[DEEP DIVE] WIDE PEG JEAN
Welcome back to "DEEP DIVE". In this series, we go behind the scenes to trace the genesis of our favorite Engineered Garments items. In this installation, we took out our magnifying glass to examine the Wide Peg Jean, an Engineered Garments that pays service to the jeans of the 80s while creating an original feeling.
The Engineered Garments' point of view can be challenging to understand. Its conflicting impulses emphasize craftsmanship while denying an all-out strive for tailoring perfection. Its roots lie in the designs and patterns of vintage workwear, outdoor gear, and military uniforms, but its products are not mere recreations of archive items. The Wide Peg Jean is a representation of this school of thought. While it touches on several deep and quasi-zealous subcultures, it is defined by none, preferring to chart its path to a new destination.
The 1980s marked the start of the designer jeans craze, culminating in what might be the most absurd development of jeans in the 20th century. Denim pants had gone from being seen as pure, orthodox workwear in the 1930s and 40s before being adopted by the Ivy League crowd in the 1950s (white denim only, of course). By the 1970s, it had become the counterculture uniform synonymous with youth. By the 1980s, it had nowhere to go but up.
The designer jean craze began as the culture adjusted to the more conservative bent of the 1980s. Racy advertisements and catchy slogans propelled brands like Jordache, Calvin Klein, or Sergio Valente to earth-shattering levels of popularity. While dismissed by some as a badge to the conspicuously consuming upper crust of society, designs were implementing creative innovations. CLOSED by Francois Girbaud's Pedal Pushers and their "back on the front" design and trademark white printing near the hem was an actual development of a decades-old design. When delivered with state-of-the-art marketing, customers couldn't help but covet a pair of their own. Engineered Garments designer Daiki Suzuki was not spared from this infectious desire.
Though he worked in a store selling Girbaud jeans, he couldn't afford the sky-high prices, settling for $60 Levi's instead. It may seem tautological that we want what we can't have, but our unfulfilled desires have a habit of resurfacing in unexpected ways. When it came time for Daiki to create a pair of jeans under his label, he looked to the jeans of the 1980s, borrowing the high waist and peg-top shape that starts wide in the thigh and then tapers near the hem.
As this series has mentioned, denim is the most critical fabric in the Engineered Garments ensemble, and on the Wide Peg Jean, Daiki chose to use selvedge denim. In the wide world of denim aficionados, selvedge is the unquestioned leader in excellence. This unique fabric requires older looms for its manufacturing process and features a higher quality and tighter twill. But it is also costly to make and produces a smaller yield. The telltale finished edge on the hem of selvedge denim jeans comes from a finishing placed on the edge of the fabric roll, a trait missing from modern mass-produced denim fabrics.
When constructing the Wide Peg Jean, Daiki faced a dilemma - how to make a tapered jean using selvedge denim. Due to the smaller yield of selvedge, the fabric rolls are narrow. While this doesn't pose a problem for straight-leg jeans, on tapered jeans, it can cause the grain to tilt, giving an unnatural look to the pants. In the spirit of breaking the rules, Daiki and expert patternmaker Kazuya Sawada successfully engineered the Wide Peg Jean - creating a tapered selvedge jean that still looks great. Other elements also separate this pair from most pairs of jeans, like the uncommon high rise, the strip of bias tape at the hem, or the unembellished stitching on the back pocket.
Three types of denim appear in the Fall Winter 2022 season: Indigo 10oz Cone Denim and Natural 14oz Bull Denim, Black 14oz Bull Denim. The Indigo version is slightly lighter at 10oz, sourced from one of the last batches of American-made denim produced by North Carolina's historic Cone Mills Corporation. Made in California, the 14oz Bull Denim has a more pronounced twill weave, thanks to its unusual 3 to 1 (warp to weft) construction. Unlike most denim, this fabric is dyed after being woven, allowing for solid natural and black colors.
Like many items in Engineered Garments' ensemble, the Wide Peg Jean is an item that refuses to take itself too seriously. Unconcerned with competing against companies that fanatically produce denim goods, the brand doesn't always see a pair of jeans in each collection. But when they emerge, they do so as a personal project and one where he can have fun bending the fashion rules. Much like the Engineered Garments brand, the Wide Peg Jean dabbles in many genres but refuses to claim allegiance to one, preferring to march to the beat of its own drum.
The Wide Peg Jean is available in the following fabrics:
Black Cotton Heavy Twill
Dark Navy Cotton Heavy Twill
Dark Navy Wool Uniform Serge
Navy 8W Corduroy
Available in-store and online at nepenthesny.com