The luxury industry is a strange beast. The relationship between price and quality is tenuous at best, with some pieces worth digging deep – shoes and suits, say, where cost tends to be tied to craftsmanship – and others an object lesson in why marketing bods command six-figure salaries.
Denim straddles both. At one end you get your statement jeans, where for close to half a grand you can buy denim shredded by someone in Saint Laurent’s atelier. Or for less than half the price, a pair constructed by hand according to techniques a century old, which with the right care and occasional patch-up will probably last you as long.
No matter how much we praise the high street for bringing us affordable selvedge, the fact remains that the good stuff isn’t mass produced. Instead, it’s crafted in small runs, likely either in Osaka in Japan or at Cone Denim’s White Oaks mill in the US. Which is where Swedish denimheads Nudie decamped when they decided to manufacture their own pair of premium jeans.
The mill has been running since 1905 and boasts a client list that includes Levi’s, J.Crew and Tellason Jeans. And now, Nudie. The brand has tapped up Cone Denim for 1,000 pairs of jeans in 14.75oz selvedge, cut in a new silhouette: the Lean Dean.
It’s very much an American affair, with the organic cotton picked from Texas, weaved into denim in North Carolina and then handsewn at San Francisco institution Last Denim, with the production number embossed on its leather waistband patch. So you know that your extra outlay is buying quality. And comes with an assurance you’ll be still be wearing your new jeans in a decade.
Nudie US Selvage Lean Dean is available now from nudiejeans.com, priced £185