FEATURE FRIDAY: Naked & Famous Denim + Factory HQ Tour (Behind-the-scenes)
OTR Staff Blog post by Eli Zeldin
Naked & Famous Denim’s vision is rooted in Japanese philosophical and artistic theories. In designing his jeans, owner Brandon Svarc adheres to the Japanese aesthetic principles of Wabi-sabi, which very roughly can be described as beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent and incomplete”. Naked & Famous uses the best Japanese denim from the Prefect of Okayama, where the highest quality denim is made. The jeans themselves, however are cut and sewn on authentic vintage and refurbished machines in Montreal. Naked & Famous uses only the finest and rarest fabrics for its jeans and has incorporated everything from silk and cashmere to Kevlar in its fabric blends. It symbolizes cutting-edge and high quality jeans in one unique brand.
Owner and designer of Naked & Famous Denim, Brandon Svarc
Naked & Famous logo sign at their concept store in Montreal
It’s name and logo is actually a satirical jab at contemporary society’s emphasis on celebrity, glitz and glamour. With a pair of Naked & Famous, you get all of the quality without the accompanying side-show of celebrity endorsement or product placement in television shows.
Currently, Naked & Famous makes 3 cuts for men. (Brandon likes to keep things simple):
1. The Slim Guy – a mid-rise, straight leg that’s not too skinny
2. The Weird Guy – a low-rise, slouchy tapered leg. It’s slightly fuller through the seat and thighs. Tapers more noticeably from the knee down
3. The Skinny Guy – a regular rise, true-blue skinny leg
MY BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOUR OF NAKED & FAMOUS HQ
I got a chance to tour Naked & Famous’ factory and warehouse on a recent trip to Montreal. Stepping through the front doors of the building, I felt like Charlie Bucket entering Willy Wonka’s factory. Brandon does share some quirky, mad scientist-like characteristics with Roald Dahl’s character (and I mean that in the nicest way). He has heavily guarded production secrets and in fact, you won’t really find too many people in their factory at all. During my visit, I only saw a handful of other people who operate the factory and warehouse, as well as Brandon, Alex and my buddy Bahzad.
Bahzad in his denim kimono + Getting fitted at Naked & Famous showroom
We started off the tour in the showroom where I got to see next season’s new cuts, washes and blends and I finally got to experience the much talked-about, very limited 32 0z. Slim Guy, the world’s heaviest denim. We then continued to their warehouse, which also doubles as the stock room for their concept store. The store is staffed by Alex, your friendly neighbourhood denim-head who is not only extremely friendly and helpful but also has an extraordinary wealth of knowledge about raw denim.
After checking out the warehouse, we then arrived at the crown-jewel of the Naked & Famous complex: the factory. It is complete with a cutting table and all of the machines necessary to make a quality pair of jeans. The factory boasts an impressive collection of authentic, vintage, refurbished machines that help to create a superior product. The iconic name Union Special is figured prominently on many of the machines. Everything from cutting the denim right down to making the holes for the button flies are done on site and by hand.
A sample of the vintage machines used at their factory
Eyelet button-hole machine
I’ve been sworn to secrecy about the upcoming collaborations coming down the line over the next year. Previous collaborations like the Skinny Guy cut in tandem with Momotaro, Big John (the original Japanese denim brand) and my current pair of Weird Guy with hermitesque designer from ONI. It is just the tip of what’s next to come with this brand; look out for a new collaboration jean next month being sold exclusively by Over the Rainbow.