If you haven’t seen the GUSTIN Kickstarter project yet, you may want to check it out. The folks at GUSTIN are putting out a pair of Raw Denim at wholesale pricing: an $81 pledge scores you a pair of Cone Mill’s Selvage denim in sizes from 29-34, 36 or 38. They have more than tripled their goal as of this writing, so a pledge is as good as a pre-order of the jeans.
Inexpensive options for Raw Denim are usually slim pickings, but the most popular at this price point is definately Unbranded at $70-80. $81 for a product made from Cone Mills Denim almost sounds too good to be true: Jeans made from their products typically cost around $200 or more, including Tellason, Raleigh, Lock Sicker and others. With that in mind, I reached out to GUSTIN to ask them for a sample to review, which I promised to return to them. They obliged.
In speaking with Stephen Powell, he explained that the sample sent to me was not quite the same as the standard Kickstarter product. While the cut, assembly, and features are all identical to the Kickstarter denim, they did not have a pair from the Cone Mill’s 13.5 ounce denim to send me in my size. Instead they sent me a Japanese Selvage 13.75 ounce model, which they have been offering through kickstarter in limited quantities as “THE HEAVY.” With that in mind, I’ll be focusing my review on the craftsmanship and design.
They also have a very neat project going on: A Road Trip to look for more denim types to offer through Kickstarter and as a part of their repertoire. Readers and project supporters can influence the maker’s choice in denim for special, limited productions of their products.
|The detail work on these custom buttons is wonderful.|
GUSTIN’s choice in metalwork for this jeans may be the most interesting, well executed custom metalwork I have seen in a pair of jeans to date. Front pockets are reinforced with custom silver-colored rivets emblazened with “GUSTIN QUALITY GARMENTS” written along the circumference, while the back pockets are stitch-reinforced. The button-fly has beautiful custom made buttons in silver with a white imprinting on the surface, saying “GUSTIN QUALITY GARMENTS” as well. I am curious what type of metal they are fashioned from– If they are susceptible to corrosion, they may fade to a beautiful copper green, nickel brown, or other color. at any rate, I expect that they will remain a beautiful detail for years to come.
The back-side of each button and rivet is emblazoned with an imprinted G. Even here, where no one other than overly-attentive consumers like me would look that closely, GUSTIN maintains the attention to detail that is shown on the outside of the jeans.
|This leather patch should fade as beautifually as the denim.|
With the trademark GUSTIN emblazoned on the lower right, this dark brown leather patch is solid yet flexible. I expect the leather to wear fast given its thinness, but no faster than the denim. It could make for some beautiful leather-fades. The stitching used to keep it in place was a loop-stitch, with the outside of the leather using a brown thread while the inside is the same gold-colored thread of the rest of the denim construction.
The Leather is sourced from a producer in San Francisco.
|A traditional “Upside-Down House” rear pocket.|
The back pockets are fantastic. A traditional pentagonal shape like an upside-down house, they are secured to the jean via two loop-stitches with extra stitch-reinforcing at the top corners. Back pockets also have a beautiful blue stitch cutting accross the pocket. The simple design gives style without losing a classic look. The inside opening of the back pockets and front coin-pocket has a detail GUSTIN did not mention on their kickstarter page: Two layers of red-interior chain stitching. Another red-interior chain stitch is present on the hemline, while the front pockets are deep enough to comfortably fit my 4.3 inch smartphone and wallet in one, with my large set of keys in the other.
Belt loops are tucked under, and the right-side loop is made from a piece containing a line of Selvage. The interior reinforcement stitching for each beltloop looks solid and perfect: Not a single thread out of place on delivery, nor after trying them on.
|The details on the rivets is hard to capture on my camera,
but the belt loops are nicely designed
Overall, I am thoroughly impressed. These jeans have the sort of quality in construction that I would expect from a $250+ pair of jeans. Occasional stray threads were loose and easily removed upon arrival, but the same is true of a pair of Raleigh Denim or Momotaro’s. This pair had no flaws in threadwork to speak of. Trust me, I checked them inside and out.
The biggest request I received from readers on Reddit was for the Fit and Measurements. My results are very similar to what GUSTIN reports in their Fit Guide. My measurements for this pair of 31’s are below. I followed this Guide for my measurements. For reference in the Fit-pictures, I am about 5’10” and 140 lbs.
Unless indicated, my measurements matched the fit guide.
Waist: 31.5 Inches
Front Rise: 10.5 Inches
Back Rise: 13.875 inches. GUSTIN does not report this measure
Upper Thigh: GUSTIN reports 22.75, I measured 23.5. Likely a difference in measurement methods.
Knee: I measured 17 inches at 13 inches below the crotch seam, GUSTIN reported 16.5 inches 15 inches below the crotch.
Leg Opening: 16.5 inches
Inseam: GUSTIN reported 34, I reported 34.25 inches. I think my measurement may have been a bit off.
If you are looking for a fantastic pair of Raw Denim and your budget is somewhere between $40 and $250, you like a straight cut and can wait until a March or April shipment, I strongly suggest a pre-order through Kickstarter. At $81, Cone Mills Denim combined with GUSTIN’s craftsmanship is sure to be a winning combination that completely redefines the sub-$250 price range of Raw Denim. And while GUSTIN’s range of offerings is limited in fits and denim weights for now, I anticipate they will be a big name with many options in the very near future.
PS– We have decided to make more photos available over on our Google+ page. Click Here to check it out!
Update: The GUSTIN kickstarter successfully closed at just under $450,000 with 4010 supporters, one of which is me. Congratulations to the project, and we look forward to seeing more from the guys at GUSTIN, as well as the pair I pledged for.
Update 3: This pair of jeans was followed up in A Later Post, check it out!
DISCLOSURE: Instead of returning this pair of jeans to GUSTIN, I gave them to a friend with permission from them. I will be posting updates in the future about how they fade.
This post was written before we adopted our Ethics Statement, so this disclosure was included.