I was sat in the audience at the POINT conference earlier this year, the theme was authenticity. There was one particular story I heard there that really resonated with me and made me want to take part in a project. David Hieatt talked about how you need to be authentic to yourself and it kinda boiled down to the following:
In context of the limited amount of time we have in the ‘time bank’ (life) we should try and do something worth remembering us for with the time we’ve been given. So, go and find the thing that you love and spend your precious seconds doing it.
That resonated with me. Loudly.
My Twitter profile has for years stated ‘trying to make the most of the short time we’re given on this beautiful planet’. I think there’s some commonality between mine and David’s thinking here (his phrasing was more eloquent in the original). David’s current story is one of jeans and how he is working to resurrect the skill of the Master Craftsman in the town of Cardigan in Wales. Go to the Hiut Denim company website to read the story as it is told there, briefly, in a far more compelling way than I could summarise here, then come back and carry on reading.
You’re back? Good. A nice story isn’t it. What’s not on the website is an additional tale he told that day at POINT. He talked about how one day he was sitting, at work, looking at an old pair of jeans, a really old pair as in, 100 years old. They were covered in tears and scrapes and that authentic patina that can only occur through many years of genuine wear and he wondered, what is the story behind the wear on that pair of jeans? What would they say, if they could tell their tale?
For many years we have been able to buy ‘worn look’ jeans. Mostly, these are artificially treated, beaten, roughed up in order to look aged. David spoke about a program at Hiut Denim called the Breaker’s Club. Where you essentially ‘rent’ a pair of jeans and record using a history tag the places they’ve been, the things they’ve done and then, after a period of time you return the jeans (which you’ve never washed) to Hiut Denim who then wash them in a way that only denim manufacturers can do and then they get sold. The person who buys them, then gets to see the history of those jeans and can see and read the story behind the wear and tear, knowing that it is authentic patina not mechanically machinated. I love the idea of this, I’ve always loved telling a story, so I sent them a mail and said I wanted to join in and this, for me, is the start of the story of my Hiut Denim jeans.