The Denim Distressing Factory

8 Oct


According to the latest stats, worldwide, nearly 90 per cent of consumers own at least one pair of denim jeans, and they wear them an average of three days a week. Somehow, denim, a material that once stood for durability and practicality has been transformed into a lifestyle necessity. The global denim market is worth $46 billion and manufacturers are always evolving their product through innovation. Probably the biggest trend this past decade has been the “distressed” denim look.


Believe it or not, but there was a time when jeans faded naturally. I think it was around the same time that muscles were built not in gyms but through manual labour. When men could make things with their hands and, when those things broke, would fix them. When wifebeaters and flannies were worn not out of a sense of ironic chic but out of a need for function. But, hey, times change – I’ve built a metaphorical bridge with my imaginary hammer and I’m over it.


Recently, photographer David Friedman visited a Kentucky “distressing” factory where skilled labourers expertly age denim for the benefit of high-end designers. Luckily for us, he created a photographic essay of his visit. Until I saw Friedman’s photos, I always thought that the “distressing” process was done entirely by machine. Thankfully, I was wrong. As the photos attest, a LOT of hard work goes into making the jeans we wear – something I’m quite stoked about.


View Friedman’s photographic essay here.


[via Boing Boing]


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