'Below the Belt' with Will Halbert

A truly wonderful piece from Will Halbert shared from his blog.

"Speaking to those who know a thing or two about a thing or two on the question of quality denim

Future classics for like-minded souls. A lean, mean mantra by anyone’s standards. For The Workers Club, it stands as a pithy, to-the-point raison d'etre; a solid reminder that the brand is in the business of things built to go the distance. The brand’s denim offering is a fine example of that said-same stock and trade.

TWC’s denim roster boasts superlative selvedge options with some seriously purist, made-in-Japan sensibilities, but it does so in a way that eschews any of the elitist esotericism that all too often comes in tow. Sure, raw options abound, but The Workers Club’s standout selections are to be found in a series of hand-finished washes and ready-made fades that ensure there’s something for the indigo fanatic and the denim debutant alike.

All of which is to say that TWC’s co-founder, Adam Cameron, has some pretty interesting insights on the subject of selvedge denim. So read on, why don’t you? You might even learn a thing or two.



On Fit

“Historically, I’ve always leaned more towards a slim, straight fit. I’m not particularly tall and I think you have to have a certain physique to pull off a wider leg jean. It’s a very personal thing I guess, but I feel like a slim fit pairs well with pretty much everything I own and it's a flattering fit. 

“I would usually prefer one turn up, but turn ups are a somewhat movable feast, especially if you’re playing around with unsanforized denim. Luckily, our TWC jeans are sanforized, so shrinkage is minimal. Back in the day, I’d wear a good 6 inch cuff, but that’s not really my vibe anymore. Of late, I’m actually leaning more towards a relaxed fit with a higher rise and a wider leg. I think that’s partly an age thing.”

On Fabric

“This is a question of personal preference, for sure. But I think that the ideal, hardy-yet-perennial weight is around 12.5oz to 13.5oz. But then again, it really does depend on the mill. You can take one cloth that feels light but is actually 14oz and vice versa, depending on the mill where it was made. 

“As for TWC’s offerings, we utilise a lovely, rope-dyed, 13.5oz right hand twill from the mills of Kuroki, out in Ibara, Okayama. This works wonderfully across our raw and rinse options and the majority of our washes too. This might sound a little obvious, but I think the key to choosing denim is knowing how it washes and fades over time. It's one thing to have a great looking raw article, but the evolution of the denim is just as important. Washed styles benefit from a heavier ounce weight, as they need to withstand the wash-fading process. 

“And as for the question of washed or raw, I have always sworn by raw denim as you get to create your own fades, which is often the appeal behind denim. I’ve loosened up on that mentality over time, and I truly love some of the wash development we’ve achieved here at TWC. I think we’ve created some really interesting things that are otherwise outside the remit of the fades you’d get from your average raw denim journey.”

On Favourites

“A standout model for me, and one that I wore a lot, is the first jean that Mister Freedom introduced when the brand started collaborating with Sugar Cane in Japan. Those MFSC jeans were a true Frankenstein’s monster. They combined several different denims (each leg had a different denim, for example) and had crazy patching details and prints on the waistband. They looked like something dug up from a mine! I still love them, but I tend to wear them a lot less these days now that I have my own brand.

“On that note, I’d highlight our Black Fade jeans as a personal favourite. I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out. For a little context, we took a pair or our raw black jeans (an offering that we introduced in the early days of TWC) and we sent them to our laundry facility in Okayama to create a natural-looking black jean wash. The results were pretty much exactly what I had in my mind. Honestly, it’s as if our denim wash wizard saw straight into my thoughts.”

On What to Wear them with

“This might make me sound like an old giffer here, but I still think the best, most iconic look of all time is just a pair of raw jeans, a white tee (preferably a TWC one, but whatever) and a pair of Cons. It just doesn’t get more timeless than that. My daily, go-to look usually consists of a white or Breton-striped tee. In terms of footwear - I’ll either dress my denim up with a pair of dark chocolate Cheaney derbies, or dress things down with a pair of Nike x Undercover Daybreaks. Oh, and you mustn’t forget the socks! I love a powerful, statement sock. Which is why we’ve got some great Varsity socks in our line up at TWC, too. They go with pretty much everything.”

On Whether or Not to Wash

“This is a tricky one! I think I sit somewhere between those who wash far too regularly and the extreme nerds who put their jeans in the freezer (sorry - that's just not for me). That said, as I write this, I’m wearing the final prototypes we made of our 001s - our inaugural slim fit. I’ve been wearing these from raw for around five years now. I think I’ve washed them twice. Max. Luckily, we have both a Denim Wash and Denim Refresher - which we developed with vegan laundry and lifestyle specialists Norfolk Natural Living - so the washes I have done have locked in the colour nicely and minimised fading. 

“I always prefer to wear my denim until I really, really must wash them. I’m not as purist as I used to be (I once did the whole sit-in-the-bath, shrink-to-fit thing with a pair of LVCs - to not-so-great results), but I still firmly believe that you get out what you put in with a pair of raw jeans. Save the planet, buy less but better, and wash only when necessary.”



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