INTERVIEW: Talking Denim with The Denim Guy
At its core, PROJECT is very much a denim business. We sat down with Johnny Pinto, AKA The Denim Guy, to talk trends, fits, and brands doing it well.
To wash, or not to wash. We’ve heard both theories. Thoughts? You know there is this thing with denim gurus that you are NOT suppose to wash your jeans. Even regular, everyday men do not wash their jeans and it varies from person to person as to why they do not do it. I know for a while I was not washing my raw denim because I wanted to create my own wash but then I was reminded that in order to crate your own wash, you will need to actually wash your denim in order to get that wash to show. So now i wash my raw denim. Oh and to answer the first part… Wash you jeans! It’s just gross if you don’t!
How much is too much to spend on denim? In this market that is a hard one to answer because so many people are on a budget and so many premium denim lines are lowering prices to meet that demand. With the great variety of denim out there, if anyone is spending more that $350 on a pair of jeans, we need to talk because there is no reason to spend that much for denim.
3. What should every guy should ask themselves when trying on a pair of jeans? OH they need to be asking themselves a few questions! So many men (outside of New York) do not know how to shop for denim, so here are some basic questions.
- How does my ass look? If the denim is hiding that, then try a new fit. It’s okay guys… girls want to see it.
- How do my thighs feel and look? It’s okay for the denim to feel snug in the thigh area the first time but only as long as it’s a little and not a lot. But so many men at the first sign of something feeling tight size up and then it’s all down hill from there because they are in the wrong size. Buy your correct size and deal with the snug feeling the first time because denim will stretch and mold to you body. Buying a size too big till then make the denim look baggy.
- Then do a head to toe check. Overall how does this pair of jeans make me look? Denim is suppose to make you feel sexy and enhance what you’ve got! If they are not doing that then ask a sales associate to help, or email me and I will.
4. What brand is doing it right, and why? To be 100% honest, not one brand is doing everything right. Some are doing good things in one area while others are strong in another. For example, let’s look at the big denim brands right now. And the reason I look at big denim brands is because they are the face of the denim industry right now. These new, cool denim brands that are popping up are great, but they have a long way to go before they can dictate trend and direction. So from a men’s denim perspective:
- Hudson: Doing it right in marketing right now. They are doing some very smart partnerships to get the brand out there and to the next level.
- JBrand: They’ve built a strong following for men’s denim and the prints and colors they are offering.
- 7 For All Mankind: Great job at starting to build a denim brand outside of denim (in men’s).
- True Religion: Great job at opening stand alone stores that actually work.
- Citizens of Humanity: They get my DOING IT RIGHT for relaunching MEN’S! I mean they always had a men’s division, but for a while you didnt hear about it. Now I am starting to hear about it again.
- Big Star: Doing it right for the NEXT BIG DENIM BRAND to make it! They’re doing some great stuff with men’s.
Tips for dressing denim up, and dressing it down? Oh this is easy for me. I live in denim so I can wear it to an interview or to the local donut shop.
Tips for Dressing Denim up:
- Denim should be fitted. Sorry guys, you can’t dress up a baggy pair of jeans.
- Thrown on a dress shirt, oxford, button down, whatever you want to call it, and instantly dress up. This would be like a middle dress up for a night with the guys and you dont want to be over dressed.
- If you really, really want to dress denim up: it’s all about a TIE (in my opinion). Some dark fitted denim with a clean white dress shirt (fitted of coure). Tuck that bad boy in, throw a skinny tie or bow tie on. Clean Belt. Clean shoes. as for the rest, it’s up to the guy. I like to add a simple small v neck light sweater over it. Some guys might like a blazer, but most of the time, I’ll try and just go for a nice fitted white shirt. The reason I pick white is because i want the tie to be the outfit.
Tips for dressing denim down: Well first thing is you have to be careful when you say dress down. There are days when I’ll wear some old, torn up denim with a white v neck and go to the store - but you always want to make sure you look put together!
- When in doubt, a CLEAN white V Neck shirt always looks great. (semi fitted).
- I mean overall, I am always dressed down in denim (don’t dress it up very often), so for me it’s just my personal day to day style. A great fitted T shirt, any color, graphics, etc. always looks great with amazing denim. As for the shoes, sneakers are big for me right now. It varies from day to day, but right now I am rotating out some Nike Airs and camo Jack Purcels. One thing I NEVER do anymore is denim and flip flops. NEVER! If you are wearing flip flops, it better be with denim shorts.
7. You’re tattoos are amazing. Tell us about them. OHH THE INK! I have 3 really big important tattoos that mean a lot to me. 1. New York City skyline, 2. L.A. city sky line, and just added 3: a family tree.
Long story short, the tattoos are on my forearms and they are a constant reminder to me of my love/hate relationship with New York City and L.A. because when I am home in L.A., I miss NYC so much. But when i travel to NYC for work, I miss L.A. So anytime i start to miss any coast i just look at my forearm and it gives me great memories of each place.
Now as for the tree, well that jut organically came up. Each bird looks different and is special to a family member. The tree is placed on the arm where my L.A. city skyline is because L.A. is home, and family is where my heart is.
THE MARKET: GANT's Christopher Bastin Talks Rules of Style
Everybody has their style rules of thumb. Christopher Bastin, Creative Director of GANT, happens to have 10.
The menswear icon divulges his rules of style for DETAILS, including the two items every man should splurge on, tips for denim on denim, and the go-to color that looks good on everyone (hint: it’s navy).
Gather all of his insights HERE.
TALKING SHOP: A.K. RIKK'S
Talking Shop is an ongoing discussion with a selection of our key retailers talking about retail trends, predictions, and top performing brands.
Location: 6303 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Opened: Originally in 1986 and moved to new location in September of 2012.
1. A little bit about A.K. RIKK’s: Here is a timetable of sorts: 1986- A.K. RIKK’s started as a small men’s haberdashery with contemporary brands but focused mainly on suits and ties.
2008- We expanded the existing store and with that, started a women’s business.
2010- was the start of selling furniture and home accessories with the launch being done in a downtown pop-up shop.
September 2012- we moved locations from a plaza to a stand along building, 28,000 sq ft., including a classroom, event space and outdoor park. This provides us the opportunity to display 60 plus vendors and to becoming a larger in our community. The goal is to continue to push the city through contemporary fashion by opening up our space so that our city may embrace something culturally that would typically only be seen in a larger city.
2. Top performing brands this season? Scotch & Soda/Maison Scotch, AG (men’s & women’s), J Brand (men’s & women’s), and Belstaff.
3. What shift have you seen in how consumers are shopping? Customers are buying with a purpose this season. They want to buy something they think is “special”. Meaning colorful, unique, and that the item has quality.
4. What are you most excited for this year? September will bring our one year anniversary in our new space, which brings a full year’s worth of business to reflect on. Growth. Spending time in our park.
THE MARKET: Katin x Club Monaco
The Katins, comprised of the late Nancy and Walter, began making custom boat covers in the 1950s. Shortly after, the married couple took their product to the next level and began making swim trunks after several requests from the local surfers. Thus, the iconic Katin was born. The Huntington Beach-based brand will forever be the pioneer of durable, functional swimwear. Not to mention the designs are next level.
For the upcoming season, Katin has teamed up with Club Monaco for a capsule collection that is so, so on point. Browse HERE and start planning on your next beach day.
BRAND WATCH: Slate & Stone
Inspired by and made for urban tastemakers, newly launched Slate & Stone should be on your radar.
Let’s rephrase that. Slate & Stoned needs to be on your radar.
The refined menswear label launched with its debut spring/summer 13 collection and is headed by President and Creative Director, Jeff Jacobs. With a background in music management, Jacobs aims to dress the modern day artist and cultural pioneer. In terms of inspiration - the designer looks to a myriad of sources, including the likes of Giorgio Armani, James Bond 007, and Daniel Craig’s character in Layer Cake. Needless to say, these are all gentleman that don’t necessarily play by the rules, but wear their rebellion well.
After a successful launch, Slate and Stone returns for their sophomore fall/winter ‘13 collection: A Rebel and a Gentleman. Trust when we say that you’ll want to cop every piece in here. What makes the collection strong in our minds is the thoughtful design elements that dress up your cold weather mainstays. Take, for instance, the Great Jones Camo Peacoat. We were really drawn to the detailing on this piece as it is made from 100% boiled wool, but knitted rather than printed. Other standouts that we were drawn to include the Lennox Varsity Sweater, Leroy Puffer Vest, and the Essex shirt. The craftsmanship of each piece is also something to take note of. Premium materials, hints of leather and wool detailing, hidden plackets, and dip-dyes all contribute to the unique line and add to its distinguished character.
Pay Slate & Stone a visit at PROJECT in Vegas this summer, and stay tuned for their e-commerce, which will also be launching in the upcoming months.
THE MARKET: Scotch & Soda's New Los Angeles Space
The day has finally come for our brand, Scotch & Soda. The Amsterdam-based label has opened a new retail space on the west side of Los Angeles, on Abbott Kinney to be exact.
Browse the new (not to mention handsome) 1200 square feet space HERE.
BEHIND THE BRAND: Levi's Made & Crafted
Built upon the foundation and legacy that Levi Strauss created with his original innovation and blue jean design, the Levi’s Made & Crafted collection was launched four years ago.
“We have, as a brand, a very strong identity. Our expectations are very high,” says Miles Johnson, Design Director of Levi’s Made & Crafted.
We recently took a visit to the collection’s showroom space in Downtown LA’s Cooper Design building for a preview of what’s to come this fall. We met with Ben Starmer, Marketing Manager for Levi’s Americas, for an introduction to some of the yet-to-be released pieces.
The inspiration for Levi’s Made & Crafted FW13 collection began with a lake. Lake Heron to be exact.
The Levi’s team found the lake just outside of Detroit, the nation’s industrial capitol. The crew spent a few days observing the reflections of the water, the light and the cold, and the stillness of nature, all from their log cabin where they bundled in layers of blankets purchased at the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The team was inspired by the layers needed for the landscape, the textures of woolen blankets, and the versatility of cotton pieces.
If you look closely at all of Made & Crafted denim, the arcuate (the famous Levi’s pocket stitching) is stitched on the inside panel, so the back pocket starts out clean, then with washing and wearing comes through as a ghost arcuate.
WOMEN OF PROJECT
Hello, punk princess.
ON TREND: The 10 Coolest Guys on Instagram
1. Eugene Tong - @ettong1979
The Style Director at DETAILS flawlessly mixes high fashion with streetwear, and documents his menswear finds on Instagram.
2. L.A.S - @sartiallyinc
While he’s not running How To Talk to Girls at Parties and dominating the #menswear scene, this cool guy contributes to Complex and Four Pins.
3. Matthew Sebra - @mattyseebs
Apart from being one of the talented men behind GQ’s instagram, Matthew’s style shines through in his personal account too. Note the Lacoste L!VE sweatshirt shot taken at PROJECT LV this past February.
4. Nick Grant - @nicholasgrant
Despite living in Iowa, Nick is on the forefront of all things menswear and street style. Oh yeah, he also writes for Complex.
5. Atif Kazmi - @porhomme
As a resident Blogger PROJECT veteran, Atif is more than fluent in menswear and what’s coming up in the next year.
6. Morgan Collett - @morgancollett
The Co-Founder of SATURDAY Surf NYC offers an industry insider’s view through the lens of his iPhone.
7. Nick Sullivan - @nicksullivanesq
As the Fashion Director of Esquire, Nick knows a thing or two about the industry and menswear.
8. Dao-Yi Chow - @alldaydaoyi
The Co-Founder of Public School NYC is an avid Instagrammer and offers insight into his world as a designer for one of the most buzzed about brands over the past few seasons.
9. Marcus Troy - @marcustroy
What would any Instagram list be without Marcus? As the chief curator of the Blogger PROJECT and a certified tastemaker, Marcus consistently delivers on point pictures and brings his followers into his world of creativity and brand collaborations.
10. Michael Williams - @acontinuouslean
As one of the pioneers of menswear blogging, Michael has a refined and clear vision for artisanal products and behind-the-scenes access to the brands we love.
THE MARKET: COMUNE Installation for American Rag
Next level window display.