I read a quote last night from a guy I know called Benno Cooper, who is the owner and operator of one of our sponsors, Omaha based retailer Chainstitches. In an interview with Rawrdenim, Benno was asked what the DWC was about, and I loved his reply, it articulated so well the true spirit of the DWC, he said “It’s a tribute to denim, it’s about the denim life”. I absolutely love that sentiment, and it is exactly what the DWC is about.
The DWC is coming to the end of its first month, we have around 250 contestants (so far), putting it on a par with HWDC2 in terms of numbers, but this “feels” like an entirely different animal to me. Maybe it is the different weights, maybe it is the additions of jackets, shirts and boots, but this feels like something entirely more…..committed. I can admit that even I found the HWDC2 tough just to ride along with, I obviously don’t compete, but this time the variation ,available to contestants and within the contest, makes me much more confident and excited about the ability of people to stay the course for the entire trip.
As Benno said, this is about the denim life, about all of our denim lives and how we live them. It’s about what we do day to day, from the exciting and exotic, to the mundane and utterly pointless. It’s about how we share our life with this most utilitarian of fabrics, about how we obsess over details and rituals that mean nothing to 99.9% of people, and it’s about sharing it all with some of that 0.1% who do care just as much as we do.
I wonder how many contestants have done as I did and agonised over their choice of contest apparel, I wonder how many made last minute changes, how many might still opt to change and how many may sadly regret their choice? I also wonder how many may still find themselves signing up for more categories on a whim, either with a second pair of jeans, boots or a jacket perhaps. I’m going to ride along just for fun in jeans, jacket and boots, as the thorough evolution of an entire outfit intrigues me and what better way to share the denim life than by doubling up on my denim?
For the contests I have gone with a mix of familiar and different. Familiar, as I have kept with brands who I know well, and trust not to let me down no matter how much abuse they get, the brands are Iron Heart and Wesco. Different, as I have gone with items which are not strictly “the norm” for either brand. For my jeans I went with the competition specific DWCxUHR Iron Heart jeans, made from an ultra-heavy, raw, 23oz denim which is so dangerous that it requires its own set of written instructions to shrink down. After a little over three weeks in the jeans I am super impressed with how easily creases set into the material and how it maintains much of its heft and shape whilst becoming much softer quite quickly. I marvel at how the denim seems to develop more texture through more wear, this usually work in reverse with many raw denims I have worn as the hairy texture and loom chatter sinks into the surface or is discarded in the first few weeks of wear.
My upper will be clothed in the Iron Heart IHJ-24, made from a rigid, sanforised 17oz denim which flies in face of current trends by being so flat and uniform that some may describe it as boring. What I would say is that this denim is probably one of the most authentic western denims you are likely to find anywhere outside of the USA, authentic in terms of what traditional American denim is meant to look like, and I am wagering my next 24 months that it will wear in wonderfully. The jacket is based on the 20’s designed Lee 91-B “First Zip” jacket, an iconic piece of Western wear popularised through the 60’s and 70’s by famous wearers like Steve McQueen and The Eagles. For me the jacket has a little more utility than traditional trucker jackets, which will certainly help me to give it the wear it deserves.
My footwear has not actually arrived yet, it is scheduled in the next 2 – 3 weeks I believe, but even that will be something of a distinct variance from what most people think of from a brand as famously hard wearing and tough as Wesco. The guys at our contest sponsors, The Bootery, have an exclusive deal on using a rather nice olive coloured burlap leather for their designs, it is soft, pliable and should age incredibly with a little care and attention. A few months back I was looking at work oxfords on the internet and came across a lace-to-toe oxford by Wesco, “that would look incredible in olive burlap” I thought, so I got in contact with Giles, he agreed and initiated a run of them for production. They will sit on the Armortred wedge sole, which various sources have assured me is much more hard wearing than the Vibram 2021 or Christy soles used by White’s and Viberg, I hope so because 2 years can put a lot of wear on your soles, so something too soft won’t stay the course.
The items I have picked to wear are things that intrigue me in terms of how they will evolve, they are all comfortable and functional, classically styled and fit my lifestyle. Through lessons learned during previous contests I have picked out things which will work for me, be easy to wear and won’t lose their appeal after a short stretch of time. I believe that to stay the course with your contest choices the clothing has to work for you and with you, or you’ll grow weary of it and move onto something else.
Here’s to the next 24 months, I would love to hear from other contestants about their choices, simple things like what you will be wearing and why ? This kind of information I think lets us all look at our denim in a different way, and share in the joy of our denim lives. Drop me a message or email if you would like to share your denim story on the DWC blog space.