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We caught up with Michael Silver, the president of Silver Jeans Co. to find out more about the brand, it’s fits, why it was started and of course its 20th anniversary plans!
DB: Congratulations on your 20th anniversary! How does it feel to have been in the business so long?
To be honest it feels like I just started! A combination of exuberance and fear make everyday seem like a new day and challenge. 20 years may sound like a long time but to me it seems like just yesterday that I started the brand. Silver Jeans Co. is also a baby compared to our parent company, Western Glove Works, which is also celebrating it’s 90th birthday this year!
DB: How has Silver Jeans evolved over the years?
Well, in many respects, the basic DNA Remains completely intact. We are “jeaners” and we always have been. We worry about every stitch, every wash formula, every yard of fabric. We don’t manufacture jeans, we craft them so daily the grind of making a perfect pair of jeans is the same. The only difference is that we have expanded the number of styles we make and the audience to which we sell. Our fans include all ages and backgrounds and our product offering in sportswear has certainly grown enormously. But as I said we remain “JEANERS.”
DB: For our readers who are not familiar with Silver Jeans, what makes your jeans so great?
As I just said, we “craft ” them. We are tireless about the details; the way the inside pockets work; the stitches per inch; the shape of every pattern angle on a jean is scrutinized and has been improved over the last 20 years. In the 90 years that our parent company has been in business, we have crafted over 70,000,000 million jeans in our history and learned a thing or two about denim, shrinkage, how product reacts to home wearing and home washing. We have a technology team that literally writes a specification book on each and every style and there are hundreds of styles created yearly. We test and retest our laundry formulas and the stitching and seam allowances. We even concern ourselves with what happens if a jean sits on retailer’s shelf in terms of the light and it’s effects on indigo and fit. We fit and refit every single production run of jeans and our technologists look at every aspect of the laundry and dry processes on prototypes and once again on every production run.
DB: I heard for the anniversary you are reissuing a limited edition jean called the Frisco, can you tell us more?
Frisco was really our breakthrough “item” that helped build the brand some 20 years ago. My Design Director Allan Kemp and I were inspired by old Levi’s, contoured waistbands and processes to create aging for denim (sand blast and stone wash). We also thought flares were totally cool and that the rise and fit on women’s jeans sold at the time were not as good as they could be so we invented a fit “Frisco” with a contour waistband, a super low rise (at the time 11″ was considered LOW) and went on to sell 5 million Friscos over our history. We thought it fitting to celebrate our anniversary by reissuing the Frisco which pays homage to the original – a flare jean, button fly (as my designer says ,the only kind of fly for REAL JEANS ) and used a similar medium stonewash shade. It’s not as high rise as the original at all but it is a higher rise than many other Silver Jeans Co. jeans at 9″. It’s a simple jean that fits as comfortably as it looks!
DB: Do you have anymore 20th anniversary plans?
Other than reissuing the Frisco for the consumer and retailer who love it then, we plan to celebrate with our Silver jean Co. staff “family” in December. Compared to Levi’s or Wrangler, 20 years is really not that old. I think I will save the big celebration for our 50th year. In many ways, we’ve only just started with Silver Jeans Co.!
DB: What makes denim so important to you?
Denim is part of my heritage and part of our company’s heritage so it feels like “home” for us. It just feels natural to be involved in denim. Denim is a fabric and an lifestyle for all ages and all parts of the world! It’s timeless and everyone has a fond denim memory. I, myself, have many many!
DB: Why did you decide to create Silver Jeans Co. 20 years ago?
I had spent my first 17 years with Western Glove Works in the production and engineering side of the denim business (even though I was a fine arts grad !!). So after really wanting a new personal focus and after seeing the successes of many of the licensed brands we manufactured at the time, we started our own “brand” almost as a challenge to myself. After years of making jeans for many of our own work wear labels and many other notable private label retailers, we thought it’s time to take 70 years of experience and put it into a brand that is truly our very own !
DB: What has been your favourite memory since the brand was founded?
There are so many! I think when my Design Director and I would travel the world from Tokyo to Amsterdam to Iowa almost 20 years ago, we had so much fun! We would look at every jean anywhere, tear it apart, study and theorize how it was made, why it was made and then… try and figure out how Silver Jeans Co. could do it better (this was almost always over Sushi and sake!)
Today… many years later, I meet people who have been wearing my brand for 20 year’s that tell me how they still love them.