I got interviewed by reporter Camila Domonoske for NPR.org, and some of my quotes were used, but I wanted to post the full interview here with my opinions on the PRPS Muddy Jeans discussion. I’m sure if you watch/read the news that you already know about this ‘scandal’ and the commotion it’s causing, it’s literally gone viral, so I wanted to offer my two cents on it because I think it’s gotten way out of context. Check out the interview below and you can read Camila’s article here and the PRPS Jeans here.
Camila – Are jeans with fake mud-splatters on them unusual, or is that pretty standard for “heavily distressed” denim?
Lorna – Over the past decade or so, a lot of denim brands have included fake mud, oil, paint splatters etc on their jeans. Diesel used to do this a lot back in the hay day and PRPS has always been known for using dirt and rust on their jeans, so depending on the brand, it’s not unusual.
Camila – What’s the reputation of PRPS in particular? Like, most of our readers [at NPG] won’t have heard of them? What does it signal for people who follow denim?
Lorna – PRPS is a brand that has been around for many years. They use Japanese denim and make extremely high quality jeans, in the premium market, so they’re a fantastic brand. They’re worn by a lot of celebs like Keanu Reeves, David Beckham, Brad Pitt etc. They’re huge fans and are often seen in their jeans. PRPS are very well known in the denim industry and very well respected.
Camila – Have you ever seen these jeans (or similarly “muddy” jeans) “in the wild”… Or is this kind of an extreme thing that you COULD buy but don’t see in real life very often?
Lorna – I have. I haven’t seen this exact pair as they’re brand new, but I’ve seen similar pairs. A few years back a lot of people here in the UK were wearing rusty, oily and muddy jeans (myself included, hello Diesel 61E), it was part of a trend that was happening. The trend died down and things went to the more simple, minimal and plain denim route, so it’s not that common anymore, but there are still people who like them and will wear them. It depends on their personal style. By no means is it any dig at people who work in those types of environments though, I mean I am no stranger to mud.
Camila – People who don’t buy premium denim find a $425 price tag astonishing? Can you put that in context, is that a lot for these kinds of jeans, standard, on the low side?
Lorna – The price is quite high, I mean it is almost half a thousand dollars after all, but there is a reason. The usual price point for premium denim is around $200 and that’s for ordinary jeans without much going on. When you start adding in wash details, intricate elements etc, the price goes up because the jeans are hand made. I would consider it a very average and normal price for PRPS themselves, but higher than what Diesel used to charge as the prices are different between the brands.
The reason behind the pricing on this pair is because the PRPS Goods & Co. line features denim fabricated from the finest cotton from Zimbabwe or Japan, but this depends on where the crop is strongest. The jeans feature the trademark folded back pocket for extra strength too, and they are built entirely for heavy wear. They are made to last and you can beat them, really wear them hard and they should still see you through!
Camila – Why do you think these jeans got SO much attention?
Lorna – I think maybe because of the way Nordstrom has portrayed them. The description of wearing jeans like you worked hard when you didn’t made a few people annoyed. I saw some comments about it portraying people as lazy (as they wouldn’t muddy their jeans up themselves) as well as discrimination against those who do work hard and get dirty all day, rather than just for fashion, so it wasn’t portrayed very well. But, in all honesty, PRPS have been making jeans like this, with mud, oil, dirt, paint, distressing, on mammoth scales for many years and nobody has really spoken out about it, so I can only assume it was how they were described by Nordstrom which made people annoyed. Coupled with the fact that people [outside of the denim world] haven’t seen such detailed and heavily worked on jeans in many years. It might have shocked them!
So that was my interview with Camila for NPG.org on the PRPS Baracuda Straight Jeans which are available for $425. I’m sure most of you here wont bat an eyelid to the price as it’s not unusual for PRPS, I mean they’re known to sell dirty jeans for much more than that usually, so this is no big deal. Muddy jeans are part of the PRPS inspiration and I’m sure a lot of people like them. I think it’s turned more into a political debate about discrimination rather than it has anything to do with the jeans themselves.
I do wonder if Nordstrom hadn’t have said the jeans “embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action” and show “you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.” in the description, when the mud is fake, implying you don’t need to work hard, just spend money, to get your jeans to look like this, it wouldn’t have made the media. I mean they have stocked PRPS for a very long time and their stained, dirty inspired jeans have never made it to the headlines before. I would love to hear your thoughts on the jeans? I mean they’re not my personal taste as I prefer the more simple denim (my younger self would be shocked), but they in no way surprise me at all as I’m very much used to innovative washes in the denim world, mud included. So let The Jeans Blog know what you think!
– Some of my answers have been lengthened and elaborated on in places for better information (for the purpose of this blog post) compared to the original interview answers I gave.