The last thing any denim lover wants to hear is the sickening sound of a rip in a favorite pair of jeans. Whether it's the ever-popular crotch blowout or merely a ripped knee, there's a fix for that rip at Self Edge, a seller of premium, primarily Japanese denim that's launching a new repair service at its La Brea location Friday.
"You can take a pair of jeans to 10 different people and it would be repaired 10 different ways," said Self Edge founder, Kiya Babzani, whose own style of repair uses vintage sewing, darning and riveting machines and a combination of techniques to make fixes that match his denim aesthetic.
The service is an extension of the Self Edge product line and philosophy, which marries vintage American casual wear with premium Japanese craftsmanship and purpose-derived, garment-specific materials. Self Edge sells jeans, shirts and jackets from brands such as Real Japan Blues and Dry Bones for $300 to $400.
"We want to make sure that if your jeans are aging in a certain way that the repair services done to your jeans compliment that style of aging," Babzani said. "We have this obsession with the patina of everything."
In the two years the L.A. Self Edge has been open, the store has offered hemming, which is done with a decades-old Union Special chain stitching machine. The new repair service is offered for a flat fee: $20 for customers who purchased the jeans from Self Edge and $40 if not.
"I believe in full service retail like it was 50 years ago when you went to a kitchen store and bought housewares and there was someone there to sharpen your knives and replace the blades in your food processor," said Babzani, who started Self Edge in San Francisco in 2006, expanded to New York in 2009 and launched in L.A. one year later.
"We just felt it was sad to be sending our customers to tailors to get their jeans repaired," said Babzani, who began offering his fix-it four years ago at the San Francisco store. Now its tailors regularly come into contact with jeans whose wearers have blown out the backsides or stuffed a wallet into a pocket so many times it's started to form a hole.
"Denim repair is interesting. No other article of clothing we wear gets this destroyed," Babzani said, "but you see these jeans that have been brought into our stores. It looks like they've been worn every single day for two years."
-- Susan Carpenter
Photos, from top: Tailor Andrew Chen repairs ripped jeans at Self Edge New York; Self Edge L.A.; Union Special sewing machine. Credit: Self Edge