Is there such a thing as the perfect pair of jeans? Probably the ones we’re wearing. But that doesn’t stop us from searching for more. Dedicated members of the perfect denim cult will always be persuaded to try another pair.
Right now, the jeans I yearn for are an all-American Bruce Springsteen shade of blue. They should look vintage without seeming deliberately aged, or bleached, or blotched, or tampered. They should have no rips or tears. They should have a high waist and crucially, regardless of the current whims of fashion, they should not grip the calf. I’ve never understood why a woman (or man) would want their lower legs to resemble shrink-wrapped joints of meat, but frighteningly many still insist on wearing skinny silhouettes. The cast of Queer Eye, for example, love a foreshortening leg shape that makes them look like a party of leprechauns. Your jeans should be slim, but they should never, ever cling.
Should you also be in pursuit of the sort of thing described above, you’ll be delighted to know that such a jean exists. For women at least. It’s called the London, and it’s a straight-leg jean by Slvrlake, a premium denim brand that launched earlier this year and is now available on Moda Operandi online, Intermix in the US, and, as of this month, Selfridges in the UK. They cost £310. Which is a lot. But, you know, they’re perfect.
They are the creation of Louise and Gary Edgley, a husband-and-wife team who launched their California-inspired label in Los Angeles last year, having relocated from London in 2013. Both have had long careers working in denim. Louise studied fashion and is an expert in fit, while Gary is a former buying manager at Selfridges.
For all their expertise, the decision to enter a very crowded market was not one they took lightly. Jeans sales generated more than $40bn in the global market in 2016 and, despite the increasing popularity of the yoga pant, denim remains a dominant fashion category. Premium denim, meanwhile, has become one of the most important and fastest growing segments in the apparel industry.
Regardless, the Edgleys decided to go ahead. “We have worked in the denim industry for the entirety of our careers,” says Louise. “But we didn’t feel that ‘premium denim’ was very premium. The fits were lacking, and there were fewer timeless silhouettes.” Adds Gary: “I’d noticed a shift in quality and craftsmanship in the market as it moved more towards fast fashion and looking toward the next hem trend. There was a real loss of integrity in the quality of garments.”
Their mission was simple, says Louise. “To design and develop the kind of jeans that you wear every day.”
I’m convinced they’ve nailed it. Not just because I like the fit, shape and colour of the London, but because, every time I wear them, people ask me where they’re from. “The London jean was the first jean we developed,” says Louise. “The question we asked ourselves was ‘if you could only own one jean, what would it be?’ It would have to be timeless, soft and comfortable enough to travel in, chic enough to wear to the office, and sexy enough to wear to dinner. The London meets all of those demands.”
I’m sure many of you will be itching to point out that a similarly vintage-looking garment could be purchased at a fraction of the price on a vintage denim stall. And I believe you. But I bet they wouldn’t fit as well. And I’m not that crazy about wearing clothes that have known another woman’s groin. For the time being at least, I’ve found my perfect fit. The London by Slvrlake are the jeans of the year.
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