BLAMO! X Standard & Strange

About Standard & Strange

For those of you who don't know us, we're Neil and Jeremy, and we've been doing this for nearly 9 years now. Our history is documented here, covering our journey from a tiny store in a back alley to the present with our shops in Oakland & Santa Fe.

One of the most important parts of our business is our charitable giving. We've committed to giving 2% of our revenue back, along with other fundraising events, all of which is detailed out on this page.

Our new partnership with RUNWAY, a financial innovation firm where restorative capital meets community to benefit Black businesses, represents 50% of that commitment starting in 2021.

The Real McCoys

The uncompromising best in the world at everything they make.

Leather Jackets

Boots

The best boots around from Clinch, Wesco, Viberg, & John Lofgren

The Denim Facts

For every episode of this Blamo! season, we're presenting three Denim Facts.

One is an outrageous lie, two are probably true, and sometimes none of them will be about denim.

"The Sweaty Facts"

→ The hooded sweatshirt was invented in the 1920s to circumvent dress codes in the New York warehouses. Knit hats were not allowed as they gave a disreputable appearance to the workers. One clever worker sewed a hood onto his undershirt to keep his head warm, creating the very first hoodie.

This is half-lie and half-truth. The only true part is that hoodies were first used in the warehouses of New York.

 

→ While sweatpants are considered an un-serious choice of pant - they were so acceptable in 1930s French society that a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt was known as the “Sunday Uniform”.

This is true, and as a bonus, sweatpants were actually invented in France.

 

→ Bob Dylan’s tour rider famously included a new-in-the-bag pair of grey sweatpants at every venue. He preferred to wear clean sweatpants while recording demos and rehearsing before each performance despite objections from Columbia Records about his appearance.

We cannot confirm, nor deny this fact.

 

"501 to Infinity"

→ The Levi’s 501 fit was supposed to be named after the 510 telephone area code where founder Levi Strauss lived in Berkeley, California - but due to a transcription error, the jeans were incorrectly labeled.

It was too costly to re-label the jeans, so the company kept the 501 name, and the rest is history.

This is this week's bald-faced fabrication. Even Levi's has no idea why the 501 is named the 501.

 

→ The first Levi’s jeans were made at least partially cottage-industry style, leveraging a network of home sewers with the Levi’s factory doing the final finishing steps.

This is a true denim fact.

 

→ In 1954 the first zippered version of the 501 were introduced because the East Coast market had never seen button fly jeans before, and did not understand them.

Also a true denim fact. The 501Z was made specifically for the East Coast customer that preferred to keep the wind out of their jeans with a zipper.

 

"Rock & Rodeo"

One of the most iconic jeans ever, the Wrangler 13MZW, was produced by a man named “Rodeo Ben”. He was a Jewish tailor, born in Poland, and working out of Philly. He was so legendary that newscaster and documentarian Charles Kuralt spent two days filming him for CBS.

This is 100% true.

 

→ In the early 2000s, Rock & Republic jeans approached Kid Rock about producing a collaboration jean named after the hit song American Badass, which stalled out due to the 2008 recession. The only known sample of the never released collaboration was sold by Sotheby’s for a modest price of $175, the original suggested retail price.

This is terrifying close to reality, but it is, in fact, a fabrication.

 

→ When Renzo Rosso was choosing the name for his new denim company, the world was in the midst of the 1970s oil crisis. Diesel was the alternative to the mainstream gasoline, and Rosso's vision was that his jeans would be the alternative to mainstream denim, and the fashion brand Diesel was born.

Also a true, but overlydistressed, denim fact.

 

"Denim Care, Part 1"

→ Due to the chemicals used in the indigo dyeing process, unwashed jeans are more flammable than jeans that have been washed or thoroughly soaked in water. It’s recommended that if you are a smoker that you wash your raw denim jeans before wearing them.

This is a highly flammable fabrication.

 

→ Putting your jeans in your freezer for 48 hours will kill odor-causing bacteria, prevent excessive color loss and protect your jeans. Spraying jeans with Febreze is another no-wash solution to keep your jeans smelling fresh.

This is a lie someone close to you has told you at some point.

 

→ Loomstate denim is denim that has not been exposed to water or any finishing processes meant to stabilize the fabric. If you get a pair of loomstate jeans, they must be soaked before wear in order to maximize their lifespan.

This one is very true, and kind of important.

 

"EXCEL facts"

→ In 1985, Microsoft Excel was launched exclusively on the Macintosh, giving it a significant market share advantage over their competitors, who were still using Microsoft DOS operating systems.

Strangely, not a lie.

 

→ One of the early players in the spreadsheet marketplace was Lotus 1-2-3, a product that has never been beaten in revenue growth to this day, hitting $156 million in sales after only 2 years.

Not a lie, and something every SaaS company should beembarrassed about.

 

Microsoft Excel 5.0 has an undocumented feature called “Hall of Tortured Souls”, where the user can open a portal to hell and navigate the underworld.

Also true. We forgot the lie this week.

 

"Leather Jacket Facts"

→The A-2 leather flight jacket originally worn by US Army Air Forces pilots during World War Two - also known as a bomber jacket - was traditionally worn by American presidents while visiting troops, but presidential physiques have had severe issues filling out the jacket. After newspapers ridiculed Richard Nixon for his ill-fitting A-2 in 1973, Gerald Ford refused to wear any military jacket in public, and instead met with troops only while wearing a suit and tie.

Mostly true - Nixon wasn't ridiculed by the press for a bad fitting jacket, but he was a crook and a poor dresser. Ford wore a suit and tie to stay on brand.

 

→ The Ramones famously wore Schott Perfecto leather motorcycle jackets and helped re-popularize that style. There was never an official partnership between Schott and The Ramones - as Johnny Ramone only purchased counterfeit versions of the jacket for the band.

Not true. Also read this.

 

→ To prepare for his lead role in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, Matt Damon conducted extensive interviews with people who served at the Pearl Harbor military base. During one of these interviews, Matt was given a leather flight jacket worn during World War Two - and he insisted that he wear it for his role in the film, despite it not being the correct jacket for his character. A nasty dispute with costume designer Michael Kaplan followed. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer settled the dispute by rewriting Kaplan’s contract to include residuals for DVD sales - a rare accommodation for a costume designer.

This is a lie. Michael Kaplan never got residuals for the DVD sales.

 

"Japanese Denim Facts"

→Japanese reproductions of classic American jeans began when an entrepreneur and denim collector from Kojima, Japan discovered an entire warehouse of Draper shuttle looms from Amoskeag Denim Mills in New Hampshire. He imported the looms into Japan and started producing exact reproductions of classic denim fabrics used by Levi’s that were higher quality than the originals.

This is a lie. Japanese denim has been produced primarily with Toyoda looms.

 

→ In order to reproduce the fading characteristics of American denim, the master indigo dyers of Japan were faced with a major challenge. Their expertise lay in dyeing yarns completely to the core, which created denim that would not produce a high-contrast fade. Eventually, they were able to reproduce how yarn was dyed for vintage American denim, unlocking sikk fades for all of Superfuture to admire.

This is not a lie.

 

→ The Oda river that runs through the Japanese town of Kojima, where the bulk of Japanese denim and jeans are made, has a high alkaline mineral content. The specific concentrations of potassium, calcium and manganese in the water gives cotton extraordinary elasticity during the yarn finishing process. This extra stretch is why you should always choose 2 sizes smaller when buying jeans made with Japanese denim from Kojima, as the fabric will expand significantly more than other denim when worn.

This is a lie. There's a lot of variability across different denims but two full sizes of give is quite a.... stretch.

 

"Japanese Denim Facts Part 2"

→The “Toyoda” in the Toyoda G-series shuttle looms used to make Japanese denim is not a coincidence. Toyota started as a textile technology company before entering the automotive market in 1937. Eventually the two companies split apart to focus on their core businesses.

True. And Toyota has one hell of a good museum about this.

 

Using a modern lockstitch machine to hem selvedge denim can severely and permanently damage the fabric. The correct machine, the Union Special 43200G chain stitcher, only runs one feed dog instead of two, which torques in the opposite direction to the twist of the yarns in the fabric. This creates a balance of tension that actually strengthens the hem, and is very difficult to unravel.

This is a partial fabrication. You can hem your jeans however you want, but using a chain stitch machine with one feed dog will torque the hem, creating thedesirable roping effect.

 

During World War 2, Levi’s continued to make jeans, but due to shortages in materials for the war effort, the stitched arcuate on the back pocket was eliminated to save thread. The stitched design was replaced with surplus paint from the military bases in San Francisco - and more often than not this paint is mildly radioactive. An easy way to tell an authentic pair of early 1940’s Levi’s is a quick swipe with a Geiger counter.

This could easily be true but... it's a lie.

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