As far as menswear goes, jeans are the alpha male, the original wear of sailors, miners and greasers. And now, denim has became ubiquitous amongst anyone who doesn’t spend most of their day at the office. That includes artists, musicians, and every other brand of outsider, rebel and manly man.
Jeans are as much a symbol of unrestrained masculinity as drag racing or muscle cars. For PRPS founder Donwan Harrell, that link shows in designs that epitomize the hard-working, blue collar American. Interested since his youth in muscle cars and drag racing, Harrell has taken a heritage approach to denim, reproducing the tough, all-American aesthetic he has always loved, but with superior construction.
.Though PRPS’ jeans are worldly – their African cotton is woven in Japan on vintage shuttle looms – the brand stays true to its apple-pie feel, with a quintessentially American look.
Timberlake starred in an inventive campaign for the label, a series of mini-movies that focus on the fictional character of William Rast – a true-blue American and free spirit often in trouble with the law. Embracing the rebel aesthetic, the label’s edgy campaign took Timberlake from pretty-boy to rebel in mock police mug-shots of Rast with a black eye and split lip, and in videos that chronicle Rast’s flight from justice in a beat-up classic car.
As for men’s label Rogue, the name says it all. True to its moniker, the label has developed a sort of black sheep aesthetic, right down to its unshaven, atypical models and grungy, gritty campaigns.
But, as Australian label Ksubi has shown us, the counter-culture denim lifestyle is not the sole property of the US. This down-under label has been an innovator in design as well as in attitudes since it first appeared on the scene in 2000. Co-founded by surfers Dan Single, George Gorrow, Paul Wilson, and Oscar Wright, everything about Ksubi seems a rejection of the commonplace and the expected. The label is friend to artists, musicians and, above all, to subversion, with bizarre art installations and events, and even stranger marketing.
Perhaps the best example of denim as a complete lifestyle is Swedish-born label Nudie Jeans. For Nudie, “jeans are more than just a piece of clothing,” they’re “a second skin,” to be mourned “as a close friend” when they’re too worn out to wear anymore.
There’s a world of fashion out there. But, for the working man, the rebel, the artist, the denimology expert, and the outsider, life continues to be lived in jeans.
Don’t miss the “Designer Denim for Men ” sale that starts tomorrow at 11:55 AM EST!