Did you know that Seve Jobs owned over 100 pairs of Levi’s? Web editor Rebecca Davis’ appropriate reaction was: “That’s a lot of dad jeans.” Janet Sung—the denim expert behind Denim Refinery—clued us in on that fact and more.
We’re huge denim lovers and we know exactly what we want, so Denim Refinery is a dream come true. Here’s how it works: If you see a denim finish or a design that you like, you send them a picture and they’ll replicate it onto your jeans. They’ll give you a price quote and a time frame so you can ship over your denim, let them work their magic, and then they send the newly refined pair back your way. We spoke to fellow denim lover and designer Janet Sung about how she got into this great biz.
What first sparked your interest about working with denim?
Having grown up around the industry, it’s always been something I’ve been familiar with. I saw an opportunity in having individuals be able to recondition and customize their outdated denim through procedures that were once only available to denim manufacturers. There’s a reason why you bought those jeans, why not update them into something wearable again?
Explain how your customers can re-vamp their own denim.
Customers can choose from a series of customizations, called “refinements.” After placing an order for any one of them (shipping included in the cost), the domestic customer receives a pre-paid labeled envelope to ship their denim in. Including a copy of their receipt along with the garment in the enclosed Priority Mail envelope, they can simply place the package in their mailbox for pick up. Every garment that comes through the factory is treated with an industry-wash and softening procedure. The difference in even that is dramatic.
I know you can’t give up your sources, but can you describe how you shop for denim? What’s the most exotic place you’ve traveled to get it?
I’m always on the hunt for classic brands, mainly Levi’s, Lee, and Wrangler. I look for garments with the most character, showing signs of natural wear that are very hard to replicate. The great thing about denim is that you can find it anywhere here in the states.
What city do you think has the best vintage denim?
I’m not sure if there’s one that carries the best denim. I think every city has it’s gems; you just have to know where to search for them.
What’s the most bizarre denim-related trivia that you know?
How many pairs of Levi’s did Steve Jobs own? Over 100 pairs!
Their latest Rasta-inspired collection is available on Denimrefinery.com or if you’re a NY local, try some on at American Two Shot. Painted sleeves, so many colors and prints…we’re about to go nuts.—RAY SIEGEL