We are just approaching the 2/3 point of “month one” for the Indigo Invitational. Hopefully, by now, everyone is starting to feel a little more comfortable in their competition pairs, and perhaps even experiencing some of that electric-blue joy that is only experienced in this hobby of ours. People worldwide are celebrating the start of the Indigo Invitational like it’s Christmas morning, opening their new pairs of jeans like neatly wrapped indigo gifts and dawning them for the first time…I’ve already learned about so many great new denim brands. At times I’ve had to hide my wallet; this is a marathon, of course, not a sprint.
As I start to collect my month one thoughts and reflections, I wanted to round out the contenders series with one final interview before I follow up with the group for some first-month anecdotes. There are sure to be some amusing stories, blunders, and laughs from our first 31 days for sure, but first, I want to introduce you to Jason Farley, our final installment in the Indigo Invitational Year Two Contenders Series.
INDIGO INVITATIONAL Y2 CONTENDER: Jason Farley (@leetabrown33)
The Arcuate: Hey, Jason! This conversation is a long overdue, so thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with me about the upcoming Indigo Invitational Year 2. I like to start each of these profiles by letting our readers get to know you better, so can you tell us who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
Jason Farley: My name is Jason; everyone calls me J. I live in southern New Jersey (USA) and am an artist. I mainly paint and draw graffiti cartoon characters and letters on walls, stickers, and canvas. I’ve been an artist for over 10 years and have traveled the country participating in art shows and had my work featured in some international shows.
TA: That’s really rad; a life lived for art is one well spent. I suspect art plays into your denim fading! Everyone seems to have a selvedge origin story; when asked, the answer always feels the same. “It’s a hobby.” “I like fades.” “My mum buys my clothes…” you know, something like that. My point is, it never feels authentic. So, Jason, what’s your denim origin story? Acceptable answers may include fabricated stories about radioactive indigo spiders or vengeance tales for robberies gone wrong and pre-distressed denim-clad parental murderers.
JF: Haha. Well, my idol growing up was my uncle Danny. He was a truck driver who traveled the country for work. And when he wasn’t working, he was riding his motorcycles around the country to events. He wore awesome leather jackets and beat-up jeans and vests. He had tattoos and cool boots. He always dressed real badass, in my opinion, and was such a confident guy that I wanted to be just like that.
Going through his clothes after he passed away and seeing the fade patterns on his Levi’s 501s and the patina on his leather jackets- I loved it. I wanted to know why his clothes looked so good and why they faded like that. I wanted my clothes to look that good, ya know. Then I found the raw denim forum on Reddit, and it was all over for me. I became obsessed really quick, haha.
TA: Family…right in the feels. That’s maybe one of my favorite origin stories so far, J. What is your favorite part of breaking in a fresh pair of selvedge, how do you determine when they have had enough abuse, and do you have any makers that are your go-to favorite?
JF: My favorite part of breaking in a new pair of denim is the joy you feel every morning putting on a new project pair of denim. It makes getting out of bed a little better for sure. I love how tight and stiff the back pockets are and how your jeans make sounds when you move for the first week or so from the thick denim moving around. I usually know they need a wash when they smell, or I eventually drop soup on my lap.
I typically retire them once I can hold them up and see through the fabric, like just before it rips. I get that a lot in my tailbone area after about a year. My favorite companies are brave-star, naked and famous for jeans and RGT for shirts and jackets.
TA: I know you said you faded a pair of Okayama Spirit 4’s for a year, was that part of the first Indigo Invitational, another comp, or just for shits and gigs? If this is your first year, what drew you to the Indigo Invitational as it seems you’re already a reasonably dedicated fader to begin with?
JF: Yeah, I wore the Okayama spirit 2 for a year straight. No contest or anything like that, just usually I get a new pair for a year. They were my first unsanforized pair, and I think to this day, my favorite pair of jeans ever. The texture is crazy. So I had to get the Spirit 4s when I heard they would be out in time for this year’s invitational. And being that they are sanforized this time, I thought it’d be interesting to see them develop compared to last time.
The 4s are just as beautiful and slubby as I hoped and expected! Love them. I was drawn to the invitational this year for the community. To get to geek out over denim with many great like-minded people for a whole year, I’m so pumped. I’m psyched to see everyone’s fades, but I’m also just excited about the community’s great vibe. Everyone sharing info and experiences and becoming friends online through the Indigo Invitational is something I’m really excited and happy about.
TA: You’re about to commit to one pair of jeans for 365 days. Some days I skip every track that hits my Pandora stream. I just can’t commit. What are you going to commit to wearing, and how did you decide on your competition pair? What Attributes made them your “Indigo Innovational ‘It’ pair?”
JF: I have a rather addictive personality that helps me wear a single pair for months and months on end, haha. It’s easier in a way because I’d rather not have to think about what to wear when I wake up. It’s also kind of like having a superhero suit or your battle armor; gotta put on your jeans every morning to take on the day! Once I see the tiniest bit of fade, I’m hooked, and I couldn’t wear anything else if I tried. Plus, I don’t want any other jeans right now.
To wake up and put on a grail pair (in my opinion) is what we all want. So I’m happy to know I’ll not be wearing anything else but these. Definitely chose them for the slubby denim and wanted to try the easy guy fit from naked and famous. Super comfortable, lots of rise and taper. I really enjoy them. And if they fade like I think they will, hopefully, I’ll have a crazy great looking pair of jeans at the end of this year and maybe even a prize! That’d be crazy!
TA: An addictive personality in denim can be expensive and distracting! I wish you well in staying the course during the Indigo Invitational. What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s competition?
JF: I’m really psyched to see all the different brands and weight denim and how they will fade! I can look at faded denim pictures all day. It’s also really cool to connect with other denim enthusiasts and just talk and geek out over all the details and other things about jeans that most people don’t see or care about. The community!
TA: Agreed. It’s already been an education for me. What do you think the most challenging part of the competition will be for you, and how do you plan to overcome that obstacle?
JF: Well, I always have a real hard time doing my first wash or soak. I like going as long as possible, and in the past, I’ve probably gone a bit too long and got stinky, haha. Plus, I know it’s good for the cotton to have a wash every now and then. So I’m going to wash em when they need to and just not worry about anything like it messing up a crease or whatever.
TA: There’s some incredibly stiff (no pun intended) competition in the field this year. How do you feel about going against guys like Alex Swords and Stephen Snider?
JF: I’m cool with it. Those dudes can do their thing, and I’ll do mine. Like besides denim, those dudes make me feel lazy, haha. So I just can’t pay attention to stuff like that. I don’t want to discourage myself. It’s all our own journey together.
TA: I like that, “It’s all our own journey, together.” That’s a great mental attitude about the whole event. As I mentioned earlier, I expect your artistic nature may impact your fading project. You’re really good, by the way (understatement); I wonder, what plans do you have for your jeans, washing approach, any EDC trinkets, or repair strategies to make your jeans really stand out?
JF: Thanks. Well, wear ’em every day no matter what your up to that day. If I’m running around the city writing graffiti or just sitting at home working on a canvas or sculpture. Most nights, I sleep in them as well. It’s been a habit for a long time to sleep in my jeans, nothing new for the comp. Every day I’m carrying a Tannery South veg wallet and my phone, some stickers, a fade log, and sometimes a big, fat marker. Gotta watch out for the marker fade, or it could look a little suspicious, hahaha. I’m going to try not to get paint on my jeans for a while, but it’s inevitable.
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, what are you hoping to take away from this year’s Indigo Invitational?
JF: Good question. I’d like to finish this year with a fantastic pair of jeans and maybe a few more Instagram friends to vibe with about denim. I’m just so psyched. So many people are involved. The way I figure it, all these upcoming great fade pics and everyone with a great pair of jeans after a year are the best prizes of all.
I think it’s really cool that so many folks are involved because it will help grow to the community and maybe educate people about different brands and what options there are out there. Learning and sharing information. Perhaps we will inspire a few people to learn more about slow fashion. Winning a prize is the last thing on my mind.
TA: Jason, this was awesome. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and taking part in our contender series. I’d love to speak with everyone, from all over the world, taking part in the Indigo Invitational, alas, there is simply not enough time, and my toddlers…neigh, my wife, will not allow it! For everyone that has taken part so far, thank you so very much. I will be following up with everyone in the coming weeks for your best and worst moments from Day 0-31! Who knows, we may even pick up a few new names along the way.
As always, thanks for reading.
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