Naked & Famous Denim
may have just about the most un-Googleable name in the business, but the high-end jean brand, based in Montreal, Que., is showing up everywhere these days—most notably in the wardrobes of some the NBA’s most influential figures (and their fans).
Naked & Famous specializes in dry—as in, untreated—and rare Japanese textiles. What more, it’s about avoiding gimmicks: no studs, no weird washes, no bullshit. The best part? Due to the untreated nature of the jeans, it’s up to the wearer to break them in, earning them a cult-like following (and more than a few Tumblrs devoted to the matter).
We caught up with founder and creative director Brandon Svarc to talk killer denim, his favourite Larry Johnson moment and Michael Jordan’s style (or lack thereof).
BNR: Hi Brandon. Basketball players and fans alike have been getting more fashion conscious, and it seems that Naked and Famous Denim is a brand getting more game time with ballers (cue Russel Westbrook wearing your camo denim). What's your reaction to N&F’s rising appeal?
Svarc: Hey, I love to hear it when anyone wears and loves our jeans! I’m certainly happy to hear that basketball players and fans dig our brand.
BnR: Do you have any theories as as to why your denim has become more popular among the NBA and its fans?
Svarc: Well, perhaps players like our jeans because we do very long inseams! We do 35-inch and 36.5-inch inseams on our jeans. We’ve even done a few styles with 37- or 38-inch inseams. Great for tall dudes!
But perhaps it’s just that the subculture is [moving] more away from tacky and showy shit. I mean, I think young people realize that wearing baggy track pants doesn’t make them look badass. Or [that] wearing T-shirts with giant graphics and skulls, crosses and rhinestones is just silly. Naked & Famous Denim offers clean simple jeans in badass fabrics that fit well and are unique.
BnR: As a style-conscious guy yourself, what do you say to the trend of NBA players increasingly being seen as style icons and appearing on magazine covers?
Svarc: Well, Michael Jordan has been on the cover of GQ before and I hope he isn’t considered a style icon. There are websites devoted to his horrible sense of style, and I’m pretty sure he is one of the worst dressers in the history of clothing.
In general, it’s great to see more people and more athletes respecting themselves enough to care about how they dress. These guys are young, in fantastic physical shape and can afford to buy anything they want… might as well dress properly!
BnR: Can you tell us about your own history with playing basketball?
Svarc: Even though I’m Canadian, basketball has always been my favorite sport to play. My brother and I would play as often as possible on our net in the driveway as kids. I was on our high school basketball team and even made VIP in grade 10! Note: I attended Jewish school in Canada and was the tallest player on our team at 6 feet tall, so don’t be too impressed.
BnR: What about your favourite teams and players?
Svarc: As a kid, my friend Ariel Helwani was obsessed with Patrick Ewing. It was kind of contagious, so I liked to follow the Knicks. I still recall watching Larry Johnson hitting that four-point play in the playoffs vs. Indiana, and then running around my basement screaming like a maniac! At our high school graduation ceremony, I did the “LJ” symbol to Ariel as I picked up my diploma from the stage.
BnR: Would you say any NBA player is particularly stylish to you?
Svarc: Well, since you mentioned that Russell Westbrook wears our jeans, then I’ll say him! Just note that we did not give him any jeans for free. We never give away free jeans to celebrities or athletes. I imagine he likely shops at Barneys New York and found our jeans there.
BnR: What’s the inspiration for your denim?
Svarc: We just wanna make badass jeans and not rip people off.
BnR: What denim style are you currently obsessed with?
: Yeah, the Jade Selvedge
is great and the color is so unique. We also used a thick buffalo leather patch on that style. Personally, I am wearing our Stretch Selvedge fabric, which gives you a mix of a great-fading indigo selvedge denim [and] also the comfort of a stretch denim.
BnR: Thanks for your time!