The second ever Heavyweight Denim Competition (HWDC2) recently passed its halfway point and the results so far have been quite impressive. A record 287 individuals have put their legs to the test for the two year competition, and a surprising number have continued to stick it out.
But according to co-organizer Gavin Smith (Megatron1505), HWDC2 almost never happened: “I never wanted to do HWDC2, and I wouldn’t have done it if so many people hadn’t requested it,” Smith said. “My first thoughts on doing HWDC2 were to make it significantly different from the first competition, we suffered a lot from the initial wave of interest dropping quite rapidly so the challenges were brought in to try and keep people motivated and competing, which I think has been a lot of fun and has succeeded to a degree.”
Around 100-150 people are still active across all the official forums for the event, over double what Smith expected at this point. In case you haven’t had the chance to check out one of the official threads, here’s a highlight on some of the participants, all actively wearing their jeans to shreds and joining in on HWDC2’s camaraderie. Each competitor answered the same set of questions and is referred to by their SuperFuture handle, all jeans have been worn for one year with one more to go.
Max Power – Samurai Naniwa Special
Raw Denim Owned: 16 pairs at the moment
Home: Hamburg, Germany
Favorite Brand: Samurai
Number of Denim Competitions: Pike Brothers German Tour, HWDC1, HWDC2, UES Contest
Method of Denim Destruction: Working (office), skating, cycling, going to live gigs, hiking, leisure wear. I don’t own sweatpants, so I wear them all day, no matter what I do.
Washing method: I soak 2-3 times before I wear them, then do handwashes every 1-2 months, after approx. 4 months I start machine washes. Every 6 weeks approx. or whenever needed.
Favorite Competitor’s Pair: Many. I am biased, my favorite denim is the 19 oz Samurai denim, Cander49 has an awesome pair and shows the kind of fading, that I like best. MMBJ‘s Samurai Element pair is also nice and so is louisbosco’s Pure Blue Japan.
Megatron1505’s Take on Max Power: He is mister consistent when it comes to denim, I’ve never seen him wear any denim that doesn’t end up with amazingly defined high contrast fades and that goes for jeans, shirts and jackets. I’m not entirely sure what his secret is but it certainly bears results.Personally speaking I am more of a fan of subtle, vintage wear and fade patterns than I am of high contrast, but I am very aware that I am in the minority when you look at the top jeans from the last HWDC and other denim contests from around the web.
Fanya – Iron Heart Mega Beatle Busters
Competition Jean: Iron Heart Mega Beatle Busters (25 oz. HWDC2 Competition Model)
Raw Denim Owned: 6 pairs
First Pair: Nov 2012
Home: Born and raised Minnesota but currently in Baltimore, Maryland
Favorite Brand: Iron Heart
Number of Competitions: First one
Method of Denim Destruction: Everyday. Work and play. I lead a pretty active life. I skydive, climb, hike, ride motorcycle, cooking, cleaning, reading books. I put them on when I get up and take them off when I sleep.
Washing Method: Soaks, every week or two when I’m wearing them at work, three to four weeks when they are non-work pairs.
Favorite Competitor’s Pair: I’m not good at picking favorites, it’s more about the journey than the end result.
Megatron1505’s take on Fanya: Fanya is wearing the Iron Heart Mega Beatle Busters, which Iron Heart made for the competition, and is fading them in a way that I didn’t think was possible for the 25oz denim. Honestly, I don’t even think that Iron Heart themselves would have thought it was possible to fade the 25oz like Fanya has. The really interesting thing about his jeans is that there is a general; overall fade to the denim along with the very clearly defined high contrast combs and whiskers. I know that Fanya works as a skydiving instructor so spending so much time active and crawling around in small planes has obviously contributed a lot to the overall wear, I also know that Fanya’s jeans see water quite often as he shower washes them, so this will also be quite a factor.
Cander49 – Samurai S710xx 19oz.
Raw Denim Owned: 4
First Pair: 2010
Home: Salt Lake City, Utah
Favorite Brand: Samurai (Based off of experience with the 710) I like how they’re fading, and with no repairs required yet, after 15 months of very hard wear, that seems like a win to me.
Number of Competitions: First
Method of Denim Destruction: I wear my jeans everyday and take am extremely active in them. This ski season, which started in mid-November, I’ve taken them skiing 58 times so far, and will probably get in another 5-10 before the season ends in a few weeks. I hike with them all the time and I’m not afraid to soak them, get them dirty. (The other) night, for example, my girlfriend and I took my dog and a dog we’ve been watching for a steep several hour hike on muddy trails and I wore these. When the rain really picked up, we had to run a couple miles back down a mountain to get back to my car, so they were totally splattered in mud and soaked through when we finished, but that’s how I like to wear them.
Washing Method: I don’t have a typical washing protocol, but just give them a machine wash and dry whenever they get gross. If I’m not mistaken, the wash they got after the hike last night was their 11th.
Favorite Competitor’s Pair: Beatle and Max Power always produce nice pairs, and Louisbosco also has a great pair this time, as usual. If I had to pick a dark horse, I think Louis could really do well in the 2nd half of this competition.
Megatron1505’s take on Cander49: Cander is a denim destroying machine; his jeans have fades upon fades already. Cander’s jeans are characterised by having fades in places where other people still have full dark indigo and more general overall wear than just about anyone else in the competition. He’s wearing Samurai 710xx 19oz, which I know from personal experience shed their indigo quite quickly so this will have helped them reach their current stage of wear, as will the Samurai insistence on using 100% cotton thread rather than poly cotton. Again, from a personal point of view, I prefer a little more subtlety in terms of both fade and wear so it’s a good job for most of these guys that I’m not a judge ha ha.
Competition Jean: Iron Heart Mega Beatle Buster (25 Oz. competition model)
Raw Denim Owned: 2
First Pair: January 2012
Favorite Brand: Iron Heart (both my pairs) Samurai, Flat Head, etc.
Number of Competitions: First
Method of Denim Destruction: I wear it everyday (12 hours/day) and ride my bicycle in them an hour a day, 5 days a week
Washing Method: Soaked 6 times in the 1st year and intend to machine wash it when the competition finishes
Favorite Competitor’s Pair: Fanya for sure!!
Megatron1505’s take on Tong SF: Now Tong SF has a lovely balance between vintage and contrast in my opinion. The wear to his jeans is far more evenly spread than Fanya or Max or many other competitors and yet he still manages to keep the defined combs and whiskers in place. Tong’s jeans are one of my personal favourite pairs so far. Interestingly Tong is also wearing the Iron Heart MBB’s and his jeans look a lot different to those worn by Fanya, just shows how your life affects your denim.
Slowitchu – P.I Hagbergs 19oz Kurabo
Competition Jean: I’m wearing probably one of the last pairs of the Swedish brand P.I Hagberg 19oz Kurabo denim. The founder Per-Ivan Hagberg passed away late 2013 and therefore the production stopped. I bought my pair directly from the factory here in Sweden. They don’t even have the hand hammered rivets because Ivan was the only one who knew where to get them.
Raw Denim Owned: 9 pairs, mostly Swedish brands
First Pair: I think I was 13 years old (9-10 years ago), my mom was the one who got me in to it but the real addiction didn’t start until years later.
Home: Stockholm, Sweden
Favorite Brand: My biggest cravings right now is for a pair Momotaro.
Number of Competitions: First
Method of Denim Destruction: I wear them every day, but I’ve only been able to wear them at work too the last few months. Before that it was just after work and on weekends. I do everything in my denim, I work a lot on my cars and stuff like that and wear them for things that doesn’t get them too dirty.
Washing Method: For this pair I waited for 365 days of wear in a row until I made a quick machine wash, I like to keep my denim dark for as long as possible. But I’m really happy how they turned out after the wash. So now I feel like I can wash them a little bit more frequently.
Favorite Competitor’s Pair: Cander49 has a great looking pair, Netleyhunter has a pair of impressive Naked & Famous 32oz also, two totally different denim.
Megatron1505’s Take on Slowitchu: Slowitchu is a bit of a departure from the norm in so much as he is wearing jeans made by the Swedish brand PI Hagbergs rather than what most would consider to be one of the “major” brands. From memory the denim is Japanese and quite hairy. Again, much like Max, Slowitchu has attained quite striking high contrast fades. I think much of the wear comes from how well the jeans fit him and suit his body type not to mention how well they seem to have held up from a construction point of view.
Be sure to follow along on the competition website for the next year of HWDC2 to see the next year of denim evolution on these jeans and many more.