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Clothing history...and more!
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To hear the full episode, subscribe at https://www.heddels.com/join-heddels-plus We’re talking about Tony Alamo, and yes that’s spelled like Alamo as in “remember the” but it’s pronounced like Ah-lah-mo. Regardless, he was about as despicable a human being as they come. From the late 60s onward, he ran a religious cult that separated families, forced people to work without pay, beat and sexually abused children, tried to summon people from the dead...and made some pretty cool rhinestone denim jackets.
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2021-02-2803:40

Shameless plug here for our new membership program Heddels+ that'll get you more Blowout episodes, more written content, up to 2 product giveaways a month, a Discord forum where you can show us your pants, and discounts all across our niche. Get a free month trial with the code EXTRABLOWOUT: https://www.heddels.com/join-heddels-plus C'mon! C'monnnnnnn
We all know her, we all love her, we all follow her. Amy Leverton, aka Denim Dudes, has been at the bleeding edge of the denim business for almost two decades now. Much of it working as a "trend forecaster", which is basically the person who interprets culture and the world at large to determine what looks are going to pop and when so manufacturers can get the wheels in motion to meet the moment. Listen in as we try to predict how the zeitgeist of today will make the pants of tomorrow. Support this show and our work by becoming a Heddels+ subscriber! Heddels+ is our membership program that includes exclusive giveaways, discounts at partnered brands and retailers, and yes, more episodes of Blowout! Click here to sign up: https://www.heddels.com/join-heddels-plus/ You can find more of Amy on Instagram @denimdudes and check out the full trend report on her website, which has a "pay as much as you can" option for smaller brands.
This is the end, my denim friends, the end. After over 7 hours of denim history, the beginning of Japanese denim will be our last stop on our 13-part denim history series. Learn all about why Japanese people became culturally obsessed with American jeans, early pairs of knockoff 501s, how Okayama became the denim capital of Japan (and arguably the world), and more on this final installment. This is the Heddels stuff that you probably all tuned in to hear in the first place so we hope you enjoy. This episode is brought to you by Heddels+, our new membership program with all the best deals, giveaways, content, and community connection in the Heddels world. Join now at: https://heddels.com/heddels-plus/ Citations: Marx, W. David. “Who Made Japan’s First Jeans?” Heddels, 12 Oct 2015, www.heddels.com/2015/10/who-made-japans-first-jeans. ---. “Why Okayama? How the Region Became the Denim Capital.” Heddels, 9 Feb 2016, www.heddels.com/2016/02/why-okayama-japanese-region-became-denim-capital. Robinson, Kyle. “The History Of The Osaka 5 - Studio D’Artisan, Denime, Evisu, and More.” Heddels, 9 March 2014, www.heddels.com/2014/03/history-osaka-5. ---. “Why Does Japan Love Mid-Century America So Much?” Heddels, 22 July 2014, www.heddels.com/2014/07/japan-love-mid-century-america-much. Steinberger, Kevin. “The Complete Guide to Okayama Jeans Street - Part II.” Heddels, 9 May 2014, www.heddels.com/2014/05/complete-guide-okayama-jeans-street-part-ii.
At least 99% of denim on the market today isn't raw, it's been stonewashed, lasered, or sandblasted into what mimics an authentically worn pair of jeans. But this wasn't always the case, pre-distressed denim is a relatively recent phenomenon, which we're going to be getting into how the fashion market took over denim and they took the indigo with them. Learn all about Jackie Kennedy's favorite denim brand, an infamous Calvin Klein ad that was banned in a dozen markets, and how the denim industry mined so much pumice stone it caused widespread environmental protests on our penultimate episode of Denim History. This episode is brought to you by Heddels+, if you'd like more discounts, more giveaways, and more of the Heddels content you love, check out our new membership program launching soon. Click here to be informed as soon as it's live! Citations: Edwin Europe. “Edwin Europe - History.” Copyright © 2009 Edwin Europe, All Rights Reserved, 18 May 2009, web.archive.org/web/20111112105814/http://www.edwin-europe.com/history.php. Ghioto, Gary. 2000. "Mining the Sacred Mountains." E: The Environmental Magazine 11, no. 1: 15. MasterFILE Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed August 8, 2013) “Farewell Fiorucci - Inventor of Skinny Jeans | Fashion | Phaidon.” Phaidon, Phaidon, www.phaidon.com/agenda/fashion/articles/2015/july/21/farewell-fiorucci-inventor-of-skinny-jeans. Accessed 12 Feb. 2021. Miller, Meg. “RIP Elio Fiorucci, The Designer Of Stretch Denim.” Fast Company, 21 July 2015, www.fastcompany.com/3048885/rip-elio-fiorucci-the-designer-of-stretch-denim. Stu Pollard. “CALVIN KLEIN JEANS - ‘Brooke Shields - Nothing’ (80’s Commercial).” YouTube, uploaded by Stu Pollard, 12 Jan. 2018, www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD3zMCWwQeo&ab_channel=StuPollard. Lead image credit Fiorucci denim and model Donna Jordan
We’ve talked about gold miners, we’ve talked about ancient sailors, we’ve talked about cowboys, soldiers, and poets. Today we’re going to get into something a little heavier, and we don’t mean Iron Hearts. Since practically its inception, denim has had a role in institutional racism in the United States. As we mentioned a few episodes ago, one of Levi’s earliest selling points was that it was “the only brand made by white labor.” Well today we’re going to be talking about the other kind of labor, non-white and often non-paid, which is a very euphemistic way to say slavery, human bondage, and other forms of exploitation. Listen on to hear about denim was forced on enslaved peoples in the American South as well as how Black Civil Rights leaders of the 1950s but ultimately accepted as a unifying source of identity in the early 1960s. Special thanks to Miko Underwood for lending the voice of her lived experience working in denim to this episode, you can check out her brand Oak & Acorn - Only for the Rebelles launching later this month. Citations: DeSante, Christopher D. "Working Twice as Hard to Get Half as Far: Race, Work Ethic, and America's Deserving Poor." American Journal of Political Science 57, no. 2 (2013): 342-56. Accessed February 5, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23496601. Ford, Tanisha C. "SNCC Women, Denim, and the Politics of Dress." The Journal of Southern History 79, no. 3 (2013): 625-58. Accessed February 5, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23795090. Lopez, German. “How the Voting Rights Act Transformed Black Voting Rights in the South, in One Chart.” Vox. Vox, March 6, 2015. https://www.vox.com/2015/3/6/8163229/voting-rights-act-1965. Mads Jakobsen. “An Introduction to the Indigo Dye Styles of Western Africa.” Heddels, 9 May 2018, www.heddels.com/2016/09/an-introduction-to-the-indigo-dye-styles-of-western-africa/. “Civil Rights Martyrs.” Southern Poverty Law Center. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs.
We've arrived at the Baby Boomer section of our indigo narrative. The transgressive postwar counterculture may have been the first to embrace denim and workwear for its style over utility, but it would be the teens of the 1950s to create the mass appeal. Join us as we discuss denim being banned in schools, jeans on screen heartthrobs, and a pop singer being denied entrance at a Vancouver hotel. This episode is brought to you by the Heddels Shop, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT. Also, if you like what we're doing, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, just keep scrolling and hit the stars!
What's up, Frogface? We're here with a bonus episode of Reed and David talking over all 80 glorious minutes of Marlon Brando's biker bad boy flick The Wild One. The movie is not good, with lots of gender dynamics that have aged poorly but it also has a lot of jeans, leather jackets, hats and knits that haven't. It's got Perfectos, Cafe Racers, A-2s, B-3s, top hats, beanies, 5-panels, 501s, ringer tees, and more! Sync up with the movie and listen to us prattle on. It's available for a $3 rental on Amazon and iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-wild-one/id263825985 https://www.amazon.com/Wild-One-Marlon-Brando/dp/B001NQ31S8 This episode is brought to you by the Heddels Shop, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT. Also, if you like what we're doing, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, just keep scrolling and hit the stars!
The US government did it's best to reintegrate the young people returning from WWII, but an sizeable portion returned wanting nothing to do with it. Instead of getting a middle class job and starting a family, they wanted to do drugs, ride motorcycles, push sexual boundaries, and wear jeans. This didn't go over well at first. Our series continues with bikers and beats as Reed and David navigate denim's role in postwar culture. This episode is brought to you by the Heddels Shop, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT. Also, if you like what we're doing, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, just keep scrolling and hit the stars!
While on a road trip through New England in the summer of 1965, eight Japanese men unwittingly created some of the most influential images of late 2000s menswear. We're talking about Take Ivy, a cultural sensation that's become the de facto document of the 1960s prep look. And we're talking with the person who wrote the book on the intersection of Japanese and American fashion, W. David Marx, author of Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style. Learn about how teens wearing blazers scandalized Japan's image for the 1964 Olympics, how the name Take Ivy is a Japanese Dave Brubeck pun, and that chatting is a legitimate form of warming up. If you want to follow along, check out the English translation of the book or have a look at scans of the first 30 pages that the publisher has generously put online. As always, you can support Blowout by visiting the Heddels Shop, get a 10% discount on your order with the code BLOWOUT.Image via Fujingahosha Publishing.
This was quite the year for a variety of reasons. And what better way to reflect upon it than to count down the most read articles on a pants website? Reed and David are joined by Heddels Features Editor James Smith to run down our top hits (not necessarily greatest, but top) this year and look forward to what may be yet to come. This episode is brought to you by the Heddels Shop, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT. Also, if you like what we're doing, please leave us a review on Apple podcasts, just keep scrolling and hit the stars! Also here are those top articles if you'd care to read them: heddels.com/2020/03/how-to-make-a-diy-face-mask-out-of-a-t-shirt/ heddels.com/2020/02/ralphs-roster-the-many-faces-of-ralph-lauren/ heddels.com/2020/01/the-rough-history-of-biker-cuts/ heddels.com/2020/06/rakuten-global-can-we-still-order-outside-of-japan/ heddels.com/2020/01/the-different-types-of-shoelaces/ heddels.com/2020/02/colors-shell-cordovan-rainbow/ heddels.com/2020/05/the-harsh-reality-of-the-paycheck-protection-program/ heddels.com/2020/05/introducing-vidalia-mills-bringing-back-american-selvedge/ heddels.com/2020/03/vibram-numbers-classic-rubber-soles/ heddels.com/2020/01/does-cotton-kill-the-moisture-wicking-properties-of-various-fabrics/ heddels.com/2020/03/teacore-leather-whats-it-all-about/ heddels.com/2020/01/tyrolean-shoes-thick-and-stitched/ heddels.com/2020/03/how-to-do-your-laundry-without-a-washing-machine/
Like the light switch and the steering wheel, zippers are one of those things that we interact with so much they just seem like perpetual fixtures of everyday life. The story of the humble zipper, however, is one of continuous failure unending iteration to bring us the cheap and easy thing we enjoy today. Designer, vintage dealer, and zipper enthusiast John Gluckow takes us through the history of the zipper from a chain link hook and eye fastener to high end riri zips. You can find John on Instagram, both at Strongarm Clothing & Supply and at John Gluckow Ancient & Modern. Check out the article on heddels.com to see examples from John's extensive zipper collection. If you want to learn more about zippers, check out the book Zipper Gear by Aota Mituhiro. This episode is brought to you by the Heddels Shop, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT. Be sure to check out our new Surf n Turf wallets.
DATELINE DEC 14, 2020:  JEANS GO TO WAR! As the United States exited the Great Depression, the world had to contend with a few other new powers flexing their military might on a global stage. And America did so in denim! This episode, Reed and David explain the different military and domestic applications our fabric had during WWII and how wartime rationing would change the look and feel of jeans forever. If you'd like to support the show, head over to make a purchase at the Heddels Shop. Get 10% off your order with the code BLOWOUT. Be sure to check out our new Surf n Turf wallets! If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, topics to cover, or people to talk to, email us at blowout@heddels.com. Also help us out by dropping a review.
When stalking the jungles of Vietnam, many of the elite US Navy SEALs didn't sport their standard issue camo, but rather opted for Levi's 501 and 505 denim jeans instead. We're talking with Chris Danforth, a writer and researcher who investigated this story and spoke to some of the SEALs who wore jeans on their night raids for its utility on the battlefield. Hear all about how they customized their kit and avoided leeches in their urethras and more on this episode. If you'd like to support the show, head over to make a purchase at the Heddels Shop. Get 10% off your order with the code BLOWOUT. If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, topics to cover, or people to talk to, email us at blowout@heddels.com. Also help us out by dropping a review!
Denim soldiers forward through one of the darkest times in recent American history, the Great Depression. Reed and David explore the denim histories of both the Dust Bowl migrants and the young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose denim uniforms built much of the infrastructure we still enjoy today. Hear about all that and more in part 7 of our ongoing podcast series. If you'd like to support the show, head over to make a purchase at the Heddels Shop. Get 10% off your order with the code BLOWOUT. If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, topics to cover, or people to talk to, email us at blowout@heddels.com. Also help us out by dropping a review!
This week we're on with renowned photographer and former vintage dealer / cigarette security guard Eric Kvatek. After getting an initial lucky break, Eric has shot for everyone from 45rpm, Strongarm, Battenwear, W'menswear, Holubar, Heddels, and most notably all the books for Japanese brand Kapital. One of his passions from his collecting days is printed t-shirts, specifically Harley-Davidson t-shirts from their xenophobic anti-Japan era of the 1970s and 80s. As the US manufacturing economy waned and thousands of blue collar Americans were out of work, Harley lashed out with a series of both authorized and bootleg t-shirts aimed at their Japanese competitors and the Japanese people in general. Eric and David talk through the story of how these shirts came into existence and the violent effect they had on Asian-Americans, including Chinese-American Vincent Chin who was beaten to death by white Chrysler auto workers. To view examples of these shirts from Eric's collection, check out the article on heddels.com. You can also follow Eric on Instagram @eric_kvatek or visit his website kvatek.com. As always, you can get a 10% discount at the Heddels Shop with code BLOWOUT including a recent restocks of Teamster Tees.
Saddle up, partner! We're here to talk about how the image of the cowboy is a manufactured piece of myth-making that helped spread denim pants all across these United States. In part 6 of our denim history marathon, Reed and David discuss the origins of the actual cowboys in the tradition of Mexican vaqueros and how that morphed into denim clad gunslingers on the silver screen. Listen in for all that and more on this week's episode. As always, listeners get 10% off at the Heddels Shop with the code BLOWOUT. If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, topics to cover, or people to talk to, email us at blowout@heddels.com. Also help us out by dropping a review!
As the rivet cold war subsided out west, blue jeans went national. We dig into the effects rail connectivity had on the expansion of jeans eastward and how certain companies began dividing up the map into regional territories, establishing the modern day "Big Three" of Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler/Blue Bell. Listen in for all that and more on this week's episode. As always, listeners get 10% off at the Heddels Shop with the code BLOWOUT. If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, topics to cover, or people to talk to, email us at blowout@heddels.com. Also help us out by dropping a review!
We're back in 1870s San Francisco and Reed and David are exploring the fallout of Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis's exclusive patent to put rivets on pants, creating the first iteration of what we know as jeans today. The resulting  period kicked off an arms race of competing brands trying to make their own inventions to compete with the patent-protected riveted Levi's pants. If you'd like to learn more, much of the reference for this episode is from Michael Allen Harris's phenomenal book Jeans of the Old West. If you'd like to support the work we're doing, check out the Heddels Shop where we have a new selection of Teamster Tees in Black and Grey. As always, listeners get 10% off with the code BLOWOUT.
It's nearly the end of the 2020 election in the United States. And David's taking this week's episode to explain why something seemingly innocuous as a pair of jeans is very much a product of and affected by our political system. If you live here, please take the time to vote either in person or by dropping off your ballot. In many states, you can register same day and you can check right here where the correct spot is for you to go: https://www.vote.org/polling-place-locator/ Be safe out there, we'll be back to Denim History next week!
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