New denim darlings on the scene, RPMWEST, founded in May 2012 by Manuel Rappard, a former Google employee and NYU Graduate, has successfully raised over 100,000 USD this year via their Kickstarter campaign to launch amazing jeans for gentlemen, that is democratically ethical, as much as it stylish. I first heard about the brand via my friend Paul S., a cross-continental fashion photographer, who’s cousin is married to an RPMWEST collaborator. Paul S. also shot the latest lookbook which can be seen in this blog here. The San Francisco based brand prides itself on the quality of the denim, a Raw Japanese Selvedge, and its artisan craftsmanship, 100% made-in-the-USA.
Not that “none-made-in-the-USA” items are bad, per se, it’s just that in this day and age when it’s tough to guarantee exploit-free labor practices, an investment is made to go towards building an artisan trade in close proximity to where the jeans are actually designed and conceptualized. This idea of USA made jeans is not new, but the price tag, under 100USD, makes the production of artisan jeans more accessible to a market beyond the luxury buyer… which is great!
With the success of their Kickstarter campaign, the RMPWEST guys are now able to not only make their dreams (high quality fancy homegrown jeans at a not so fancy price) come true, but also implement a “Home Try On” program, where they can send three pairs to anywhere in the world (including Hong Kong), and you keep the pair that fits you the best. Right now, RPMWEST is shipping single pairs to kickstarter investors and brand supporters (including me!) and will open their website (hopefully) in November to a growing wait list, just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
A few more details… i’m wearing the New Classics with a stiff raw selvedge. (Less stiff over time.) The name “Selvedge” is reserved for denim made on vintage shuttle looms, which is how it was usually produced by classic brands prior to the 1970’s. This selvedge is usually heavier and higher quality than other denims you’re used to. Another thing that most brands these days get wrong with new Selvedge or Selvedge reproductions, is that the cutting is all wrong for the material. Thank God the moment I tried RMPWEST New Classic’s on, I immediately loved the fit. It’s roomy where it needs to be (around the thighs and knees), and fit snuggly where you want it to be (around the hips, bum, and calves.)
Photos above also show the details that come along with the Jean; Chain Stitching, 100% Leather brand patch, Metal Tack buttons, reinforced front pockets, reinforced back pockets (plane with no crazy design), and tucked belt loops (Will not rip off.) I’m truly proud of these guys’ Kickstarter project, and that they’re actually making less of a brand profit with zero retail markup, in order to make socially conscious jeans more available to a market looking for high quality that doesn’t break the bank.
Photos of me in my RPMWEST Jeans taken at the old lanes and the playground in and around Hong Kong’s Wing Lee Street off Bridges Street. Check out RPMWEST’s successful Kickstarter page here for more information on their brand and videos.