After a decade of stretch jeans in every shape and colour, the pendulum has slowly swung back in favour of classics: constructed for the backbreaking work done by cowboys and miners.
Casey Egan and Ella Rose Foord are a design duo using heritage fabric techniques to make modern-fit jeans. Their newly launched brand, Deconstructed Indigo Garments (D.I.G), is built around selvedge denim – a higher-priced and rare breed of jeans these days.
Before setting up D.I.G, Egan worked as global designer for Levi’s denim in San Francisco and head of menswear at Wrangler Australia. “Coming from Levi’s, I have a passion for history and attention to detail,” he says. “When I came back to Australia, I saw this gap in the market. The labels that used quality fabric had styles only for older customers, whereas the labels that had forward-thinking cuts didn’t have any background knowledge of fabrication.”
“Selvedge” refers to a manufacturing process during which the denim is woven on a shuttle loom. The shuttle-loom method fell out of favour in the 1950s when jeans became a popularised fashion item, because it uses more thread and creates less fabric.
To meet growing demand, manufacturers switched over to projectile looms – and have continued using them ever since – producing higher quantities of fabric at lower costs. The downside is that projectile looms create material more susceptible to fraying.
D.I.G, however, uses selvedge denim sourced from Japan and Italy, where the majority of shuttle looms reside. The denim is a lot weightier and stiffer than what you might be used to, but once worn in, will last longer than your average skinnies. D.I.G’s debut collection offers a handful of staple styles for men and women, with classic blues in a straight leg and ‘70s flare alongside a skinny black.
“We’re finding that our customers see the value in buying a more premium product,” says Egan.