All of you that know PRPS jeans, are, of course familiar with their unique “double folded” back pockets on their jeans. We asked Donwan Harrell, owner and creator of PRPS to explain to us, how and why he came to create this distinctive back pocket detail:
“Historically speaking, the folded back pocket was just a concept to separate myself from the flock of embroidered back pockets that were in the market in 2002. A point of difference. The uniqueness of ours is the shadow effect of the fold, depending on the denim used and amount of pressure you apply to the fold when sanding brings out the best of its beauty.”
It’s such a small detail, if you want to look at it this way, but it makes all the difference in the (denim) world! I love wearing my PRPS men’s jeans, and it is amazing how many people recognize them just by looking at the pockets, because I usually wear a belt, so the PRPS label isn’t even showing. It’s the back pockets that speak for themselves.
You can buy PRPS, PRPS Noir, and PRPS Goods & Co. jeans on their website.
The Commonwealth Times - VCU's independent student press
One VCU alumnus has made his way to the top of the fashion world, working for internationally recognized clothing brands and designing his own jeans for A-list celebrities.
With opportunities coming in from all directions, Donwan Harrell, founder and director of the denim line “Prps” was recently selected to design the 125th Anniversary Collection for Lee Denim.
During high school, Harrell wanted to become a comic book artist. He attended a few comic book conventions and interviewed with artists at local universities, but people who viewed his work felt it qualified more for fine art instead of comic strips. At this time, Harrell was also helping his mother sew garments to sell at the flea market. When comic art was not going the way Harrell wanted, his mother advised him to study something that came naturally to him: fashion.
We live in an age of endless options, where nearly anything is possible. And the notion that personal style is contingent upon purchasing high-priced designer goods has been all but squashed thanks to democratic retailers like Gap, Uniqlo, and Zara. But while many brands look to cut corners in order to increase profit margins, Donwan Harrell of Prps is moving in another direction. He introduced a specialized division of his label, Prps Noir, that traffics in the world of handcrafted denim — with an eyebrow-raising price tag attached. A pair of these jeans will set you back four figures, topping off at around $1,200. But is it worth it? We called Harrell to talk about his Bentley of denim.
Harrell had just returned from Qatar when we reached him. "The most beautiful, serene place I've ever been in my entire life," he enthused. In fact, Harrell has a deep reserve of general excitement, on display most prominently when he's talking jeans. We cut right to the chase to ask what, exactly, justifies the price of his hyper-expensive denim. "Listen, Prps Noir is for a specific customer," he says. "Someone who appreciates certain details they can't find elsewhere, and that the average consumer wouldn't necessarily wear."
The designer then ticked off several reasons why Noir can reach upwards of a thousand dollars. Scarcity is, of course, one factor — there are only about 15 of each style produced, with every pair being cut and sewn by hand in Japan. Harrell also fills each pair with details that tap into the small but serious world of denimheads — then he takes things a step further. "There are a lot of denim geeks out there," he says, but doesn't count himself among them. "They're aware of all the details — but a denim geek wants to keep things pure. I don't want to keep denim the same, I'm looking to push the envelope."
Take the inside back yoke of a pair of Prps Noir jeans, which uses a replica of wabash fabric, based on cloth made with an indigo dyeing technique that first gained popularity in 1900s Japan. Or the inside fly, which is covered with selvedge fabric, something you wouldn't find in your average off-the-rack pair. From start to finish, a pair of Noir jeans take four whole days, with the wash taking up three of them: a day each for the wet, dry, and finishing processes. Hardware, including buttons and shanks, is soaked in paint thinner to give an authentically distressed look. In other words, there's no detail (including the satin-stitched back pocket rivets) that hasn't been injected with some luxurious twist.
In the end, Harrell wants to create something different, as much for himself as for his customer. "I've been making jeans for the past 15 years or so, and I've learned all these different techniques but haven't necessarily been able to use them," he says. This is a chance for him to push himself, and, he notes, there is a responsive customer scooping up the end product.
So is it worth the price? Suddenly, that becomes a highly personal question, hinging on the psychology of why some people save up for a pair of Prada shoes while others tread around in worn Converse. Plus, the bar could always be set higher. "I wouldn't even know how to surpass $1,200," Harrell says, laughing. "But I saw some denim that was woven through with cashmere recently, so you never know."
Prps Noir is available at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.