Jeans made to measure, and to last

A small company creates jeans from scratch, using high-quality denim

Finding a pair of jeans that fits perfectly is not an easy task. One solution is to have them custom made. A small firm in Prague called Patrik Diamant does just that and is trying to bring back part of the textile tradition that used be in this part of Europe.

Patrik Diamant has a showroom in Vinohrady, where customers can choose from several fabrics, colors of stitching, whether it has buttons or a zipper, pocket placement and other options. A series of measurements are made.

“We make bespoke jeans. My role is to talk with my client, and I, of course, make a pattern for jeans which is based on your measurements. Then I give this pattern to my colleague and she makes the jeans for a fitting,” Patrik Diamant said.

Once the jeans are sewn, there is a fitting to make minor adjustments. “Usually I make one fitting but sometimes I need to do the second one because I want to have the jeans perfect at the end,” he said.

A typical customer is an executive who wants to look good in the office on a casual Friday or an entrepreneur who owns his own business and wears jeans all day but wants to make a good impression.

Athletes also are good customers, as mass-produced jeans often aren't suited to muscular legs. “Everyone has a different shape,” he said.

Some people also want bespoke jeans so they can choose higher quality material that is normally found in shops.

One of the types of material he offers is called “selvage,” and it is much more durable than other denims on the market. It has to be imported from Japan, where companies have also been trying to revive jeans culture.

Selvedge is sometimes called self-edge, and that is because it is woven in a more time-consuming way and the edges are sewn so it can keep its shape better.

“Before the Second World War, selvedge denim was just normal. After this, people wanted more and more jeans, and producers had to change machines,” he said. But high output came at the expense of quality.

“Selvedge is something you can't usually come by. And if you look at the jeans you can see it. It is better. The denim will last longer. It will not change shape,” he said.

The custom-made jeans are a little more expensive than designer jeans, and if the client wants selvage denim, it is a little more still.

Both options are significantly more expensive than generic no-brand jeans from discount stores. “You can buy jeans for Kč 300 or Kč 400 from Asia. You can buy 10 pairs of jeans but they won't last long because the fabric is really cheap. My product is totally different and I focus on different people,” he said.

His jeans come with the brand name on buttons and fasteners, and now he is working on getting leather brand patches for the back, by the belt loops. Jeans used to commonly have these, but since the 1980s manufacturers have used a type of cardboard to simulate leather. It is another area where he wants to restore quality.

Diamant likes the jeans to be unique. Every so often he changes the fabric selection and the colors of threads so customers won't encounter each other in identical jeans. But the fabrics are always blue or black, which is traditional for jeans.

The actual creation of the jeans takes place locally. “I prefer to make them here if at all possible. I think people are getting used to looking for what is Czech-made,” he said, adding that there used to be a strong textile tradition in Czechoslovakia, but much of the work has moved overseas.

Without the effort of people they keep the traditions going, they may fade away. “I think there will be a huge problem in the future. There are no skilled people. There are no schools anymore for the textile industry,” he said.

So far, the small firm only makes jeans and does not do jackets or other types of trousers. In the future, the company hopes to expand and may branch out a bit, though.

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Patrik Diamant

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