May 3, 2016

At the end of April, Amsterdam is washed in indigo blue in celebration of the annual denim event, Denim Days. Hosting a series of talks, events and seminars based around all things denim, we jetted off to the cobbled streets of Amsterdam to find out more.

At the event, we caught up with Kris Babet, Urban Outfitters’ Senior Buyer for men’s footwear and branded apparel, to find out how many pairs of jeans he owns, his thoughts on customisation and his favourite denim brands.

UO: Hi Kris, can you tell us a little about your role at Urban Outfitters?

Hi! I’m the Senior Buyer for men’s footwear and all men’s branded apparel, which means along with the help from my team, we decide what products we sell in those areas, which brands to work with, what collaborations to do and what exclusives to offer to our customers. Essentially, we create the edit for our customers.

UO: What’s your favourite denim brand and why?

Tough question! I love Levis Vintage as I am a huge fam of the 1954 501’s and the 1955 505’s as they are the best fits of all time, and they fit me great! I also love the history of Levis as a brand and what it means not only to denim, but to youth culture and fashion. The LVC line is also created with their finest selvedge denim, which is the best of the best cut, made on original looms. I also really love Edwin denim, they have some great modern fits, the ED88, the ED85 & their iconic ED55 are all amazing fits and again come in premium Japanese selvedge denim.

UO: Which upcoming denim trends are exciting you right now?

I like the fact that legs seem to be getting a little looser, don’t get me wrong I love a skinny jean, but it’s nice to see some relaxed options coming through. I am also a huge advocate of the cropped jean for men. I’m bored of rolling or turning up jeans so the crop is good for me, it gives a nice clean, fitted look to denim – just don’t crop it too high!

UO: What was your personal highlight at Denim Days?

I loved seeing some of the new denim innovations that are going on; the use of stretch fibers in selvedge denim, the new innovative ways to whisker denim, laser technology! I also loved seeing the true indigo fabrics and some of the vintage denim that was available to buy.

My personal highlight was the film that Levis showed us detailing the history of the 501, that really stayed with me and I’d urge anyone to take 20 minutes out of their schedule to watch it. It’s a definite must see for denim heads and fans of youth culture movements.

UO: Which brands are doing exciting things in the world of denim right now?

I love Rollas from Australia. I feel like ever since the rise of Ath-leisure fashion, denim brands have been trying to jump on the bandwagon of “let’s design/make ‘jogger jeans’ because that’s what people want…” NO! No it’s not. It’s terrible! To me, it makes no sense as that’s not what denim brands are about. Rollas have come out with great authentic denim styling, great modern fits and have reminded us all what denim is about. It’s a uniform for the non-conformist rebellion of youth.

UO: We held the laser laundry in our Amsterdam store. Do you own any customised denim? If not, how would you customise your own denim?

I have a customized type 2 Levis vintage ‘Big E’ denim jacket with a ‘yamaha’ winged patch across the shoulder blades. I got it from Urban and I’m always on the lookout for cool vintage patches to add to it.

Other than that, I don’t really customize my denim, outside of cropping & tapering. I have some great repaired denim though as I am definitely of the mindset that denim lasts a lifetime, you just keep patching them up and wearing them through.

UO: How many pairs of jeans do you own?

Great question! I know this as I’ve recently moved house and my girlfriend was horrified to learn that I still have over 15 pairs in my current rotation! And that was after I had packed a load off to charity. In my defence, I do have about five pairs of white/off-white jeans in there and you need a good cache of those as they don’t hide stains as well as a black or a worn in raw do!

UO: What are your top tips for denim care?

The first time you buy a new pair of jeans wear them, A LOT! The more wear they have the better they’ll fit your body. Also try not to wash them for as long as you can. This way as well as getting a great fit you’ll also get some really good wear marks in the jeans when you do finally wash them. I tend to wear mine for a minimum of 6 months before I wash them. I do have a rotation though, not one pair solid for six months. I tend to constantly be working through around five pairs of white, black and three stages of blue at any one time. More white in the summer obviously – that’s my go-to tip, wear white jeans when you can!