Today, we’re so happy, because we have an opportunity to interview Mr. Chris as a founder of OLÉ DENIM.
OLÉ DENIM is proudly designed in Canada and proudly and ethically manufactured in the USA by craftsmen and women with decades of denim experience. OLÉ DENIM was founded in 2013.
Here you go!
“Olé has gone on to become an international proclamation of joy and excitement” – Chris
D: Why did you fall in love with Denim (especially Raw Denim)?
There is something intriguing about making a garment uniquely yours. We can all start with the same pair of raw denim but no two pair will age in the same manner, with the same fades or same honeycombing. The idea that a blank canvas can document life’s adventures is what really appeals to us.
D: When did you start in love with Denim?
I had the unique opportunity to intern under Andrew and Johan of 3sixteen in New York during the growth of their brand and opening of Self Edge New York. Being around Self Edge meant unpacking boxes of product from allover the world and getting an intimate education from Kiya and Demitra Babzanion each pair, brand and their unique attributes. I am not sure there are better educators of the craft than those four.
I was fortunate to get a proper and thorough introduction to Selvedge Denim by some highly respected denim aficionados. Their passion for denim is what really sparked my interest.
D: How did you start OLÉ DENIM?
After the internship I knew I wanted to pursue denim of my own but I need to gain some further experience. It is one thing to appreciate denim but another to design and produce it successfully. When I moved back to Canada I was offered a design job at an outerwear company designing a range of products from gloves to men’s performance outerwear. During my timethere I started my first clothing project called Oak + Oar as a resource to hone my understanding of the business side of things. It was through this endeavor that a connected with Ryan Mack and Dallas Siemens. Over the years we became good friends, sharing a passion for apparel design and denim. Four years ago Ryan reached out and started picking my brain about denim and fabrications and from that conversation I joined them as a partner handling the design and development side of the brand.
D: What does OLÉ DENIM mean to you?
The word Olé has long been synonymous as an expression of approval, triumph and encouragement. Derived from the English word ‘Hello’ and the Portuguese Ola, Olé has gone on to become an international proclamation of joy and excitement. It is the same feeling I get and I hope our customers get when they put on their pair of Olé jeans.
D: Can you describe how to starting and running a denim brand?
Persistence and patience. There are no set guidelines. Starting a denim brand, for us at least (and I am sure many can attest), is no easy feat. For us it proved a vast learning curve. Being based out of Canada with production taking placed in the USA we were always on the phone, Skype, planning trips to our factory, waiting on sample and production yardage from Japan, seeking out the best hardware manufactures, figuring out logistics etc. You just have to start somewhere and that’s what we did. We ordered leather patches from Ken Diamond in Vancouver and set the plan in motion. This label became a reminder for us of the end goal.
D: Who is the target market for OLÉ DENIM?
I think it is anyone who appreciates denim and value quality crafted goods. We are strong believers of just going for it so if we can offer a rugged companion to accompany you on your life journey that’s good enough for us.
D: Can you describe your creative process for OLÉ DENIM?
Our mission is to produce product and content authentic to our misssion and hope that people can relate to that. So when we sit down and plan a lookbook photo shoot or a pair of denim the three of us each bring our passions, influences and interest to the table which turns into a melting pot of ideas.
When designing our first run of denim it started with fabric swatches. We had swatches from all over the world with multiple fabric feelers from Japan to the United States. In the end we gravitated towards the texture, weights and fading process of the denim from Kuroki Mills and that is where we started the process. Four sample runs later we signed off on our pre-production run and launched the brand official last year.
D: Where does OLÉ DENIM inspiration come from?
For us, living on the Canadian prairies, I think it comes from life outdoors. Creating denim that is functional, timeless and rugged and suited for any adventure you might face.
D: Who is the most influence person/country for OLÉ DENIM?
To pick one particular geographical location or individual would be next to impossible. Like mentioned before we each have different interest so it is safe to say we draw influence from all over the map.
Ryan makes it a point of sharing his direct contact information through our social media channels so we can connect directly with our customer base. This has lead to some insightful feedback, which has a hand in the way we approach our design process.
D: Can you explain what kind of OLÉ DENIM fit/design?
Our initial cut, the 306, was built from the ground up. I think for many companies the easy button is to buy a pair of good fitting jeans and send them to the factory and re-produce that fit. For us it was important to start at the bottom and build a pair of jeans that were authentic to our stylistic ideals.
The 306 encompassed our vision for an everyday jean that was fit to live in. The result is what the industry would consider a slim taper fit with a medium rise. I would say it is has a bit more relaxed taper versus some of the aggressive tapers on the market.
D: Can you describe OLÉ DENIM range?
We released our initial cut in June of last year in the form of the 306. The 306 is a slim taper fit with a medium rise, constructed of selvedge denim produced in Okayama, Japan at the prestigious Kuroki Mills.
We offer the 306 in a 13.2oz as well as a 15.3oz weight. Both are constructed of sanforized selvedge denim and feature selvedge coin pocket detailing, reinforced rear pockets, black antique copper hardware, 35” inseam on all sizes and finished off with a handcrafted Ken Diamond leather patch.
D: Please give us a tips how to maintain and make an incredible fade from OLÉ DENIM?
Everyone is different when it comes to maintaining his or her denim. Even in house Ryan, Dallas and I all have different tendencies and practice. There is no “right” way but we do recommend washing your jeans if they become dirty. This is important because bacteria and miscellaneous items like dirt can break down the fibers of the denim, which can lead to pre-mature tears and blowouts. If you want strong contrasting fades you’ll obviously want to hold off on the first wash until your fades start to develop.
D: What do you want to say to all denim heads around the world?
Thanks for taking time to check out this interview and the brand. If you have already found your way into a pair of our jeans please connect with us. We love seeing each pair in action.
For more information about OLÉ DENIM, kindly contact: