An online boutique offers premium jeans at affordable prices.
HOW jeans came about has become a modern folk tale of sorts. Having originated in the United States, jeans were simply sturdy trousers designed for blue-collar workers during World War II. The design of the original pair of jeans, which was first manufactured in 1901, was straightlegged. The boot-cut style only started appearing in the mid-20th century.
Then came the movie Rebel Without A Cause, starring James Dean, that glamorised jeans and leather. Dean successfully stamped that cool factor onto jeans and they became wildly popular among the youth of that era.
Following the success of the movie, jeans were soon associated with youth rebellion, causing it to be banned in some restaurants and theatres. It wasn’t until the 1970s that jeans became a symbol of urban clothing, reaching everyone from factory workers in Texas to hip and affluent executives in Tokyo.
The jeans that we see today have evolved much in terms of design, colour and material mix.
“Styles range from straight-legged, boot- cut, bell-bottom, skinny to jeans-legging (jeggings),” says Yvonne Lau, a former quantity surveyor turned online boutique owner.
A self-confessed jeans buff herself, Lau sells premium jeans at her online shop, jeansbaronline.com. Together with her American counterpart, she has brought in three California-based labels – Karl Kani Live Life Love Denim, James Jeans and Post’age – to Malaysia.
Admittedly, premium jeans are not something new in Malaysia. Some retail outlets have been bringing in top labels like Evisu, Cheap Monday, Se7en and Humanity for years. But Lau argues that the price tags can be intimidating for the local market.
“We have just started to get acquainted with premium denim brands. And now, we’re expected to pay RM1,500 for a pair?” Lau asks.
With that in mind, she set out to make premium jeans more affordable.
“My business model is about slashing overhead and operational costs so that consumers can get premium quality denim at reasonable prices,” Lau explains, which is why she has opted for a virtual shop instead.
To reach a wider audience, she also supplies the denim brands she represents to two boutiques located in Bangsar and Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur.
Depending on the material and details, a pair of jeans ranges between RM429 and RM869, which is comparable to that of massproduced jeans manufactured under highstreet labels, but of superior quality.
One of the brands offered by jeansbar is designed by Karl Kani, credited as the pioneer of the urban outfit industry in the United States. Known for his logo-emblazoned Ts and baggy linen in the late 1990s, the New Yorkbased designer is a master when it comes to urban clothing.
His contemporary denim line, Karl Kani Live Life Love Denim, is favoured by party girls such as Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson and Mischa Barton.
According to Lau, Kani’s denim line has a very distinctive urban flavour to its designs. The core aesthetic of the line is hip hop that comes with clean classic cut and intricate embroidery on the pocket.
“Despite using denim materials, which are rather heavy, the fit is so amazing that it feels like they were made personally for you,” she says. Live Life jeans are reportedly made of Japanese denim and produced in California.
While Karl Kani tends to be bold in both design and materials, James Jeans is lightweight and easy-to-wear.
Known for its perfect fit, the products are designed to fit women’s thighs snugly, accentuating the behind, while at the same time allowing some breathing space at the waist.
Seun Lim, the creative brain behind James Jeans, also developed a signature back dart around the backside area.
Its latest innovation is the Twiggy Legging jeans, more popularly known as Jeggings.
“The Twiggy range, with its stretchable material, fits a 20-year-old as well as a 60year-old perfectly,” Lau explains. “It’s one of those jeans that are always reliable.”
Taking advantage of the Jegging trend is Post’age denim. It has a sexier look, thanks to the waxy coating on the denim, which provides an appearance similar to leather.
“Post’age jeans are sexy, flirty and glamorous. Put simply, they are the ultimate LA girl style.
“Its classic silhouettes make it possible for the wearer to look effortlessly sexy. Think Megan Fox!” she concludes.
Perfect fit: Available from Jeans Bar are (from left) Spring Bird jeans from Karl Kani, Camrose Indigo Night jeans from Post’age, and James Jeans Topaz Bandit Crystal 5-pocket Boot.