I hope you’re all rolling into the weekend with your chest out and head held high after a productive and positive week. What the hell have I just typed?! I’m not even going to delete that opening as a reminder to myself that I should never start a feature like that again and that, I am in no way Tony Robbins haha!
That being said, tonight the ‘Man Behind The Menswear’ is one of the happiest and most positive/supportive members of the denim community…bar none.
Ruedi Karrer aka @swissjeansfreak IS RAW DENIM. His love for the fabric is buried deep in his smiley personality and I guarantee anybody who posts pics of raw denim onto their IG feed is likely to have received a comment at some point from Ruedi showing his appreciation for the fades/combs/whiskers or anything wear related.
An avid sandal wearing, mountain exploring, ski enthusiast, Ruedi does not wear raw denim to look cool, or feel rugged, Ruedi wears it because he IS cool. A little eccentric? Sure, but totally cool!
With the only “Jeans museum of heaviest fading in the world” under his belt and in his name, jeansmuseum.org, Ruedi leads the pack when it comes to the term “denim head” and you can see why HERE. We have been emailing each other for over 18 months regards this-and-that and if I’m honest it’s took us over 6 months to bring this feature to life but we are here now and it’s great to finally add Ruedi to the @clobbercalm 10@10 roster. I mean the dude sometimes wears TWO pairs of raws at the same time! WOAH!!
Callum aka @clobbercalm.cal is going to love sending this piece live as he usually adds links to every brand mentioned one-by-one. Cal, I’ve just read the below mate and good luck on this one bro
But moving on, dudes and 10% dudettes (according to statistics) it’s time to sit back, relax, crack open a bev and listen to the raw denim thoughts of Ruedi Karrer as the @swissjeansfreak answers the @clobbercalm 10@10.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Ruedi Karrer aka @swissjeansfreak
AGE: Born Sept 8 1959
LOCATION: Zürich, Switzerland
OCCUPATION: Geographer working for the government of Zurich with Geographic Information Systems on water management. Besides this, Founder and Owner of the Jeans museum of heaviest fadings.
HOBBIES: Heaviest faded raw denim, mountains, nature, sport
1. So Why Instagram?
It’s very easy to access and to upload pics here and I think there is a great and growing IGcommunity around specifically for raw denim heads. The only bad thing is, that you can see the last 90 reactions on IG only.
2. Why Denim, Boots, Workwear, Ruggedness?
I love raw denim since my childhood after we received 2 pair of Levi’s jeans in a clothes donation parcel 45 years ago in our poor, big family located in a little remote Swiss alpine village. Jeans became a myth, a cult and a fetish object for me since then.
As a young teenager I wanted to become a little James Dean or Elvis or just a rocker, but I was too shy then. So I just put all my life dreams of a young rebel in to the love of raw denim.
With the ongoing years I learned about the magic of natural denim evolution on raw denim and that this denim evolution results will be stronger the less as you wash them and the harder you’re wearing them. In the end I stopped washing my raw denim gear at all to see the full power of natural denim evolution at it’s best.
The main reason of never washing my raw denim gear was, beside the strong denim evo result, because I love the original raw denim color tone much more then the royal blue color tone you get after washing them. So I just start wearing them with SOME TRICKS:
1. Start breaking in a new jeans at the beginning of the cold winter season.
2. Wearing them a little bit oversized to prevent too early crotch blowouts.
3. Wearing them in 3 steps: First in the office then for outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, then using them as work pants for garden and forest work or house renovations.
3. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of “Instafashion” and the community it is creating?
I never thought about this, for me Instagram is just a newer and much easier access to get connected with other same minded people. If it would be in the same easy way on Facebook, Superfuture or other social media platforms I would also use them more.
4. Top 3 brands to shop and why?
A too difficult question: I just love all raw denim brands with greencast or even left hand twill denim fabrics at most.
I really love too many brands, My top favorites alphabetically:
Atelier La Durance, 3sixteen, A.P.C, Ande Whall, BDD, Big John, Blaumann, Denim Demon, Denham, Eat Dust, Edwin, Eight-G, Flathead, G-Star (around 1999-2003 with US-Lumber, US-First, US-Short) Imperial, Iron Heart, Lee, Lee Cooper (the older styles until 1990), Levi’s, Lois (the older styles until 1990), Momotaro, Naked & Famous, Natural Selection, Nobrandedon, Nudie, Old blue Co., Oni, Pace, Pike Brothers, PRPS, Pure Blue Japan, Redcloud, Redux, Rifle (the older styles until 1990), Rising Sun, Rogue Territory, Rokker, Sage, Samurai, Strike Gold, Steel Feather, Studio d’Artisan, Sugarcane, Tellason, Tulp Jeans, Unbranded Brand, Upperclass, Warehouse, Workershield, Wrangler, … although some of those brands even don’t exist anymore.
So I can’t pick just the 3 best only, I just love all of them.
5. Where’s your favourite place to shop these brands?
Several raw denim stores:
Zürich: VMC, DeeCEEStyle, Hudson, Denim and Iron, Kitchener
Berlin: Burg & Schild, DC-4 Store, Fein und Ripp
Amsterdam: Tenue de Nimes, Ebay
Online stores like Cultizm, Nudie, Need Supply Co., … but in fact I have too many jeans already!!!
6. When did you decide to voice and share your love for your threads on social media?
In 1973 I started collecting jeans and denim jackets and later I gave many little flyers to all raw denim heads I met on the streets. After 1999 I started using Ebay and, after 2001, Farley auctions to buy many jeans items. In 2010 I started using Mynudie.com forum and the Superfuture Forum and since 2012 I used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram too. This all came up after I got my first real smartphone an IPhone 3 then, which made the social media access much easier for me then.
But it was a slowly ongoing process and not a special day when I decided to start using the social media. It’s a part of the main goal to keep the raw denim spirit alive with showing people the power of natural denim evo.
7. What’s the secret behind your great images; Who takes them? When are they taken? How do you capture the magic your followers enjoy so much?
There are no secrets behind my pictures. In fact I always just use quick iPhone shots, always, taken by myself and very few times by a friend or another person I just ask quickly to take a snap shot for the pics taken from me. I never alter the pics nor do I ever use any filters. Most pics are about denim evolution and sometimes also mountaineering shots since I love both the most.
8. What feeds do you like to follow and check in on? Who should we check out?
I love many awesome feeds with crazy raw denim evolution pics like the epic faded and never washed Lee 23 oz jeans from @kingyuyiu, or the hardest core raw denim trasher and Melbourne based stone mason Lee aka @lee_in_denim, or the incredible hardcore swedish raw denim lover @hakankarlstrom with his incredible never washed 32 oz Naked & Famous jeans and many other raw denim purists breaking in their jeans the hardcore never-washed way like in Indonesia too. There are some great raw denim community workers like @clobbercalm or @robindenim or @heddels_ or @denimhunters and others.
9. What tips would you give new starters on Instagram to help them get there feed off the ground and successful?
Just be yourself and try to take good shots. Not too much text and not too many posts per day, I myself just post about 5-6 pics weekly. I always try to respond to feedbacks or reactions, so I usually post before lunch time to not miss the reactions overnight since you can see the last 90 reactions on IG only (They wanna make you an IG addict).
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island, you can take 1 outfit (4 items) and 1 drink ONLY with you.
What would they be? Who made them? Why are you taking them?
My 11 most loved and never washed but hardest core broken in jeans and 2 denim jackets: G-Star US Lumber, Denime, IronHeart, 2 Nudie, 3 APC Atelier La Durance, Edwin, Strike Gold and my 2 Lee Storm Rider denim jackets. So 13 instead of 4 items. But no drink needed, no shoes, no belt, no shirt, no underwear, no socks, nothing else. And taking 11 jeans and 2 denim jackets (only) out of my 14,000 jeans and denim jackets would be a pretty awesome reduction already!
All those items have never been washed but already broken in the hardcore way with incredible strong natural denim evolution with crazy shiny greenish and strong patina which I love like hell!
1. The G-Star US-Lumber greencast lefthand twill jeans was made in 1999 from G-.Star and worn in Zürich by a postman over 2 years every day straight
2 & 3. The Edwin and 1 Nudie jeans have been worn hard for years by a man in Zürich 10 years ago
4 & 5. The 2 APC jeans have been worn hard by a man from Edmonton, Canada
6. 1 APC hardcore worn for years by a man with a lot of oil and grease on them. The color has changed from blue to black!!!
7. The ALD jeans have been worn hard for years by a programmer in Zürich 5 years ago
8. IH 25 oz jeans broken in by myself 3 years 2013-2016
9. Strike Gold jeans 23 oz by myself 2011-2013
10. Nudie Regular Ralf second-hand and by myself 2007-2009
11. Denime by myself 2009-2011
12 & 13. The 2 Lee Storm Rider denim jackets from 1966 and 1968 have been worn hard for over 8 winter seasons each by myself over the last 20 years
Those 13 items are my really most loved items because of their incredible strong natural denim evo and greenish patina. I could die for every single item of them, they’re like my little kids. It would kill me and it would break my raw denim heart, in case I couldn’t keep them anymore.
WOW! See, I told you…Ruedi IS denim. This guy is money when it comes to raw denim…he needs a collab, and quick. The result would be the dream pair of raws for any true out-and-out denim head! Plus, of course would make a great story for @clobbercalm.threadsnfades
Ruedi, it’s been an absolute ball having you on the 10@10 brother and I look forward to the day when we meet in person and I can shake your hand! Thanks for your time my friend.
Anyways, please pop back over on Saturday (now 13th May) @ 5pm (UK GMT) as @shockoe_ateliergive us their thoughts on T&F17 so far and also make sure you visit the shop tab in the nav bar. We are now, lucky enough to be, able to offer you guys discount codes to some of the tip-top denim and leather manufacturers we see daily in our feeds (inc. Shockoe ). Check it out…
Have a top weekend people. It’s been a pleasure as always.
Stay Close. Reach Out. Say Hi.