We love our denim so much, we’ve gotten used to looking the other way when it comes to a lot of nuttiness. It’s not strange for your skinnies to be the most expensive item in your closet (or for that same pricey pair of denim to come with huge, gaping holes all over, a fact that each of my grandparents has never ceased to find amusing and joke-worthy). But today, before I’d even made my first cup of coffee, I found news that was truly something I’ve never heard before. Hiut, a U.K.-based company, actually employs people to break in its jeans.
“Eight months ago, we sent jeans out to 50 breakers. The idea is that they wear them in for us and then we sell them,” company head David Hieatt told The Guardian. “The idea is that you break the denim in for the customer. It’s an experiment, but so far, so good.”
“When I handed them back, of course they smelled bad. I wore them every single day for six months. Literally,” explained “breaker” Cameron Stewart, a 24-year-old with one of the most awesome jobs around. “I cycled to work every day. I went to the rugby in them with my thermals underneath. They got soaked in the cold and rain, and so they spent a lot of time hanging and drying above a radiator. One day, when it was warm, I went and lay on the beach in them. I went to the supermarket in them, I cooked in them, I drank in them. I didn’t spill anything serious on them, thankfully. I also carved spoons in them, so by the end they were pretty covered in wood shavings.”
(Are you totally fascinated or what?)
Cameron said he had to pay a deposit when he got his pair and in the end will make 20 percent of whatever they sell for, a pretty sweet gig when you consider he also hasn’t had to wear (or buy) any other bottoms for more than half a year.
Elsewhere, the same sort of job is organized a bit differently. A.P.C., for instance, runs a Butler program that takes back jeans it deems acceptable, offering the original owner a new pair of jeans half-off.
“Broken in naturally over time, their attractive patina created and preserved in accordance with washing instructions, the jeans thus reappear, beginning a second life,” according to the A.P.C. site. “But not until they have been washed, mended, and marked with the initials of their former owner by our workshops.” Care instructions are specific too: Jeans should only have been dry-cleaned, hand-washed, or put through a washing machine on cold, sans spin cycle. “Letting them get dirty for as long as possible before their first wash is also highly recommended.”
The raw, dirty denim thing is something you hear about typically from the closets of men (since the fabric is rougher, it’s not as ideal for the skinny cut women favor). I could see myself getting into the romance of owning a pair of jeans that’s had a full life before me, especially somewhere exotic in Europe.