We often turn to Italy for style tips, given that they’re known for their tailoring, but what gives their denim that something special?
Perhaps the answer to that question can be expressed in just one word: tradition. For generations, Italy has been synonymous with style, not only because of the way that the people there dress and how seriously they take their style, but also they have history and experience, something that really does count when a piece of clothing proudly displays ‘Made in Italy’ on the label.
The history is so rich, that the word ‘jeans’ even comes from the French word for Genoa (Genes), where the first jeans were made. Everybody wears jeans, from supermodels to your average person on the street, so what makes this universal garment so appealing, and what brings it to the forefront in Italy?
Again, the secret to this is in the making. Jeans are made from cotton, sure, but they’re woven in a different way to produce the diagonal effect that we see on the garments. They’re woven on large mechanical looms where the long, vertical, blue threads (warp) are woven together with the shorter, horizontal, white threads (weft). Unlike many other types of clothing, they are dyed with indigo that comes off over time: this ages them, and because we tend to wear our jeans to work, to college, to any number of different things, the garment will then tell a story about the person and their lifestyle. If someone’s jeans are worn at the knees, it can tell you that they spend a lot of time working on one knee or the other in their job.
If they’re worn and light-coloured at the pockets you can tell that the person stands with their hands tucked in to them all the time, and that tells you about their personality. All of this creates varied and different wear patterns that are unique to an individual, so when it comes to denim, the best way to describe it is each to their own.Some people want plain, raw-looking jeans, others want a vintage wash, and that’s all before you get to the fit.
To create the perfect pair therefore, it takes a blend of experience and skill that caters to everyone and anyone, which is a lot easier said than done. In order to understand where our denim comes from and how it ends up adorning our legs, the Man Cave went to Italy (a tough life) to see how this process takes place from start to finish with Jack & Jones, who get the majority of their denim from the country that has the strongest tradition in making jeans in the world.
The key to the whole process is the care and the thought put into making denim, from coming up with the designs, changing styles for different seasons, and finding the best fabrics and the most skilled people at every level to contribute – before a pair of Jack & Jones jeans arrives to the store, it’s been through 75 different pairs of hands, from the mill to the shipping depot. A lot more work goes into the process than is perhaps evident at first look, and a pair of five pocket jeans is made up of about 23 different pieces.
The wash, where the jeans are given their unique look, be it faded, ripped, worn or plain, is like an artistry that requires skill and precision. It's given breaks along the areas that need to appear as if they're broken in (makes sense, right?) while the colouring, the wash and effects are all added in different ways that need to remain constant across thousands of pieces.
Putting that all together is a process that requires care and patience too, and they are stitched manually to ensure that quality is carried through from the design to the final product.
What you get in the end is a number of factors that combine to make Italian denim, like those from Jack & Jones, that offer high quality at a decent price. The same way we respect and admire the sports cars of Ferrari or Lamborghini for their design and innovation is the same way Italian denim and fashion comes to the forefront. Creativity and passion can make a product unique, and that's what makes Italian denim a cut above.
To check out the new collection from Jack & Jones, with denim in a selection of fits and styles across the ranges from Core to Vintage to Premium, head to their website