If you’re a fan of tech, if you obsess over everyday carry or are particular about your style, you’ve likely heard of Drop. Drop sells products from respected brands across an array of interests ranging from mechanical keyboards to hi-fi audio, knives and more. It’s unique in that it not only collaborates with esteemed names, but also with its own community of members, self-professed obsessives, enthusiasts and, lovingly, nerds. Today, Drop’s latest release takes on the denimhead community with the Ibara Slim Rinse Jeans.
While Drop has collaborated with venerated denim brands like Raleigh, Companion and Naked & Famous, this is its first solo jean. And unlike so many other startup denim brands, this isn’t a cookie-cutter pet project. “What we wanted to do was to make the ultimate enthusiast jean that was accessible to a bigger audience,” says Drop’s senior product manager of wearables John Webb. “And not just price-accessible, but wear-accessible, too.”
In Drop’s journey, they managed to find the Japanese factory making jeans for the world’s best brands. Located in the denim capital of Kojima, this factory is a go-to for runway designers and niche denim brands alike. They also got one of the top male fit models to dial in the perfect fit. In this case, that fit is a relaxed slim fit with a medium rise. And through it all, Drop worked tirelessly with denim developers who’ve worked with the biggest jeans brands to develop a very specific denim, just for these inaugural jeans.
“You get the best of both worlds as far as the denim goes,” Webb says. “You get high comfort and high character from the beginning.” At 15 ounces, the fabric tips the scales more than your average pair (usually, this is about 12 ounces). That 25 percent extra beef is the first thing you’ll notice when you put them on. If a typical pair of jeans is a dress sock, these are more like a gym sock.
The heft is apparent, but it’s also surprisingly pliable from the get-go so it doesn’t feel like, in Webb’s words, a pizza box. That’s because the denim is woven at such a low tension. This makes the fabric more open and loose, resulting in a more comfortable jean from the beginning, unlike a fair amount of other jeans at this weight. While the low-tension weave is great for comfort, the denim punches above its weight and exhibits characteristics more in line with even heavier denim thanks to the yarns. Instead of aiming for a perfectly smooth denim that uses a uniform yarn width, Drop opted for a denim that has three different widths of yarn to give it a beautiful variance that will become even more pronounced with wear. In a sea of dull, lifeless denim, this is a breath of fresh air.
As for the denimhead details, there are plenty. First, the jeans have the requisite selvedge detail at the outside hem. Bonus points for the narrow selvedge seam allowance, too. Most companies that show off their selvedge at the side seams leave about an inch of seam allowance. But a narrower selvedge seam allowance takes some more precision. The Ibaras also show off the selvedge detail at the coin pocket as well as both sides of the inside of the button fly.
The yoke of the jeans are also lined with heavy cotton herringbone fabric, which is also used for the pocket bags. Lining the yoke helps to keep the jean’s shape while also extending its lifespan.
The pockets are set firmly into place using concealed rivets, which will wear through the denim over time. It’s a detail that first appeared in the 1930s after customers complained that exposed rivets at the back pockets damaged their furniture. Today, the denim die-hards seek out this detail which has all but faded, at least in America.
Speaking of hardware, Drop spared no expense and went with the higher-quality YKK Japan rivets and buttons, both of which will age alongside the denim, not to mention the natural vegetable-tanned deerskin leather patch at the waistband. Look closely at that patch and you’ll notice that it’s stitched in one continuous line along with the waistband itself, rather than separately like most jeans. That same continuous stitching is also at the rear pockets.
Even then, Webb’s favorite detail might be missed if you weren’t in person to feel it. When we talked with him about it, Webb mentioned the belt loops. “The belt loops are ridged so that they’ll show more aggressive wear,” he says. “We had to build special folders for those. A lot of that, especially with the folder, needs a skilled sewer.” In the belt loops as well as at the top of the front and back pockets, is extra fabric that creates a ridge in the folds. It’s a detail that even the sharpest eyes can miss, jeansmakers included.
While plenty of small brands have looked to hitch a ride on the selvedge denim train, most are merely following the preset route laid before them, grabbing the lowest hanging fruit along the way — a lifeless mid-weight denim whose only merit is selvedge cut into a generic slim-straight fit. There’s not anything exactly offensive about that (it’s a hell of a lot better than most of the garbage jeans out there), but jeans can be so much more. Drop understands that. “We’re not a super-powerful denim brand,” Webb says, “But the jean, for what it is, is a hell of a jean.”
The jeans are available for $129 in a wide range of sizes from 28-42.
We spoke to experts at three of the world’s most respected denim shops: Kiya Babzani, co-owner of Self Edge; Jeremy Smith, co-owner of Standard & Strange; and Okayama Denim owner Merv Sethi. Read the Story