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Fade Friday – The Real McCoy’s 991BK (3 years, 10 soaks)

Fade Friday – The Real McCoy’s 991BK (3 years, 10 soaks)

Me as Sam Quint posing for CO-OP #2 in Montauk, NY. Image by Eric Kvatek.

Fade Friday – The Real McCoy’s 991BK (3 years, 10 soaks)

Me and Heddels Editor Gerald Ortiz in front of Lucali in 2017. Image by our own Rob Lim.

Fade Friday – The Real McCoy’s 991BK (3 years, 10 soaks)

Me and Ryan Lindow at AFGI in Karachi, Pakistan developing CO-OP #4. Image by Henry Wong.

Fade Friday – The Real McCoy’s 991BK (3 years, 10 soaks)

Me and Heddels Founding Editor Nick Coe at the Kingpins Show in New York. Image by Amy Leverton.

When people hear that this website is what I do for a living, one of the usual questions is, “How many jeans do you have?” But the answer is a rather underwhelming two pairs. I’ve worn these 991BKs from The Real McCoy’s on most days for the last three years and I really, really like them.

I bought them shortly after I moved to New York City in 2015 and wanted some black jeans. My criteria were dark weft, slimmish, minimally detailed, and preferably unsanforized. The Real McCoy’s is usually much more staid in their designs, opting for wider WWII-era cuts, but their trim 991 cut in this loomstate, grey weft, 12.5 oz., ID-less denim fit the bill perfectly.

They required close to no break-in and I hardly wore anything else after I first put them on. They spent most of their days pressed against an office chair as I hunched over a keyboard working on this site but also as I bike-commuted near daily in New York; drove across the U.S. a couple of times (rode the train one more); attended tradeshows in Las Vegas, LA, and Amsterdam; toured factories in Maine, Karachi, and Montreal; and were part of a Jaws Quint costume I did for our CO-OP #2 collab hat.

After all that, I really didn’t want to let them die. The first blow out came from my phone through the front pocket at about the six-month mark, and the crotch went out a few months after that. I do all my own repairs on a home sewing machine, just back and forth over the problem areas with cotton thread over and over and over. After two years, I was repairing them at least once a month. All that biking caught up with me and I re-darned the crotch over a dozen times. Eventually the new thread wouldn’t take, so I had to back the repairs with muslin fabric (hence the inverse diaper look on the inside).

I’ve repaired many other jeans in the past, but I took it to the level of diminishing returns here. This is my best summary of all the work I did on this pair of pants:

  • Crotch darn x 12+
  • Knee darn x 2
  • Back pocket reinforcement x 2
  • Front pocket reinforcement x 5
  • Pocketbag replacement
  • Coin pocket repair
  • Phone hole darning x 4
  • Belt loop restitch
  • Back patch restitch
  • Buttonhole reinforcement x 3

Part of this repair obsession was because The Real McCoy’s stopped making these jeans shortly after I got mine. My pleas to Kento were answered though, when I saw them pop up on the McCoy’s website about a month ago and I immediately got another pair. The denim is a little bit heavier and the fit a little larger, but these are still my favorite pair of jeans and I look forward to many more years of wear and repair.

The Real McCoy’s 991BK Raw Denim Jeans

  • Fabric: 100% cotton selvedge denim
  • Fabric weight: 12.5 oz
  • Fabric source: Japan
  • Made in: Japan
  • Fit: Slim straight
  • Additional Details:
    • Unsanforized
    • Deerskin leather patch
    • Button fly
  • Available at: The Real McCoy’s London for $270