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PRPS: Re-inventing Denim’s Legacy…

Prps Noir Showroom

Lovers of the pleasingly perverse, consider this: PRPS is to regular denim as a fine-cut diamond is to an unpolished gem. Each has its value, significance and power – but the fine-cut stone sparkles brighter.

The level of dedication and craft that goes into PRPS NOIR jeans, our bespoke collection, and all our jeans, may seem a great irony – all that costly art and skill lavished on what began as basic workers’ dungarees. Yet the rigorous spirit that propels us at PRPS and to which all our jeans pay homage is that of the first denim tribe: the late 19th century American workers, men who set out to pan for gold and battle bears, lay the rails and ride them; and the tailors who followed them, to stitch serious workwear by candlelight. Their life was a struggle, but they were determined. Every unique PRPS button and whiskering, the originality in our chemical replication of vintage washes, all reflect our respect for the originators of the jeans industry. Many of the men who built the jeans business were new Americans -- East European Jewish and Chinese immigrants escaping poverty and oppression in their homeland; not so different from today, then.

With all our love of the past, PRPS add innumerable levels of complexity and sophistication to the original, primitive process of making men’s denim wear.

The aged rips and stains that PRPS evoke in our original denim treatments, happened by chance. Such is life. In fact, the essence of what drove competition between jeans manufacturers –how to add durability to garments subjected to grueling conditions by strengthening stress points – also sprang from one fellow’s bright idea as he was tinkering at his workbench.

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The Cherub

PrPs Cherub

There’s quite a few PRPS tattoos around – and the image people most often choose is our symbol the wounded Cherub, getting about on crutches but still smiling.

That cherub, concept and execution, sprang from the nimble 2HB pencil of our Founder, Donwan Harrell, who happens to be an actual, real artist; not even the conceptual type who can blow your mind without you understanding what they’re saying, but the old-school type of artist, an actual guy who can sit down anywhere with some lead and a pad, and make the page jump alive with his vision.

Though already a leading designer, finding a logo for the new PRPS brand, a very personal project for Harrell, was more challenging than usual. As it so often does, his mind turned to vintage cars, particularly Nascar’s daring ’69 Daytona, so wildly innovative that it proved impossible to drive on regular streets and soon became extinct. But its protuberant aerodynamic oblong rear “wing,” designed to slow air drag, continued to intrigue fans. Something about the wing’s stubborn panache echoed through to Harrell as a resilient winged cherub. We all have an angelic side, but sometimes circumstances invite the demon in us to step forward. Yet though it’s tested, even sometimes overshadowed, that inner angel still hangs on in there – bruised but not broken, as our Motto says.

But even beyond the racecars, the Cherub expresses our core beliefs – perfectionism, persistence, and purpose. Admiring the way its makers had adapted household rivets to fix the pockets of some ancient jeans, Donwan noted, “It’s more valuable bruised but present than when it was crisp and new. Just like the human spirit...and our Cherub.”

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