Jacob Davis: Denim From Street to Stage
By day, Jason Briggs and Jason Ferro rush between the sewers and denim wash houses in Los Angeles, putting the finishing touches on their contemporary menswear brand, Jacob Davis. By night, the two are on stage playing in the band Whitley Heights.
Their double lives give them added insight into menswear market research.
“We are designing for our friends,” Ferro said. “The aesthetics come from that, but we get ideas from where we travel and what we think is missing in the retail world.”
Briggs and Ferro met when they were both twenty-somethings in Laguna Beach, Calif., and they shared a living room that became an art studio turned rehearsal room engulfed by a drum set and musical instruments.
Ferro went on to specialize in denim and served as global denim director for The Gap, and has held director positions at Guess, Levi’s and Hollister. Briggs owned his own private-label design and production company, Diverse Production, which had a clientele of major surf-industry labels.
Ferro and Briggs united to launch Jacob Davis men’s jeans for Fall 2012, named for the relatively unknown tailor who invented riveted jeans in the early 1870s.
“We have that heritage card,” Ferro said. But “it’s never been a heritage brand. We focus on the spirit of what he stood for—the spirit and attitude of entrepreneurship.”
For Spring 2014, Jacob Davis expanded its denim base to include a full collection of men’s sportswear that is also made in Los Angeles.
“We want to stimulate the economy,” Briggs said. Jackets and shirts are still rooted in denim, such as tailored trucker jackets, indigo-dyed and washed woven shirts, and casual plaid shirts.
The collection is sold at retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Fred Segal.
Naturally, Ferro and Briggs have tested the jeans on themselves to ensure the jeans’ durability after wash processing and comfort after non-stop wearing on workdays that turn into late nights on the town.
“Denim is exciting again,” Ferro said. “It’s great because the fabric has come to a point that you can’t tell the difference between stretch and rigid. With stretch before, it didn’t look masculine.”
Jacob Davis’ newest denim styles employ the “mechanical comfort” of stretch denim that still looks rugged. “It gives you the stretch but doesn’t give you the spandex-y look,” Ferro said. “I have stacks of denim. You know what I wear? Two pairs of stretch. It feels good and looks good.”
For more information, visit www.jacobdavisusa.com.