Shade 55: The Authentic Roots of Denim

Shade 55 is the name of the deepest indigo color, said designer Paul Hagopian.

He set out to make a men’s denim line that would have integrity and hold on to the roots of American denim that was as strong and deep as the deep-indigo color of Shade 55. The line’s cotton would be grown in America, the fabric would be made in United States, and it would be manufactured in America. It would be made to fit many American men as they are—not models who can fit into super-skinny jeans. “It’s for that more traditional guy,” Hagopian said.

Shade 55 debuted at Project in 2011, and since then it has been sold at Fred Segal Melrose, Blues Jean Bar and the Sundance Catalog. Nordstrom’s e-commerce site placed a test order, Hagopian said. The designer is exhibiting Shade 55 at Liberty trade show in Las Vegas, which runs Aug. 19–21. At the trade show, he is introducing his “Modern Straight Leg” jean, a selvage pant made from recycled water bottles.

Other styles include Shade 55’s “Tapered Leg” jean. It’s a slim straight leg with a “modern” 14.75-inch leg opening and a comfortable rise. One of the line’s most popular fits is the “1981 Micro Boot Cut,” with a small leg opening with a little flare to go over the sneaker or boot.

All of Shade 55’s looks are clean, but they also offer a few details, including a vintage-style American flag sewn into the waistband of the jeans, hand-detailed leather back patch and the number 55 sanded into the right back pocket. Wholesale prices range from $75 to $95.

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