As a father of a little girl, I can’t say enough about the validity of the father-daughter bond. Truth be told, I was actually crap-my-pants terrified of having a little girl. When my son was born, I felt instantly confident in what I was doing, how, to guide him, and the pitfalls of fatherhood to avoid…after all, I had experienced many of those from the opposite side. A baby girl, though…that was terrifying foreign territory. That said, from my daughter’s first breath, we were connected and largely inseparable.
While our common interests are limited (she is two, after-all), I can think about how the future plays out and imagine all the fun we will get up to, just the two of us, and I smile. Then there is Chris and Evy Higdon, a father-daughter duo slugging it out in this year’s Indigo Invitational as a sort of bonding adventure. While they share many common interests, I found fading denim to be a truly unique co-hobby, and a completely unique instance within the Indigo Invitational itself. It gives me hope that perhaps, one day, my daughter will compete with me in the 2034 Indigo Invitational. Bryan and Dave, I will expect that event to happen. Haha.
Take a few minutes and meet Chris and Evy with me. I found their story a sweet one and hope you will, too.
INDIGO INVITATIONAL Y2 CONTENDER: Chris and Evy Higdon (@dirty.south.denim, @evelyns.jeans)
THE ARCUATE: We’ve had some really unique entrants in this interview series, from newlyweds to the female representatives. However, as far as I know, Chris, you and your daughter are the only Father/Daughter duo in the Indigo Invitational this year! That’s freaking awesome. Before we dive too far into the topic at hand, would you and your daughter mind telling our readers a little about yourselves, where you are from and what you guys do?
CHRIS HIGDON: I am a recently remarried dad with an amazing 16-year-old daughter, and fellow competitor, Evy (Evelyn) and now step-dad to two other amazing young women (Annie -16 and Maddie -11). My wife, Stacey, is a social scientist at the CDC. We live in Decatur, Georgia, which is a great “small-town” essentially surrounded by Atlanta. I work at a non-profit working with communities around Georgia with their economic and downtown development needs. Evy is an 11th grader with a potential interest in criminology. We both really enjoy photography and cooking, and both miss going to cheer for our hometown soccer (football) club, Atlanta United.
TA: Wow, I’ll assume this has been an exciting, but also a very busy year for your family, pandemic notwithstanding. That’s incredible. The Indigo Invitational must feel like a welcomed distraction.
People’s selvedge origin stories, on the surface, always feel the same. “I love the unique fades,” or, “It’s a cool hobby/thing to collect.” Those stories almost always have a more in-depth history. I am really curious about your story and that of your daughter’s. My little girl is only two, and our list of things in common is growing, but someday feels limited to bike rides, food, and laughing at farts. What is your selvedge origin story, and how did you and your daughter end up with this shared obsession?
CH: I am a collector of many, many things, and have been my entire life. I am new to raw denim and have to resist my urge to over-collect. The Invitational will help me with this! But for me, it is a wonderful rabbit hole to travel down. In addition to my new passion for raw denim, I am getting into the world of vintage workwear. I have collected antiques my entire life and have an antique booth (@so_fly_vintage). I love the hunt and have added some vintage workwear to my personal collection and my booth.
As for Evy, I told her about the competition and showed her some examples of jeans from last year, and she instantly wanted to participate. She said she really wanted some cool looking jeans as the ones pictured – and she loves to do things with her dad (proud dad smiling right now).
TA: Concerning the Indigo Invitational, my wife still doesn’t fully understand why I am doing this; wearing one pair of jeans for a year, trying to go as long as I can without washing them… she’s at a loss. How does the rest of your family feel about the two of you getting into something so…unique? Also, how’d you end up competing together?
CH: I told my wife about it, and she instantly loved it. Stacey is very outdoorsy and has always been a bit of a southern hippy. So, her reply was to say she could definitely get behind not washing a pair of jeans for a year (but I anticipate occasional washing for both of us). On the other hand, my stepdaughters think what we are doing is weird!
TA: At least half the family sounds accepting! Your stepdaughters are in good company with my entire family. One pair of jeans for the next year is quite the commitment, especially if you are a collector. What did you both decide on for your Indigo Invitational pairs, and why did you choose them?
CH: Great question! I will answer for Evy’s pair first. I asked for recommendations on women’s raw denim on the Indigo Invitational FaceBook page. As you know, women’s raw denim options are, unfortunately, much more limited than for men. After Evy and I looked through all the options online, we ended up choosing SoSo Brothers. Her eyes lit up when she saw all the options allowing her to create her very own one of a kind pair. They were so good to work with, and can’t recommend them enough!
For me, as I mentioned, I am a collector and a major rabbit hole researcher. I ultimately decided I wanted a lighter weight to handle the Georgia heat (I know many of you can take the heat in 25+ ounce denim – I can’t). I narrowed it down from dozens and ordered a beautiful pair of Iron Heart IH-777s-142ib. But then I realized that Iron Heart was the most represented brand, and I wanted something more obscure. I will save the 777s for some other time.
I ordered a pair of Big John Rare R008. The build on them is incredible, and I love the brand’s story – alas, they just didn’t fit me well, so they were returned. Then I decided I wanted a more obscure Japanese brand and tried a pair from Trophy Clothing in their 14.5oz one washed Dirt Denim, and they are fantastic! I am so glad I ended up with them.
TA: You and I have some similar concerns about heavyweight denim and heat, yet I am a glutton for punishment. We are big fans of SoSo/Jannis and Johan over here at The Arcuate, so we know Evy has a great pair of jeans for the Indigo Invitational! So, what kind of father-daughter stuff do the two of you get up to, and do you think they will contribute to your fade patterns/progress?
CH: During COVID, we will have to figure that out. As I mentioned, we love photography. That was one thing that got my daughter and me excited about this; finding fun and unusual places to take photos during the contest. We will have to work in some walks and hikes into our routines and take pictures along the way. Photography outings are nothing new to us, including a week-long, 2000+ mile photography trek across the American Southwest a few years ago, just the two of us.
We also have a new rescue dog, Lucinda Williams. She has a lot of energy, so there will be lots and lots of walks in our future with our new crazy pup! I also have some big yard work projects planned, including stonework. I know that it will add some wear. Maybe that means that Evy needs to help with the yard work!
TA: Sounds like you two have plenty to keep you active and adventuring! Are the two of you naturally competitive? Are either of you concerned about sabotage by the other? Should one or both of you start sleeping with one eye open?
CH: Ha. That is a great question. I would actually say that neither of us is very competitive, so I don’t think sabotage is a worry. That being said, we will be pushing each other to see a change in our denim for sure.
TA: What are you both looking forward to the most about this year’s Indigo Invitational?
CH: We love doing things together! Regardless of how we do in the contest, it is something for us to geek out together on. I have already mentioned our love of photography, and we have jumped right into that for our Instagram contest feeds. Atlanta is a great city, and there are many weird and fun destinations for our photography.
We are also looking forward to meeting others through this competition. Unfortunately, for such a large city, Atlanta doesn’t have a lot of awareness of our strange little subculture. But now we have 600+ other weirdos around the world we can geek out with.
TA: You are, indeed, in good company on this journey. So, what do you think the most challenging part of the Indigo Invitational will be for you both, and how do you plan to overcome that obstacle?
CH: While I am still working entirely from home, there are no issues with me wearing my jeans all day, every day. When I start going back to the office, that could be my challenge. For Evy, this isn’t just her first pair of raws, but it is her first non-stretch denim. She isn’t used to breaking in jeans, so that is a significant change for her. She has also become VERY used to wearing sweatpants all the time, so it is an incredibly difficult transition for her. However, she does have quite a collection of Dr. Martens, so she has an appreciation for breaking in boots.
TA: Everyone eventually hits a breaking point with raw denim and giving their jeans the first wash. Which one of you will break first? Do you have any cleaning/repair strategies that you’ll employ?
CH: Honestly, I am not an anti-wash fanatic, and Evy will probably follow my lead. I love high contrast fades, but I also love vintage fades. I would expect us to keep our jeans dry for a while, though. For washing, I don’t expect anything more than a warm soak and hang dry. With the yard work I have planned, I anticipate getting pretty filthy in these, and they may need an occasional bath.
As for repairs, I am thinking of getting a sewing machine. I don’t have much experience with sewing, but Evy does. She does technical theater in her school and is one of the costumers, so repairing garments is up her alley. I have learned to really appreciate the look of sashiko mending and already have the supplies on hand for that when needed.
TA: I’ve been really impressed by my interview subjects, in terms of talk of prizes and winning, no one really has those kinds of aspirations. Most people are just in it for the journey and camaraderie. I suppose in a time in history in which connected devices isolate us, and actual physical isolation has been a theme of 2020, this makes sense. Instead of asking about prizes and glory, I’ll end with this question, what are the two of you hoping to take away from this year’s Indigo Invitational?
CH: Well, the prizes are fantastic, but, like others, we are in it for the journey. The first part of the answer is easy – we will have some really great looking jeans that tell the story of 12 months of our lives.
I am so happy for Evy to be competing. This niche is way too dominated by men and has even less representation of young people. Maybe her participation can help with that.
Lastly, this is an opportunity for us to practice our beliefs around being socially and environmentally responsible with our purchases. The tremendous amount of waste that goes into fast fashion is shocking. The working conditions that allow for all the cheap, disposable clothing are horrifying. This is an excellent way to teach our kids better buying practices – buy better and buy less.
TA: Well put, Chris! Well, thank you so much for having this dialogue with me. I wish you and Evy the best of luck as you undertake the trials and adventures of the Indigo Invitational. I will be journeying with you both and look forward to watching your progress as well as Evy’s!
Remember we have been covering Indigo Invitational contenders from all over the world, be sure to check out our other interviews and follow along as we get deeper into the year. WE will follow up with these Indigo Invitational competitors and more as the year progresses.
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