It’s been just over a year since RE/DONE disrupted the denim scene, and the brand’s inventive approach to reworked vintage Levi’s jeans has become something of a sensation. Now, founders Jamie Mazur and Sean Barron are moving into T-shirt territory with a fresh take on the classic white tee, created in partnership with Hanes. Barron explains the project’s genesis.
How long did it take you to launch the Hanes product, from idea to execution?
We first reached out to them in October 2014, so it has been a long time coming. We wanted to take our time though and get everything perfect—after all, it is The Perfect Tee. The first phase was meeting with the Hanes team, visiting their offices in New York, and really conceptualizing what the perfect heritage inspired tee for a modern consumer would look like. Once we had that in mind, we had to figure out how to make our tees feel like the soft vintage tees that have been washed a million times. We reverse engineered how fabric to develop the same fabric from the ’60s and ’60s. We knitted the fabric entirely in the US. Next, we had to perfect the fits, which took months. The devil is really in the details! Finally, we produced the actual shirts and built out the marketing campaign featuring Alessandra Ambrosio.
What was the most challenging part of the process?
Fitting the sleeves. We wanted them to wing out a bit, just like your favorite vintage tee. At every stage of the process, we really tried to hold ourselves to the highest standard.
Did you even attempt to try it with vintage tees?
No. First, tailoring a t-shirt is just too difficult. They are so delicate, especially with worn, old fabric. But the bigger issue would be the supply. Finding a consistent supply of tee shirts that are standard in size that could go into production would be damn near impossible. Plus, with vintage tees, you usually have stains or something. We figured the best way to honor what people love about vintage tees was to make them the perfect vintage tee that they could buy over and over again!
How do you find the very best old jeans to remake?
We work with dealers who have made it their life mission to scour the globe in search of thousands of vintage jeans. All the jeans we redo are men’s jeans, but to keep the proportions right, we need small sizes. Its hard to find. And, we only use Levi’s. Can’t get better than the inventor of the jean!
Any plans to introduce new fits or styles for spring/summer?
Yes! We have some incredible new styles and some great new collaborations planned. We developed “white out” jeans using a non-bleach process. Each jean is slightly different shade of white.
What has been your most popular style so far?
The High Rise! Its just so classic. I think when people think of vintage Levi’s, that’s the fit they associate with them.
How’s business, internationally speaking?
Business is amazing! We embraced American heritage, and the world embraced us. We are in 180 stores internationally in 25 countries in addition to shipping internationally to customers from our website. Honestly, it is hard to keep up with our orders. The receptions in Japan and France in particular have been incredible.