Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Gift of Jeans by Roy Slaper

One of the great pleasures of working for a historic mill like Cone is being able to meet people like Roy Slaper. This post is a small introduction to Roy and the jeans he wishes were perfect.

There is a talented metalsmith in Oakland, California who has been perfecting his denim sewing skills the last few years. Although Roy Slaper is quite good already he insists on practicing until he can consider himself to be in that unique class of denim designer-tailors expert in patterns, needlework, materials, and a thousand other nuances in crafting jeans. Such is the way of a true lover of denim who will forever be fascinated by all matters indigo and so will never call oneself a master of the subject.

I too count myself in this group of life-long denim students and have been exchanging peculiar ideas with him for many months. When I decided to leave my station at Cone my wonderful colleagues there commissioned a jean for me with Roy, who knew exactly want I would want (something with all the loom chatter intact like deadstock vintage).

As I am wearing the jean and typing this post I am still perplexed by how he managed to get it to fit right in one shot.

All crucial details are on point.

Selvage belt loops. And yes it does have a raised ridge between the stitches.

Some would stop at selvage beltloops but Roy quietly sneaks in selvage back pockets via busted seam joining 2 pieces.

And then he puts in selvage busted seam pocketing using an undyed organic cotton twill. When you hold up the jeans the selvage seams of the pocket bags and the back pockets line up one in front of the other.

He incorporates the loom chatter that naturally occurs in denim woven on vintage American selvage looms.

The fabric is full of unique, uneven character that by today's quality standards would be called defects. But using the word defect to argue against the beauty of certain loom chatters is akin to using higher fabric consumption as an argument against narrow selvage denim. The arguments make sense but love is blind. Besides, a broken fill here and there is nothing compared to the yarns destruction during industrial stonewash and sandblasting. This is how unwashed workwear came back in the day.

And maybe one day, sooner rather than later hopefully, Roy will finally let the general public enjoy his denim creations. Until then he will be perfecting his craft and acquiring amazing sewing machines like the Union Special 43200G bulldog hemmer, Union Special felling machine, and Reece 101 buttonhole machines that he have already.

A very special thanks to my friends at Cone Denim.

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Blogger Doc Pop said...

Those broken seam back pockets are clever!
I first met Roy a couple of years ago when Kiya and I were selling him our Union Special waste-band machine. I've been contemplating a pair of custom Roy jeans ever since then, but after seeing your pair, I think I can wait no longer.

1/21/2010 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do I get in contact with Roy?

1/22/2010 12:59:00 PM  
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1/25/2010 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Paul T said...

Sorry (for Cone especially) to hear you're leaving, Henry. But damn, what a nice leaving present.

Good luck with your next project!

1/25/2010 02:36:00 PM  
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9/22/2010 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous james said...

I'm sure at this point you've seen the production video from Roy:

He is quite an amazing crafstman, even by denim geek standards.

11/01/2010 08:01:00 PM  
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