenty of rocking indie-rock engagements that remain to be seen. Watch the short audio/video list of tour dates below to see if Pickwick is heading for a town near you:
On a related note, we especially dig the band’s Instagram feed, which documents the daily recording, touring, and general goings-on of six souls who are very into music (and sometimes Star Wars)—all in poetic black and white. Here’s a sample, but follow them on Instagram (@PickwickMusic) for more:
Finally, here are a few recent favorites by our featured denim brand, DIESEL®—which is as renowned for its impeccable fits as it is for innovative fabrics and artisanal aging techniques:
(From left): ‘Darron’- A classic slim-leg with subtle, natural fading.
Reminds us (in a good way) of our hipster-dads’ garage jeans in the ’80s.
‘Thanaz’- a slim-straight fit with degradé sky-blue stripes—
a unique alternative to spring-staple white jeans.
‘Narrot’- For true denim connoisseurs, this slouchy, cropped cut
comes complete with drop crotch and palm print. Mahalo.
In a blatant (and successful) attempt to win over our entire Men’s Shop organization, top-shelf denim label J Brand provided Nordstrom employees across the country with a fresh pair of their ‘Tyler’ slim-straight, raw selvedge jeans—and a challenge: to wear the hell out of them over the course of a month and a half, and document the process via Instagram.
The games began March 1; here’s a cross-section of our favorite snaps so far, from corporate HQ’ers in Seattle to store associates in Nashville, and everywhere in between.
Pristine jeans on day 1—shot by Instagram users/Nordstrom employees @TristanChiu (left) and @DannyMankin (whom you’ve seen on this blog before).
@SdelaCruz16 (left) displaying how nicely selvedge denim cleans up…and @TristanChiu (right) reminding us that jeans are designed to #getdirty.
Raw jeans start stiff, but @Eric_Eugene (left) of Long Beach seems determined to soften ‘em up. We enjoyed his hashtaggery (#skateordie, #denimporn, #eatdenimforsnacks) and his caption on an alt photo: “Day 9 #tylerchallenge. Tryin to wreck these joints. I’m gonna see if someone can bury me alive in these.” Elsewhere, @BerNog7 (right) takes us from skateboards to bowties.
@BerNog7 (left) with a fistful of denim. @TamerlaneJunior (right) doing a dapper version of denim-on-denim, while displaying a perfect pre-spring pant roll with his #tasselloafers.
Female counterparts around our office couldn’t resist getting in on the action—@Miss_Melia_Ann (left) literally stole this pair from one of the guys. @NBozich (right) with a reminder that, despite all the debonair denim/sportcoat/wingtip combos we’re used to these days, jeans and sneakers are forever.
@SdelaCruz (left) and his J Brands on the wheels of steel. @TamerlaneJunior (right) going camo x neon x selvedge x…maybe locked out of his house? Once you can hop a fence in your raw denim, you know you’re on the way to wearing them in right.
Our friends to the near-East, at Bellevue Square Nordstrom (a few miles from our flagship and HQ in downtown Seattle)—showing that the Tyler slim-straight is an ideal cut for any guy, any style. Shot by @ENadler.
Naked & Famous Denim sources its fabrics only in Japan, at prestigious mills steeped in heritage and renowned for craftsmanship—and manufactures its jeans only in the brand’s homeland of Canada, on high-quality machinery run by well-trained staff.
The result is top-shelf, no-nonsense jeans, at a great price, for veteran denim-heads and newcomers alike. (Plus some freaky denim experiments—more on that later.)
The other result is that, after countless trips from Canada to Japan and back, Naked & Famous founder Brandon Svarc and team have become connoisseurs of both nations’ cultures. Below are Svarc’s travel tips (warnings?) for the next time you’re up North—or far East.
I. SPORTS Japan: Baseball. “We attended a Climax Series (that’s what they call Playoffs) in Tokyo on our last visit, and it was so much fun. The cheering is orderly and organized—it’s highly different from North-American fans. At the 7th-inning stretch, everyone simultaneously launches blue balloons in the air! It’s quite a sight.” Canada: Hockey. “Not shockingly, we love hockey. We love to play on ice, roller and floor. Funny enough, we actually once made denim-and-leather baseball mitts, so I guess the next sports creation from our brand should be denim-covered hockey gauntlets.”
II. FOOD Japan: Udon. “Okayama is where we buy our denim fabric, and there are many famous Udon restaurants that we hit up each time we visit. I prefer hot Udon with shrimp tempura. Mmm.” Canada: Poutine. “If you ever visit Montreal, you are not allowed to leave before eating poutine! It’s french fries with squeaky cheese curds and gravy poured on top! Also mmm.”
III. BOOZE Japan: Habushu. “It’s this crazy alcohol from Okinawa, Japan, that contains a venomous cobra inside the bottle! We have three bottles in our office. The Japanese say it makes your bamboo stiff.” Canada: Ice Wine. “To be honest, this isn’t our personal favorite to drink, but it is our favorite gift to bring each time we visit Japan. It’s made in Canada, and creating a wine out of frozen grapes makes a great story to tell.”
IV. ADULT ENTERTAINMENT Japan: Hostess Clubs. “Japanese adult clubs aren’t what you might think. In fact, there is no nudity allowed. Fabric suppliers love taking us to these places where cute Japanese girls sit and pour your drinks and talk to you about life, and anything really. You pay by the hour, but it’s all-you-can-drink.” Canada: Danse Contact. “Montreal is quite famous for its gentleman’s clubs. It’s said that we have more than Vegas! Personally, we only attend these places if one of our friends is having a bachelor party, but the veterans know that the best clubs to visit are the ones that say ‘Danse Contact’ in the window, which means it’s 100% legal to…” [Ed. note: The rest of this sentence omitted for the sake of decency.]
V. SCENERY Japan: Kojima Hotel View. “We always stay at the same hotel in Kojima, Japan, which is a beautiful city in the countryside near Okayama, where there are many fabric mills and denim companies. There is a stunning view of the Great Seto Bridge, which is the longest two-tiered bridge system in the world.” Canada: Whistler Blackcomb. “While in Whistler, BC, a few years ago, I ventured to the top of the giant Blackcomb mountain glacier. It took like three or four chairlifts and two buses to get there! But once at the top, it was one of the most spectacular views I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life.”
Coming Soon from Naked & Famous. Here’s the brand’s founder Brandon Svarc talking up the styles we’ll carry at the Nordstrom Men’s Shop this coming spring.
Advanced Color-Change Technology. Did he say ‘thermo-chromic’? Here they are in action.
The Everest of Denim. Those freaky denim experiments we mentioned earlier? Here’s one from previous seasons: jeans so thick, they can stand up on their own. Watch to hear the method behind Svarc’s madness.
[Top grid of photos courtesy of the official Naked & Famous Denim Instagram feed: @NFDenim. Videos courtesy of the brand's official YouTube channel, and the Montreal Gazette. Additional photos via Wikipedia, except as noted here: Japanese baseball fans via; Demi Moore from Striptease movie poster courtesy of Castle Rock Entertainment, Lobell/Bergman Productions, Columbia Pictures; Great Seto Bridge via; Whistler Blackcomb via. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]
Besides offering a deftly executed example of the lost art of stop-motion video, the clip above, from LA-based Paige Denim, also illustrates the finer points that set their latest collection apart from the crowd: a black gloss-finished button, cobalt-blue keyhole, all-black rivets, burgundy inseams, a lower U-stitch on the back pocket for a balanced look, and a refined leather patch in back that’s embossed with the Paige logo.
It all adds up to a killer pair of jeans, whether you opt for a dressy, dark blue for the office or a pre-distressed pair for the weekend. Read additional notes below on Paige’s carefully crafted washes, which, this season, are “inspired by the vast depths and infinite possibilities” of the oceanic world off the Southern California coastline.
Paige ‘Federal’ Slim-Fit Jeans in ‘Uncharted’ —Paige’s first American-milled, raw-denim jean acts as the basis for other washes in the collection. The 11.25-ounce fabric is perfect for year-round wear, and will result in a one-of-a-kind look once you’ve worn it for a few months. The ‘Federal’ is Paige’s newest and slimmest fit. (shop this item)
Paige ‘Normandie’ Slim Straight-Leg Jeans in ‘Castaway’ — Sourced and constructed right here in the USA, each individual pair is carefully hand-sanded and washed-down to create the perfect mix of old and new. Because they’re designed to have a pre-worn look, ‘Castaway’-wash jeans will quickly form to your movements as if you’ve been wearing them for years. (shop this item)