Denim has a rich history, both as fabric and as pants. Serge de Nîmes, was the original name fort the fabric, translating to “Fabric from Nîmes,” a City in southern France. Traditionally dyed with indigo, this material was first made in to pants in Genoa: The French word for which is Gênes, and the origin of the word Jeans. Today, both Denim and Jeans are a global industry that reflect the complex trade practices of globalization, although some of the best denims tend to come from Japan. Some of the best jeans are made in the USA from that Japanese import, and that’s exactly what RPMWest did with this pair.
Material: Japanese Selvage Denim, Copper Hardware, Brushed Leather Patch.
Measurements: See fit guide on product page.
You may have noticed that RPMWest is calling this an APC improved reproduction. There’s a reason for that: APC is a well established clothier that produces a very popular jean. Anderson Cooper wore them, and for many Americans, that was the first time they heard of Raw Denim. I have never featured APC on this blog, and I don’t intend to for a few reasons: They are constructed with inferior techniques , they use inferior quality denim, and their production is in China instead of a country that respects workers’ rights. RPMWest has addressed all of these problems by recreating APC’s fit with superior denim, US construction, and serious hardware improvements.
Founder Manuel Rappard had a pair sent to check out, and I have to say that while this is a nice pair of jeans, we did have a couple of quality control issues: The outseam on one of the pant legs split, and there was a bit of unravelling happening near the crotch. Fortunately, this gave me a chance to check out RPMWest’s return policy. Every RPMWest order arrives with a prepaid return shipping label, and can be returned within 15 days of arrival. They do have a small fee for exchanges, but it is my understanding that it is waived in instances like these.
In spite of a couple of quality control issues on this particular pair, RPMWest denim has fantastic stitching consistency and design choices built for durability. One of my favorite features is the tucked-belt loop, which effectively creates a 2nd mini-belt loop perfect for attaching a carabiner or keychain to without damaging the larger loop. This pair uses a standard V-shaped yoke, with the waistband and seat stitched atop.
The Japanese Selvage has just a hint of slub, giving the weft a chance to show subtle inconsistencies that are sure to add to the jeans character in the future. The indigo-dyed warp is also a deep, pure blue that will fade to an un-sulfured blue (as opposed to sulfurous blue-green).
RPMWest’s trademark is emblazoned on the leather patch, which is a brushed genuine leather. While this is not the sort of leather I would want a briefcase, duffel bag or purse made from, I will say that it is perfectly suited to denim. It is thicker than the patch on my pair of Gustins, although not as thick or high quality as the Tanner Leather Goods patches employed by Tellason. Given that RPMWest delivers a product between those two in price, it’s a fitting patch choice.
All in all, RPMWest makes a great jean for the low-to-mid budget denim enthusiast. And if they bring the same quality design and execution to their latest Kickstarter Project, I have little doubt that their jackets will last 25 years or more. And if I’m wrong, RPMWest’s no-charge repair policy and long-term of warranty is sure to have your back anyway, for their entire catalog.