Here's some bad new for denim companies: Combatant Gentlemen is getting into the jeans game. The dynamic young brand, which is partially owned by Las Vegas footwear giant Zappos.com and specializes in lowering prices by bringing down overhead, is about to release its first pair of selvedge jeans. The new pants mark both a milestone for the company and for the raw denim movement, which gained momentum based on the value proposition posed by more expensive but significantly longer lasting and higher quality jeans. The new equation? Paying less for more.
The major selling point of the new jeans is that they're made from high quality Japanese denim. Combatant takes great pride in sourcing – Vishaal Melwani says he cares more about supply chains than branding – and the material is stiff without being uncomfortable and comes in several appealing, simple colors. There are no washes and very few details. There isn't even any brand-identifying back pocket stitching. These jeans are just jeans, which is absolutely fine – especially when Northern Denim Co., which sources denim nearby, is charging $355 per pair, some $290 over Combatant's $60 price tag.
The catch – yes, there is a catch – is that the jeans, which fit a bit more loosely over the thighs and in the seat, are a bit wide at the base. That means that anyone who buys them is likely going to want to have them tailored. This isn't a problem so much as it is a built in cost. Rather than thinking of these as $60 jeans you ordered online, think of them as $80 custom-fit jeans you bought off your local tailor. The process is pain free and the results will impress you, especially if you bring along your favorite pair of shoes and have the jeans rebuilt around them.
Quality jeans are, after all, only as good as the fit. By not chasing the mirage that is universal fit, Combatant is basically proposing a new way to shop for jeans: Buy something basic and well made then have it fixed so that it is basic and custom made. That's a great proposition and exciting idea for every man walking around on non-statistically average legs. [Combatant Gentlemen jeans will be available in early June; combatgent.com]