Not that long ago, I found myself brand new in a community that felt very overwhelming. Weights, wefts, fits, and fades. There’s a lot to learn, and indeed plenty of time to learn it. This life took me down sort of a rabbit hole, and suddenly I find myself in way deeper than I thought. Hell, I never would have guessed I’d be writing for a heritage goods focused blog and interviewing other danimheads. Now, almost without warning, my dumb ass is committed to wearing one pair of jeans for the next year and competing in the Indigo Invitational.
When I put feelers out to see if anyone competing would be interested in talking to me about past experiences and this year’s Indigo Invitational, I didn’t think I’d get much of a response. I didn’t consider someone like Taylor Dille, a relative newcomer to denimhead culture, would put his hand up first. I’m delighted that he did.
First, because being new to something, like the Indigo Invitational, and being brave enough to talk about it publicly is fucking hard; think 6th grade and reciting poems from memory in English Lit in front of your whole class and praying you don’t fart or something worse. Second, because Taylor gave me the confidence to believe what we are doing here is being heard by an audience that at least kind of cares, and that’s awesome. Thanks, Taylor!
INDIGO INVITATIONAL Y2 CONTENDER: Taylor Dille (@wicky998)
The Arcuate: Hey Taylor! Brother, you were the first to reach out to us about your participation in this interview series, so huge thank you for taking the time to sit and talk with me about the upcoming Indigo Invitational Year 2. From what we have discussed, I believe this is your first journey into the Indigo Invitational, the same as me. Let’s start with some basics. Can you tell us who you are, where you’re from, and what you do?
Taylor Dille: Hey guys! My name is Taylor Dille, I am from a small town named Belle Rose in Louisiana, and I’m a full-time mobile detailer. I’ve been doing this for myself, going on a few years. It’s fun, and I enjoy working for myself.
TA: Everyone seems to have a selvedge origin story; when asked, the answer always feels the same. “It’s a hobby.” “I like fades.” “Why the hell not?” The answers still feel flat. So as real as you can be, what drew you to selvedge denim?
TD: Let’s see, I believe it started when I first was looking for my first pair of redwing boots, and every picture I came across on Instagram were guys with these super dope jeans, cuffed above their redwings. I did my research and shopped around for a while until I landed my first pair of Naked and Famous.
What I love the most about selvedge denim? It would have to be the culmination of time, effort, and craftsmanship from generations of technique to make something fantastic that will last years to come, and that showcases your lifestyle. No other garnet that I can think of, besides a good pair of boots, tells a story like a raw pair of denim. Every aspect of the denim showcases some kind of patina, whether it’s the buttons, rivets, pockets, patches, etc.
My denim is the first piece of clothing that I choose when I wake up, everything else has to tie into my jeans. Choosing a pair of denim jeans is super tricky because so many brands make some really great jeans. I think the materials and the weight of the fabric play a significant role in my denim selection. South Louisiana is super humid, kind of like breathing through a wet shirt, so wearing denim in the summer months can be somewhat challenging.
TA: Fair enough! I used to live in South Florida; that feeling of “breathing through a wet shirt,” seriously resonates. OK, let’s talk about the Indigo Invitational. First, were you aware of the competition last year, and if so, how did you first come across it? What made you want to compete this year, aside from the crazy prize list?
TD: I didn’t know about the Indigo Invitational last year, although I wish I would have. I first ran across the Indigo Invitational through a local shop’s Instagram (Iron Shop Provisions) as they are a sponsor. Being involved with a group of guys that’s super knowledgeable denim would be a great place to learn as much as possible and have a chance to win a cool prize.
TA: You’re about to commit to one pair of jeans for 365 days. I know people that haven’t had relationships last that long. What will you go to battle wearing, and how did you decide on your competition pair?
TD: The pair I went with was an 11.5oz “Itochu” Railcars. They are made with Japanese dead stock selvedge from the Itochu Mills in Japan. These were a Blue Owl exclusive. My jeans don’t get too dirty daily, so I figured with minimal washes and an 11.5oz fabric, I should do some damage within a year. I didn’t want to go with something hefty weight.
TA: Solid pick! I am glad to see some lighter weight selections this year. Heavies seem to be the trend; it’ll be cool to see how lighter weight denim progresses. What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s Indigo Invitational?
TD: I think I’m most excited to see a lot of different brands’ fades. They have a ton of brands that I’ve never seen faded before. Plus, it’ll give me insight into what I want to run with next year’s comp.
TA: What do you think the most challenging part of the competition will be for you, and how do you plan to overcome that obstacle?
TD: I think the most challenging thing for me is taking actual photos of my jeans that genuinely show the contrasts and fades. I’m used to doing everything (including pictures) on my phone. For the Indigo Invitational, I plan to use my wife’s canon DSLR to get the best shots!
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?
TD: I’m not worried about the competitors, I’ve always looked at competitions that way. If I focus on them, I can’t focus on what I need to do. Those guys are great and are phenomenal at taking the perfect photos of their denim. But in the same sense, I don’t look at the other entrants as competition. They’re more like friends and family looking to grab the sickest fades!
TA: Dude, I love that outlook on the competition. This community is incredible and I think you’re going to love being active in it. I see you have a nice collection of EDC items, some quality blades, etc. Do you have any pocket trinkets you are planning on implementing for unique fades?
TD: Ahh, yes! My EDC, my first love -ahaha. Yes, I plan on carrying my spider on pm2 in the right front pocket. I’m also hoping to grab a Redhills company medium v3 wallet and leash and a Nudie jeans co belt by the time the competition starts. Fingers crossed.
TA: How does your significant other feel about you wearing the same pair of jeans every damn day for the next year?
TD: I must give credit where credit is due, and my significant other is by far the most laid back type of person when it comes to me doing some weird and crazy things. As long as I’m happy, she’s happy and vise versa. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that!
TA: The prizes are even more substantial this year; I mean, SoSo is literally sending someone to Japan, which is insane, albeit awesome when you consider what the prize is for. Is there any prize, in particular, you are hoping to win?
TD: I have a family that is from Japan. My uncle met her when he was there during service in the Navy. It would be super dope to go to Japan and visit, see and maybe catch some local denim shops and grab a pair or two! But in reality, the prizes aren’t on my mind a lot. I just want to learn and absorb as much information as possible. I’d be happy with any of my fellow competitors to win the prizes. It’s all about sharing the love!
TA: We couldn’t agree more, brother. Taylor, good luck in this year’s Indigo Invitational. We will be keeping a close on your progress and hope to catch up with you again throughout the competition. Thanks for taking the time and being the first volunteer for this series. I truly appreciate your time and candor. Be excellent, my guy.
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