Today we are so happy because we had an opportunity to get closer with Indigo Proof, one of famous denim repair come from USA. Rain Delisle as a Co-Founder of Indigo Proof will share to you all about the story from the very beggining until today. So, if you have a broken jeans in your closet, you better to throw it out to Indigo Proof to get repaired and your jeans will look like a brand new again. Yeaay!
Let’s check it out denimian!
Why did you fall in love with a darning denim/repairing denim?
I first fell in love with repairing and modifying denim when I was a young rebellious 7th grader. I would open the seams on jeans and add weird fabric to them to make them wide leg. I started sewing my pants tight in the early 2000’s, I remember actually tapering my jeans the morning before school one day- that’s how committed I was to alterations! I drew and stitched and patched and distressed my clothing all throughout high school, but I never thought about repairing denim how I do now, until I was sitting in front of a darning machine trying to show Kiya of Self Edge that I was a fast learner and knew how to repair jeans. I had a formal education (via a BFA in Fashion Design at MassArt) in pattern drafting, sewing/construction and design that I 100% attribute to how I learned how to repair denim. Knowing how to construct clothing is how I know how to properly repair clothing, and applying those principles to repair has put the concept of repairing on the map, and opened a lot of eyes on what is a “successful repair”
When did you start Indigo Proof?
Indigo Proof started as a Tumblr blog- the same one I still use now to post my work. I began repairing jeans for Self Edge San Francisco in 2012 without much knowledge of repairing denim at all. I used my background in clothing construction and technical skills in sewing to teach myself the right way to repair jeans, and because I was learning, I decided to document the before and after photos of my repairs. I started the blog Indigo Proof to share what I was learning with the world, because I thought it was really interesting, and because juxtaposing the before and after photos looked pretty cool! I also believed that posting my work would push me to improve my methods and allow me to be able to look back on previous work as time went by.
How did you start Indigo Proof?
I worked for Self Edge for about 3 years, managing the tailor shop Darn-it! and churning out piles of repairs daily. My humble Tumblr blog started gaining serious traction in the denim community, and I began getting dozens of emails a day from people around the world wanting to know how to send me their jeans. I knew I wanted to start my own repair business, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone, and a natural partner for me was my good friend Tyler Madden, the former manager of Self Edge Portland. We had an instant connection when we met in 2013 because he had been following my work on my blog from the beginning. We became fast friends obsessing over denim repair, spending countless hours talking about our philosophies on denim care, repairs, business ideas and our mutual love of the band KISS. I reached out to him one day after work to tell him we were starting a business together, and it all came together after that phone call. I moved to Portland in December and began setting up my studio.
Please describe what is make you want to start a darning denim/repairing denim?
My interest in repairing denim is something that is always evolving. In the beginning, it was just as amazing to me as someone who had never seen that it was possible to repair jeans in that way. As I continued, it became a labor of love as I continually challenged myself to work on improving my methods and pushing the envelope on what is possible to repair, even though practically, financially and time-wise, it made no sense at all. I think that is what made my experience in denim repair different, I was never satisfied with just doing the work, I wanted to explore what could be achieved. To this day I am still never satisfied with my work, I always see areas where I can improve. Today, the stories of my customers’ jeans keep me interested in repairing. I think it is amazing to restore something that has so much meaning to someone.
What does Indigo Proof mean to you?
Indigo Proof originally was a term I used for the “proof” on my hands that I work with denim, the indigo rub-off on my hands after a day of repairing denim. Over time it has come to mean a lot of different things to people, a “proof” like a first draft, which I felt the blog was in the beginning- the initial idea of my business. Denim repair was not something commonly shown in the format I presented it in, and so it was also a “proof” of that, and “proof” of what was possible for a repair to achieve.
Can you describe how to starting and running Indigo Proof?
I moved to Portland in December and launched Indigo Proof January 1st. I spent the entirety of November doing nothing but working on the initial stages of my business- researching small business resources, sourcing machines, and building indigoproof.com. I am self-taught in repair, so it was natural for me to approach business basics the same way- just dive in! I sourced a few machines in California, and moved with them. Starting your own business is really hard, and I am never not thinking about it or working on it. That’s just how I am though- I love to be able to have that control and be able to make things exactly how I want them. I’m sure Tyler can attest to my stubbornness with having things set up just right. Starting a business is also difficult because everything always seems like the most important thing and the priority, it’s like having a to-do list where everything is #1 on the list and it keeps growing every minute.
What make you survive to build your own Indigo Proof?
The amazing people who have emailed me, reached out to give me feedback on my repairs, the people who I’ve had a chance to repair for, and my “indigo army” of tumblr and instagram followers, as corny as that sounds. I never would have started this business if I hadn’t received such an amazing response from people, from day one till today. I owe much of my gratitude to Tyler, too, because without his constant support over the years I’ve known him, and without many late night stressed-out phone calls last year, I certainly wouldn’t have had the guts or emotional stamina to do most of the things I have done starting our business.
Who is the target market for Indigo Proof?
Generally we’ve seen our customers be mostly men aged 25-55 and women representing a smaller range of 25-35. The most common activity they do in their jeans is “desk diving” or hiking and travelling. The majority of our customers have some pretty serious heavyweight or rare/vintage/special denim they really want in good hands. But I like that repair can range so broadly- who doesn’t have a pair of jeans they wish they could wear forever? Our customers have sent some cool stuff with their jeans too- one guy made us art, a couple people have sent coffee. We like to connect with people on a personal level, so its cool when we see that reflected. No one has sent any KISS memorabilia though- if you send that with your jeans you’ll for sure get a discount!
Where does Indigo Proof inspiration come from?
I’m inspired pretty heavily by the lives people lead in their jeans and how that reflects on the denim. We send out a questionnaire with every order asking a sort of profile about the jean they are sending- washing habits, how long they’ve had them, what they like and dislike about the jean, and where the jeans have been. Reading the answers and seeing how their habits affect how their jeans look is so cool. We have a really great collection of these questionnaires and are going to dedicate a special place on our Facebook page for them so everyone can read them- they are too awesome to not share. Look for it soon! <facebook.com/indigoproof>
Can you explain what kind of Indigo Proof service?
We offer repair on any kind of denim or heavier woven fabric- jeans, jackets, shirts, jorts, whatever! I use a 1950’s era Singer 47w70 darning machine to “reweave” the fabric without bulky patches for a repair that integrates with the denim. We use YKK hardware as well as some OEM to replace missing or removed-during-repair rivets and buttons, and I’ve seen just about every faded color of denim and know exactly which colors to use to maintain fade patterns and create a repair that blends in with the jean. We do not do “expressed repairs” because we believe that repairs should ultimately be functional over anything else, and prefer the jean itself to shine and not be about the decoration/repair. We do not offer a la carte repairs because we take care of your denim- we thoroughly evaluate the pair for damage and weak areas prone to damage over time, and address repairing as a full service- in respect to the whole jean. We ensure that our repairs will last, and have built service based on honesty and respect- we will be straightforward and tell you if we don’t believe something needs repair and vice-versa, or if it is better suited to be repaired in a different way. We also provide chainstitch hemming on our Union Special 43200G. Every machine is operated solely by me. We love denim and want people to feel that their treasured pair is being taken care of by us. I like to use the word “restoration” because I do more than just repair a garment—I’m giving a garment a new life.
What do you want to say to all denim enthusiast around the world?
Thank you for all of your support over the years! I hope to be able to restore your jeans someday, and be able to travel to meet you!
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