Pre­mium jeans

An on­line bou­tique of­fers pre­mium jeans at af­ford­able prices.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - by WILLy WIL­sOn startwo@thes­

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, jeans­baron­ 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.

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