A.P.C. Jean Genie

A text by Jean Touitou


To finance the early days of A.P.C. – and considering that I distrusted bankers but also had no personal fortune – I worked as a “ghost designer” for several brands. One was based in London, another in Toronto and a third in Paris. This last brand had major experience in denim. One day, I asked the boss of this brand for some advice about making a great pair of blue jeans and I was given a bolt of Japanese denim, which was not very wide.
        I received just one indication: connect the two exterior edges with the red trim (two sketches are included to explain these seemingly mysterious yet actually very simple things). So, I sketched my design, had a pattern made and then cut and produced our first pair of jeans in the workshop of the neighborhood seamstress, who was thrilled to participate in such an adventure. However, I didn’t know – and therefore didn’t follow – a certain number of rules and codes that obsess denimheads, afficionados, nerds, specialists and all guardians of the temple. For example, the rule about cutting the waistband on the bias: since I wasn’t aware of this, I cut it straight along the grain and it’s been like that ever since. 


This is a simple matter of construction: connecting the two edges of fabric on the outer side of the legs keeps the jean legs straight (and prevents them from twisting). I know it’s a little abstract when it’s not your job, so here are some additional explanations in the form of sketches.

Left: Sketch by Shinya Hirota from the A.P.C. studio
Right: Sketch by Jean Touitou

     NO-SELVAGE (US: selvage, UK: selvedge)

Defining jeans as “selvage” is as ridiculous as describing water as wet. In French, “selvage” means the edge, yet all fabric has two edges. Without selvage/edges, a fabric would not be usable, as it would become unwoven. But let’s be good sports: this term is now commonplace and I’m not going to revolt against a term that is rather practical. When it comes down to it, it’s easier to use the word “selvage” than to say: “jeans designed from a fabric with a red trim whose outer sides were cut along the edges.
       You have to be able to accept approximations. For example, what people commonly call Rn
B in popular music has little to do with rhythm and even less with blues.


When I received this famous first bolt of fabric with its narrow width, I tried to find out where it came from. I was given the name of a weaver based somewhere near Hiroshima. I contacted him and, because he already knew my work thanks to the success of our first shop in Tokyo, he offered me a different version of this fabric, which would be exclusive to A.P.C. I accepted his offer. This fabric has a secret that only he and I know and that neither of us have ever shared with anyone else. More than 35 years later and without signing a contract, the weaver has kept our recipe and has always refused to sell “our” fabric to other brands.


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