(by Paul Trynka)
Image from Cone Denim blog
How did the inspiration for this design arrive?
It was really just the fabric that told me what it should be. I knew it would be a cinchback. Then there’s the front pockets, that are kind of a slash pocket, although they’ve got a curve to them. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I never know what to do with my hands, and if I’m wearing a 5 pocket jean, having my hands in the pockets isn’t very comfortable. When you’re standing there with your hands in the pockets, in these jeans, it’s very comfortable.
The cinch is a distinctive shape, there are precedents but I don’t know anything as streamlined.
I’ve never seen one just like this, it was a idea I had, I wasn’t sure if I could make it work ‘cos the fabric is a little bulky when there are so many layers so it was tricky*–* a lot of trial and error. You can get anything to work – but I wanted it to look clean. It wound up looking very clean; exactly what I’d envisioned.
Were the buckles tricky to get hold of?
I almost didn’t get them… my friend who makes jeans too was working at a sewing customisation shop and one day told me, they’ve got a darning machine and it wasn’t working right. I said I’ll come over and work on it, really just for fun. Now my friend’s really funny, he’s really friendly but can be forward in an intimidating way, his other job is bouncing at clubs; 6 foot five – big guy; I’d fixed the machine and he said to the guy, in an aside: we have to do something for Roy and he said it in the affirmative, you know. And I said, don’t give me any money –*you’ll get me back. Then a couple days went by and I started thinking about the contest jeans, and I was, What the hell am I gonna do? Where do I get buckles? So I’m thinking, I bet there’s some buckles in the customisation shop somewhere.
Now my friend doesn’t care about vintage jeans, he starts looking – and sending me pictures he’d taken on his phone of all types of belt buckles! I said, Go upstairs and find a pair of jeans that has a buckle across the waist band. Do you have any buckles look like that? [Eventually] he sent me a picture of our buckle that he found in a jar. He started digging around and said, I got 32. I had only just committed to doing 30 jeans. So I said , well – do you think he’d give me those? My friend says, Fuck, take them. and I said, You don’t understand! These are gonna be on TV! Like, what if the guy cared about those? So my friend talked to him and eventually we got… perfunctory permission. I’m assuming he was cool with it.
But it was all for the greater good.
Exactly, it was not for my own gain. So, when I got them and they were grey, I wanted them to match the buttons, I used the exact same process that the button manufacturer does, a Selenic and Phosphoric acid which chemically blackens them. Its like gun blue that you treat the barrel with. It ended up taking a while, which was fine ‘cos I was into how it was gonna look.
What else was time-consuming about the production?
The construction of the belt piece and the cinch took a long time. There’s this [old] tool I have for turning a collar, you sew them inside out then turn them right side out. Man, if I didn’t have that I would not have been able to do it. But it was still a lot of fooling around.
Did you learn new stuff making these?
I learn stuff every day, so it’s hard not to. I still have so much to learn. There’s other stuff, weird sequences, the patch inside is straddled by the back belt loop and cinch but it’s not sewn through, so it was learning how to get the machinery to do what I wanted. And the waistband’s quite thin, only an inch and a quarter… the [prototype] pair has a taller waistband, but strangely that extra quarter inch made the jeans look corny. Also I had to figure out how to chalk the back pocket, with my existing jeans I can freehand it, with these it had to be exact. And doing the boxers was a huge learning curve – I got to use one of the first machines I got hold of, this weird old ass machine from Self Edge (I just answered an add on craigslist), that they didn’t know what it was. It took me some time to realise it was for underwear!
We talked about duck pocketing early on, and you didn’t seem keen?
I didn’t want to commit to anything. I’m learning more about my creative process – how I need to go in, in a vacuum. If I talk to people about what what would be cool it inhibits me, so I pretend nothing’s happening and it seems to work pretty good. I felt in this situation, cotton duck was just fitting. It worked well with the denim, it meant every bit of fabric in the project was Cone, including the chambray for the boxers – it was fitting. Most importantly it worked. When I washed the jeans everything worked well together. I put a lot of thought into pocketing, The pocketing I use on my regular jeans is special, it’s a very involved process. Once these duck pockets get worn in, you will love how they feel in your hands.
It was great how Ralph commented that using the Pima coton for a gnarly denim yarn was positively sinful.
I thought that was hilarious!
The positioning of the watch pocket is unusual.
I did so many versions. At one point there were two, three little compartments and it was all really annoying. Then I had the fifth pocket up on the fingernails side of your hand and it was horrible – almost impossible to get keys or change out. So I found a place that is perfect. With a slash pocket I was concerned about things falling out, and this has a ridge that should make it a safe… a keeping place.
Ralph told me, early on, that shade of the denim wasn’t to your taste?
At first [it] looked weird to me, but that was independent of the construction, the hand, all those characteristics. But that was when it was rigid – after washing, then when I wore these for a month, it totally changed, the color looks awesome. I was impressed, too, how it works as far as not stretching out, and not getting baggy at the knees. I love the way the fabric behaves, because of that lack of tension Ralph mentioned. I would love all denim to behave and feel like this.
You’ve put an incredible amount of work into these jeans. Will you do a regular production version?
I don’t have any more buckles so I don’t think that’s gonna happen. But at the same time – No! I hate when people do that! You know the Mazda Miata was supposed to be a special edition? People bought it thinking it was a limited release car – now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one (Ed. note: this “fact” is likely a total fabrication). But when they came out they were really cool. I’ll probably use the basic pattern [again], like the World Tour jeans are basically the same basic fit, but without the cinch back and exposed rivets, plus different denim. To make this pattern again and sell it would take away from the competition. And we did something cool here.
© Paul Trynka
Note: taken from SuperFuture.
To read the complete interview with pictures, go here: