My buddy Jian, who recently joined the Complex team, approached me about filming a video for their website about our jean repair process. With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, I agreed. I think the video turned out great; certainly a testament to the talents of the director, Jonathan Lees, and his team.
Darning jeans is a complex process because each jean is different and reacts differently to the machine, and each repair scenario has to be approached in a unique way. While the video makes the process look simple, it’s actually a task that generates regular headaches. Sometimes the machine acts up (it’s over 50 years old), sometimes the thread tangles and knots, and sometimes the timing is off. Sometimes I make a mistake and have to spend half an hour taking the repair apart and starting from scratch. I’ve spent more than a few evenings spent in our sweltering basement raining curses down on the machine. If not for the ongoing guidance and tutelage of Julian, who heads up Self Edge SF’s repair services, I might have given up by now.
Frustrations aside, I really enjoy the repair process. Since Johan and I design our own jeans but don’t manufacture them ourselves, I feel like darning holes and chainstitching hems are the closest I can get to jean (re)construction. There’s also a certain satisfaction that comes from handing a rebuilt pair back to an excited customer. Now, if only I could get people to wash their jeans before bringing them in… I’m not trying to get a staph infection here.