Through prototypes we tested different ideas for our jeans lines. The goal is the development of jeans for today’s demands in the different areas of life. We implement this with new functions and a recognizable design.
What do you do if you want to develop jeans? I asked myself this question in the summer of 2016 when I started my jeans project. I had no experience in the fashion industry, nor did I know anything about jeans. So I went in search of a person who could help me with making prototypes.
I came across a recommendation to Karin Pfeifenberger, a fashion designer in Vienna. It turned out that it is one of the capacities in Austria, as far as the production of cuts is concerned. In addition to her own editing and tailoring studio, she teaches at the Fashion School of the City of Vienna. I told her about my idea, and she spontaneously agreed to cooperate. We took a standard denim cut and started to incorporate our ideas and idiosyncrasies.
Copy or develop from scratch?
There are two approaches to how to develop fashion. Either one follows the tradition or a trend, copies the basic features of what already exists on the market, and complements these designs with new, own ideas. Or you can think of the basic characteristics of a garment and develop creative sketches. For jeans, the second approach is only partially possible, since jeans are called jeans, because they differ about certain features from other pants. These peculiarities have been established in over a century: for example, double seams, rivets or yoke. If you were to develop a completely new pair of pants, it would not be jeans anymore.
Nevertheless I would like to try completely new approaches for my jeans. For I believe that while jeans must contain certain properties, so that they are still recognized as jeans, but that they can be further developed. Most of the jeans on the market are very similar. Many brands lack the courage to go new and their own ways.
So I wondered what the inventor of the jeans would create if he lived in this day and age. He would probably create a pair of pants that is practical for today’s generation in the most diverse areas of life. For example, everyone today carries their smartphone with them. The jeans need a bag that is suitable for smartphones, or a bag for sunglasses and reading glasses. On the small “coin pocket”, which was developed over a hundred years ago actually for pocket watches, he would probably do without.
Prototyping – the essential product development process
Gradually we developed different types of bags and designs to test them. The models were each made by the dressmaker Doris Pusch in Vienna in my size, so that my brother Daniel (who is the same size) and I could put them on and try. I realized how important prototypes are. Often you have an idea, but in practice it does not work or the design does not look good.
Parallel to the prototyping I developed a positioning strategy, after which we began to align the prototypes: the jeans should have a clearly recognizable design in addition to special functions and be sustainably produced. We call our design a mix of classic and chic, classic, because we get the traditional denim look, and chic, because we enhance it with special color accents.
To date, we have produced twelve prototypes, but the work is not over. The prototyping will probably continue to accompany us as a process, because the individual jeans lines have to be developed with different cuts.