A.N.D. Jeans: Sean Barron Takes Denim Back to Raw
“Comfortable raw jeans” sounds like an oxymoron, but Sean Barron has figured out a way to do it. While male denim purists will endure the uncomfortable stiffness of raw jeans for months straight to break in their own whiskers, those rules do not apply to women.
“Raw jeans—most girls don’t want to wear because they take too long to get them comfortable,” said Barron, founder of A.N.D. Jeans (pronounced like an acronym—“and”), which stands for “A New Denim.”
Barron, whose longtime history in the business includes co-founding the designer brand Katayone Adeli with the self-named designer and Joie with Joie Rucker, wears in his own raw selvage jeans the hard way.
“I kept wanting to make raw jeans soft,” Barron said.
In his search, he discovered a technique that could achieve the softer hand feel of washed denim without a drop of water compromising the rawness of the denim.
“I kept talking to fabric mills. Someone turned me on to a machine that’s not made for denim at all. It’s not part of that [denim] wash process at all,” Barron said. After countless rounds of trial-and-error testing, he finally nailed the amount of processing to achieve the desired softness. The final result is true raw jeans that go from feeling like sandpaper to stretchy flannel.
A.N.D. Jeans launched in stores for Spring 2013 with five minimalist styles for women: a rolled skinny, a mid-rise ankle skinny, a slouchie cigarette, a slouchy cigarette with slit and slim boyfriend jean. The jeans are made out of Japanese and Turkish indigo-dyed raw denim ranging from 9- to12-ounce weights. The fabric is processed, cut and sewn in Los Angeles, where the company is based. Barron claims the jeans will fade uniquely to the wearer over time—just like a true raw denim.
“I wanted to stay away from trend and bring jeans back to their roots. … When doing such heavy processes, they start to look fake. They crossed the line,” Barron said of jeggings, colored, printed and embellished jeans. “They are not jeans anymore. There’s going to be a pushback on that. Now they want to go back to jeans.”
The line has been sold to top-tier stores such as Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridge’s and Harrod’s. The average retail price point is $190 to 225.
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