This post comes to us courtesy of Ethan Hickerson of Oklahoma City denim boutique Blue 7 and chronicles their latest Clean Start event. Check our update from last year’s Clean Start for more info.
Clean Start is a denim fading project that our shop in Oklahoma City, Blue 7, has put on for the past three years. We keep the guidelines of the project basic: Wear a pair of raw-denim for seven months straight without washing them. The denim is then washed on the last day of the project at a local laundromat where we hold our annual Clean Start wash party!
We keep two things in mind when we do this project: The first being that we love denim and we want others to love it too. Not only how it fits and feels, but how each pair reflects the individual’s life through the wear and fade of the jeans. The second, and most important, is that we love people and their stories. This project is just one way to bring parts of Oklahoma City’s population together and form a stronger community.
Every year, a variety of people participate in the project. People like tattoo artists, musicians, lawyers, full-time parents, salesmen, designers, high school teachers, and several other folks who are able to wear jeans throughout the majority of their day.
October 1st was the kick-off date when over 100 Okies yanked and jumped into their raw-denim jeans. The brands included spanned Nudie, Naked & Famous, Cult of Individuality, Railcar Fine Goods, Tellason, Imogene + Willie, Williamsburg Garment Co., Unbranded, Paul Rose Products, and Levi’s.
The next seven months were filled with meetups that we called Clean Start Events. Blue 7 opened the store after hours for a private shopping experience, hosted a meet up at Cafe Evoke in Edmond, and went with a group of Clean Starters to volunteer with Habitat For Humanity.
We also used the Blue 7 blog to spotlight several participants, and give them a chance to tell their story.
At the end of the seventh month, the jeans were given their first wash, and Blue 7 gathered each pair for the Clean Start Finale.
The jeans were hung gallery-style along a wall in downtown Oklahoma City. We were fortunate enough to have Brandon Svarc, of Naked and Famous, and Jay Wilkinson, of Imogene + Willie come hang out with us.
Brandon was able to show some of the OKCPD his denim origami skills, and Jay gave us the rundown on what goes into making a pair of American made jeans, and even more encouraging advice on always doing what you love and never settling for less.
Of course the best part about the finale was being able to see over 100 pairs of uniquely faded jeans.
Some of us at Blue 7 were just as eager to break in a pair of jeans as some of our participants. Here are a few of the in-house fades.
Caleb Arter is the owner of Blue 7. He broke in his pair of Imogene + Willie Barton Slims while he and his wife ran a business, raised their two kids, and occasionally set up a makeshift badminton court in the backyard.
Jacob Peregrin is the men’s buyer for the shop. He is a consistent lover of motorcycles and his pups. This paired with an eagerness to enjoy life to the best of his abilities were key ingredients in producing the fades on these Pima Cotton Nudie Grim Tims.
I do some of the behind the scenes work with social media and events for Blue 7. Sometimes I go skateboarding, and sometimes I fall very ridiculously. Luckily, my pair of the Naked and Famous Super Skinny Stretch Selvedge took the beatings well.
Here are soe results from other Clean Start ladies and gents.
We’re fans of extreme honeycombs and whiskers just lie anyone else, but it’s hard not to appreciate the gentle and consistent fade on Alena’s Nudie Tight Long Johns.
Ashley Smith is a tattoo artist here in Oklahoma City who has had some impressive results with her jeans during past Clean Starts, and this year was no exception. She chose the all American route for 2013-2014 with Railcar Vipers.
Around month 4, Joe told us the reason his Cult Rebel Straights were tan in the thighs was because he kept getting dirt on them from all of the composting he does. Eventually the dirt just sunk into the denim. Hard work yields some great results.
After a couple of Clean Starts, we’ve noticed that black denim has proven to be a difficult fade. Matt apparently didn’t mind the challenge, and now owns a great looking pair of Black/Grey Nudie Grim Tims.
We also had a couple of folks wear jeans for the second year in a row.
For example, Matt wore his Naked and Famous Elephants. Well worth the hard work, Matt.
Many of the participants documented their experience with the project on Instagram. You can find those photos by searching #b7cleanstart
For more information on the Clean Start, the finale, or Blue 7, check out the website and blog.