Inside the Cost of The Strike Gold $330 1105 Jeans
If you’re scouring the web for the perfect pair of jeans, you will eventually come across Kiya Babzani (pictured below), co-owner of denim mecca, Self Edge. With locations in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, Babzani and his team are largely responsible for introducing Americans to better-made dungarees.
Still, we have a hard time forking over more than $300 for a pair of jeans that may look, at least superficially, a whole lot like the $30 Topshop version. Here, Babzani unpacks the cost behind one of his favorite styles, The Strike Gold 1105, priced at $330—and gives us a denim vocabulary lesson while he’s at it.
The Vivant: Tell me a little about the design of this particular pair.
Kiya Babzani: The fabric comes from a small mill in Kurashiki, Japan. It’s a 30.5 inch wide selvedge fabric that was designed from the ground up for this exact jean. It’s got a nice abrasive texture when in its raw state. Once soaked, the gray cast color goes away a bit yielding a beautiful indigo shade. As indigo is water soluble, any pure indigo dyed raw unsanforized fabric will turn more blue after its initial soak. The jean is constructed with seven different types of thread—a bit unconventional for a pair of jeans—but Strike Gold feels that it’s important that every part of the jean is paid close attention to. So the thread gauge ranges from tight and fine to course and heavy depending on the part of the jean that’s being sewn together. It comes with a red stamped deerskin tag that’s a classic style from American jeans from the 40′s and 50′s.
The wildest part is that Strike Gold has custom rivets made for their jeans. The male part of the rivet is made of iron while the female part is made of pure copper. What it means is that over time with regular wear and washings the rivets age [the way that] rivets aged on jeans prior to the 60′s. The male part of the rivet starts to rust and discolor the fabric on the inside of the jean while the female part of the rivet will darken and leaf over time due to it being made of copper. It’s that attention to detail that makes these things so amazing.
Can you explain the advantage of Japanese denim in general over commercial denim?
It’s less about Japanese versus commercial and more about sanforized fabric versus unsanforized fabric. The Japanese have been in the textile business far longer than most countries in the western world due to their long history of creating complex kimono fabrics. So when it comes to denim or flannels or chambray, they apply those hundreds of years of knowledge to these newer textiles with amazing results.
What exactly does sanforization mean?
Sanforization is a process fabric goes through to get rid of the shrinking properties of cotton. Almost all the jeans we sell are unsanforized, therefore they’re untreated denim that’s raw. Just buying raw denim won’t do the trick—it’s unsanforized raw denim that ages and fits the way you want.
What does selvedge refer to?
It’s in reference to fabric produced on a shuttle loom. Selvedge is the shortened version of ‘self edge.’ Before the turn of the century it was called ‘self edging fabric’ or ‘self edge fabric.’
How should we expect the The Strike Gold 1105 to fit?
It’s a medium rise jean with a slim upper block that goes straight down to the hemline with no taper. There’s also a tapered version of this jean called the 1109.
How do you suggest caring for or cleaning a pair of jeans like the The Strike Gold 1105?
Just like most jeans, it’s best to turn them inside out, wash them in a washing machine with cold water and detergent (we recommend Woolite or Dr. Bronner’s), then take them out and allow them to fully air dry before wearing.
What are the main things that customers miss out on when they opt for commercially-produced jeans like those from the Gap, Cheap Monday, etcetera?
The natural aging of an unsanforized denim. You can’t compare what those brands will look like after six months or a year to what a jean made of unsanforized denim will look like. The fading patterns are amazing, and the fit gets better over time because it truly molds to your body, as opposed to those other brands which are made of sanforized fabrics, they merely stretch out over time.
Tell us in the comments below, how much would you spend on the perfect pair of jeans?