THE SELVEDGE YARD x NORMAN PORTER CO. CONE SELVEDGE DENIM COLLABORATION

TSY the selvedge yard norman porter denim jean

I will always remember the day I met Mike & Dave Stampler at the Norman Porter studio in Philadelphia and they walked me through painstaking process of how they make their jeans. Sweating every detail, the immaculate sewing, reinforcing, bar-tacking, hand-hammering rivets, and the chunkiest (10 oz indigo chambray), cleanest pocket bags this side of anywhere. I’ve been in menswear for a long-ass time, so I’ve been to the rodeo before… I said, “So, you know you guys are totally over-engineering this thing, right?” Mike just stares at me and says, “Yes.” Me, “I fucking love it.” This is how you make a jean. Like a boss. #sorrynotsorry

tsy the selvedge yard norman porter tattoo patch jean

No detail was overlooked, no corners cut. This collaboration is one that I’m stoked and honored to be a part of. Some of Philly’s best artists stepped up to add their mastery, driven to do something cool just out of kindness. Mike Ski of True Hand Society Tattoos & Design in Fishtown drew and tattooed each leather patch by hand. He nailed the marriage of the TSY lightning bolt logo with Norman Porter’s snake, in my opinion. Jessie Jay (also of THS) jumped in to design the pocket bags for us that Pink Bike Ralph printed. It’s pretty cool how everyone was so humble and just came together to quietly celebrate the spirit and camaraderie of Philly design, craft & quality. It was an awesome thing to see everyone come together…for a jean. We are only making 13 pairs of these beauties… And when they’re gone, they are gone.

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THE BROTHERS BEHIND NORMAN PORTER CO. | PHILADELPHIA’S OWN HANDCRAFTED DENIM

Norman Porter DENIM JEANS PHILADELPHIA

Pennsylvania born & bred, and true salt of the earth guys, Mike & Dave Stampler are the brothers behind Norman Porter Co. I reached out last year, asking if I could come down and see their Philly workshop. I was greeted with genuine smiles, a firm handshake, and a ton of passion for their craft. We’ve gotten to know each other, and I’ve grown to like poking around their place and shooting the shit with them from time to time. Everything in their studio has a purpose, history, and heart. I like that. I also find it fulfilling talking about the inspiration, design, materials, craftsmanship, repurposing of old machinery, and all the attention to detail that goes into everything they do. They are the epitome of “industrious little fuckers”. Their father was a mechanic. The boys grew up in the garage and were bestowed with a solid work ethic. Dad still doles out chores when they come visit. Knowing Mike & Dave now, it’s no surprise that Norman Porter Co. (named after their Grandfather) is all about utilizing the best quality materials and craftsmanship to create an honest product that stands the test of time. Quality is not some cliche tagline for them. It’s legit.

Norman Porter Dave Philadelphia denim jeans

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JEANEOLOGY | THE SELVEDGE YARD INTERVIEW FOR THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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It was a lot of fun and a great honor to be interviewed by Chicago Tribune writer Wendy E. Donahue for a denim story called Jeaneology that ran in last Sunday’s print edition and online. Denim is near & dear to my heart, and the love affair started a long time back, as I mentioned in a previous post–

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“I was in 5th or 6th grade, 10 years old, when I started making my own money. I’d go with my Mom on the weekends to the restaurant where she was working at the time out at little ol’ Litchfield Airport in Arizona. The place was called Barnstorm Charlies. I’d bus tables there, re-stock, clean-up, help out in the kitchen– whatever they needed. It made me feel independent, and like I had something to offer the world. I worked hard and didn’t complain– I was proud to have a job, and wanted to be the best employee I could be.

With my hard-earned little fistful of cash, the first thing I remember buying was a pair of Levi’s 501s. I still recall heading to the local Smitty’s, going through the stiff stacks of shrink-to-fits looking for my size, doing the shrinkage calculations printed on the Levi’s tag in my head, holding that dark, rigid denim in my hands– and feeling a wonderful inner glow that’s hard to explain. It was the birth of an intense Levi’s ritual that is still a part of my life.”

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SCOTT TOEPFER’S ORIGINAL BLACKBIRD PHOTOGRAPHY | DENIM ON 2 WHEELS

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Good friend Scott Toepfer shot some amazing images for the TSY x PRPS x TRIUMPH Blackbird limited edition jean were all the buzz at the event held at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn, NY. Those of you poor souls who were unable to attend deserve a gander too because they are that good. Looking forward to doing this again!

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The Black Flag tribute on the helmet is simply strips of everyday black electrical tape. Brilliant. Blackbird event original image by © Scott Toepfer photography

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TSY x PRPS x Triumph Motorcycles limited edition Blackbird 14 oz jean — Blackbird event original image by © Scott Toepfer photography

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THE BROOKLYN BLACKBIRD EVENT AT FAST ASHLEY’S STUDIOS | THANK YOU!

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The Blackbird event– a collaboration between TSY, PRPS, TRIUMPH, and friend & photographer Scott Toepfer in celebration of denim & machine. The Blackbird jean was inspired by the 1953 Triumph Blackbird. Handmade of super rigid & raw 14 oz Japanese denim– these jeans are not for the faint of heart. The black hardware and Thunderbird (tail) inspired stitching on the back pocket pay homage to the iconic motorcycle. The event was held on 4/13, as only 13 pairs of the Blackbird jean were made. Why 13 pairs? As a tribute to “The Wild One” starring Marlon Brando, that was based on the epic motorcycle clubs– 13 Rebels and The Boozefighters. Anywho– it was a helluva night! Thank you to Fast Ashley’s and everyone who came out! You winners out there that have my babies– please keep me posted on how they’re wearing, and send postcards & photos to info@selvedgeyard.com !

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The Blackbird jean hangtag blown up poster-size for the event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

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The scene outside on The TSY Blackbird event at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn – yep– lots of bikes, Triumphs, a Ducati or two and plenty of other nice rides. Donwan Harrell of PRPS even drove his 440 6-pack Road Runner! –photo by The Vintagent

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The iconic bike that inspired it all– the 1953 Triumph Blackbird at Fast Ashley’s Studios in Brooklyn –photo by The Vintagent

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BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE | THIS FRIDAY 7-10PM

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Just a friendly reminder that the event is this Friday evening. We will be shutting down RSVP sign-up promptly at NOON, Thursday 4/12. The response has been incredible, thanks to all who are coming, and sign up now if you haven’t already. There will be beer by The Brooklyn Brewery and spirits generously provided by our friends at Art in the Age. A taco truck will mosey on over and park outside Fast Ashley’s for your convenience. We’ll be giving away some goodies as well. Look forward to seeing you there!

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I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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THE SELVEDGE YARD PRESENTS | BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE

I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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THE PRPS NOIR COLLECTION | VINTAGE REINTERPRETED, WORLD CLASS DENIM

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The PRPS NOIR Collection is not about black denim. Noir utilizes the best selvedge denim fabrics available anywhere in the world– with incredibly extensive washes and old school wear, tear & repair details that are authentic to genuine vintage jeans painstakingly collected over the years worn by real miners, mechanics, and laborers alike. Each jean is handmade and can take up to a week to produce. No one is doing denim at this same level. Noir represents the best of PRPS– true collector’s items.

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My Friend Donwan Harrell of PRPS gave me a preview of his yet to be released denim line–Noir. Almost 10 years later, PRPS continues to innovate and evolve denim like no one else. In fact, you can thank Donwan in large part for the Japanese denim phenomenon that we have today– he was the the first American to manufacture jeans in Japan, using Japanese fabric and Japanese construction. No one else was doing it. In the founding days of PRPS, Donwan set out to find the best quality selvedge denim in the world, and it wasn’t at Cone Mills– it was Okayama, Japan. (Back then Cone was really struggling just to stay alive, facing stiff pricing competition from Turkey, India, China– and the whole “Americana, US heritage brands, made in USA” menswear movement hadn’t happened yet, so there wasn’t the appetite like we have today for American selvedge denim from all the denim brands that have cropped-up in recent years…) In search of the old vintage looms, Donwan found a family there that for generations had been keeping the quality and heritage of old school selvedge denim alive. One thing that many don’t realize is that Japanese weaving technology has long been light-years ahead of much of the world. The old Toyoda and Sakamoto shuttle looms dating back many decades were much more advanced than the Draper looms that Cone Mills utilized for Levi’s.

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BREAD & BUTTER BERLIN 2012 INSPIRATION VIDEOS

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Dustin Schöne is a filmmaker in Germany who sent me this short video he shot for the fashion tradeshow for cool brands– Bread & Butter Berlin. There’s a quick little shout-out from a young designer who named The Selvedge Yard as one of his favorite sites to look to for inspiration. Thank you, sir. If anyone can put a name to the face, I’d love to send him a personal thank you note.

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GEORGIA O’KEEFFE & MARIA CHABOT | “WOMEN WHO RODE WAY”

“Georgia O’Keeffe hitching a ride to Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch, 1944″ AKA ”Women Who Rode Away.” –Image by Maria Chabot @Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. The painter, Maurice Grosser, visited his friend O’Keeffe’s ranch in 1944. Maria Chabot photographed O’Keeffe and Grosser on his 1938 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. It’s an amazing image that celebrates denim, machine, and the joy of the open road. That look on O’Keeffe’s face says it all.   

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Initially I was interested solely in wanting to know more about the superficial circumstances around this incredible image. You know– the motorcycle, driver, etc. It soon became very clear that there was/is this unresolved, controversial account of the exact nature of Chabot and O’Keefe’s friendship that’s fascinating in itself, and added mystery and tension to this incredible shot and the close connection between the two women. There has been speculation for decades that they were involved in an intimate same-sex relationship. There are those convinced that Maria Chabot was obsessed with O’Keeffe to the point of being jealous, possessive, and an embellisher of their history together in order to paint the relationship as she wished it were. And then there are the close to 700 hauntingly personal letters written by the two women, back and forth to one another, that more than hint to something deeper than just friendship. Eventually O’Keeffe matter-of-factly requested that Chabot leave her Abiquiu house for good unless personally  invited back by O’Keeffe herself. So, what really happened?

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