fashion Fashion

Distressed by design

The numbers are impressive: it is said that there are seven pairs of jeans for every person on the planet. Last year, 1.9 billion pairs were sold, and over 500 million of these were in India alone, making it the second largest consumer of the versatile blue fabric, after China.

In the Indian retail scene today, there are local brands like Mufti and Flying Machine, and retailers like Zara, who are not primarily denim labels. Brands like Korra approach denim from a sustainability angle, and offer made-to-measure jeans, as does Arvind Mills. While all of these retail in the below ₹5,000 range, it’s the premium space that has room to grow.

Foreign fits

To invest in a good pair of jeans, men have been relying on brands from the US and Japan, who make some of the most coveted denims in the world. Tapping in on this need since 2008 is The Denim Story, a Mumbai-based company that curates and brings boutique brands like Paige, AG Jeans and Citizens of Humanity to the country. “We bring the premium international brands that sit between high street and couture,” says co-founder Mala Hemnani, adding, “We’ve noticed that the fit or cut is one of the areas that needs improvement in Indian brands. But people also want comfort that international brands give, with the stretch content, enough hold and breathability. It is this technology that brands here need to get right.”

Mitali Purswani, an independent luxury consultant, who was previously with The Denim Story, has been researching the scene in India, with a focus on local brands, the Indian body type, and the fits that work. “I think of denim as a commodity, not just fashion,” says Purswani. She says that the emphasis on fit and fabric is most important, and that it must change with geography, something she believes only home-grown brands can achieve, saying, “Fit goes beyond the segment, whether high-street or premium,” she adds.

Living the change

While well-known labels and brands might be one way to find the right fit, material and, above all, comfort, there are newer options closer to home. Like Shrik Jeans, which was started when the founders, tired of the never-ending search for the perfect pair of jeans, decided the solution was to make their own. The brand’s director, Mridulika Menon, says the idea came about when her husband was hunting for the perfect pair to wear while travelling, especially on long-haul flights. Shrik was created after they travelled the world, quite literally, learning denim culture — from surfer-style sporty brands in California to super-skinny jeans for men in Amsterdam, from the relaxed slim-fits of London to the carefully hand-crafted distress work in Japan.

The result is India’s first premium brand of jeans for men that sources its fabric (with the right amount of elastane and Lycra) from a mill in Indonesia, buttons from Japan and Valchetta leather for trims from Argentina. The jeans are put together in a little boutique in Jakarta, and then altered to buyers’ specifications. Available in three washes — blue, dark blue and black — each pair is priced from ₹15,000 onwards. According to Menon, they were confident the world would love their brand when all their testers came back with positive feedback.

Bringing a little extra to the table is their rip-and-repair and distress services, at an additional cost of ₹3,000, inspired by the Japanese who use everything from embroidery to fire to give their jeans that unique look. Talk to the in-house denim enthusiasts, get your jeans altered to the perfect taper, and have them ripped, distressed and worked on to create a look you have in mind. Oil, paint, rust, fire - there’s nothing they won’t use on a pair, on your request of course.

Shrik Jeans will be holding a trunk show on August 19 from 11am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chennai

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 1:13:50 AM |

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