Label Love: den.m bar
There's something about a great fitting pair of American-made jeans that makes you feel sexier than strutting around in a cocktail dress or silk suit, and Richard Wang gets that. It's the reason he and two longtime buddies Derek Yip and Steve Chiang decided in summer 2011 to start a denim line of their own. Wang was scouring the Internet for discounted Diesel's and started daydreaming about the possibility of making great fitting swags for a decent price. But instead of creating a line of ready-to-wear pieces, they decided to source the best denim they could find and allow the consumer to dream up their own new favorite pair via den.m bar.
Though den.m bar employs ideas and tactics of a bygone era, even going so far as using '70s era sewing machines to create their pieces, the styles are given a 21st century spin. Wang says the process starts at their Downtown L.A. shop with fabric picking and making a full measurement profile. Most clients play it safe by picking from a range of deep blue selvage or stretchy denim, but den.m bar also offers vibrant colors for risk-taking clients (the current roster includes shocking green, yellow and orange). They're working on getting purple — just you wait.
Material is mainly sourced from the good ol' U.S.A., like the durable Cone Denim White Oak from North Carolina, or from Japan, such as the super popular stretchy Nisshinbo denim. "Then we walk through the customization process. What kind of buttons you want. What kind of zippers. If you want to stay simple." Though cut and color form the root of customization, accessorizing is where the real fun begins. Buttons, which come in dark and gold-toned brass and vary from understated to fairy or skulls & crossbone designs are picked up online from Etsy or the nearby Fashion district. There's also fun to be had with a variety of pocket lining decisions that range from plaid to geisha print. The shop also offers a range of colorful bow-ties. Wang calls them, "An evolution of our jeans — they're made out of scrap material."
As of now you can only pick up their pieces in person, but all that's about to change. By mid-summer, den.m bar will expand their services via an e-commerce store that will allow out-of-town or repeat patrons to buy jeans online. Other custom made jean shops exist, but Wang explains that, "Custom denim, or custom anything usually costs a bunch. While we're not cheap, we feel most working people can afford one of our pairs!" What's not to love?