AG Denim: The story behind the brand we love.
In 2000, denim manufacturing icon Yul Ku and "the godfather of denim', Adriano Goldschmeid partnered together to form a new heavy hitter in the denim industry. Mr. Goldschmeid was the designer for succesful brands such as Diesel and Replay. Mr Ku was the man behind the success of brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap and J.Crew, just to name a few. So, it's not a surprise really that they were able to get off to a very good start. The rough patch came when the two decided amicably to part ways in 2004, with Mr. Ku buying out the business. While this was a good thing for them, the customers that had jumped on board from the start were wary about Goldschmeid's departure. Without the creativity the fashion designer brought to the partnership, could the functionable Ku continue the success?
As a company they strugggled and fought their way through not only the brand issues that came up but also the US economic issues which were in full swing at that time. Then, it all turned around. Enter Samuel Ku, the son of Mr. Ku, an economic graduate from the University of California. While Samuel had been working for the company for quite some time, it was now his turn to try and bridge the gap as Creative Director between the wary customer base and the the company. Success. With Samuel at the helm, the first ever version of the boyfriend jean was created with a girls body in mind. Pure genius. The brand once again rose to the top.
So how do they do it? What makes them so special?
AG is manufactured start to finish in South Gate, California in their own factory. This means that they have control over the entire process. This is something they take seriously. Many other brands have to do each step at a different factory, which can lead to error and loss of detail. AG estimates that for a normal brand the sample is made at 95-100% quality, but their production quality dips down to 80% due to loss of control. Where as with AG, their samples are produced at 80-85% quality while their production quality remains close to or at 100%. That's saying a whole lot of something when you are offering a premium denim.
The vast majority of us are interested in the fit and the wash of denim. At AG, they are too. As evidenced by their unique adaptation of the boyfriend jean, or their adjustment of the rise of a jean to help those of us who don't want to wear a mom jean but also do not want to show off our skivvies...from their laser burning technique they employ to do distressing, or the ozone generating machine they use to wash down color, it'a truly all about the fit and wash.
Don't think that just becasue they focus on all of that they don't focus on the do-good portion too... in 2010, they implemented Ozone Technology which reduced their water consumption as a factory by 50%. They use eco-conscious fibres, and are socailly active, contributing to water, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. They also work closely with their suppliers to ensure that all of them adhere to and agree with the AG Code of Conduct that prohibits suppliers from engaging in slavery or human trafficking.
So, why should you buy AG Jeans? Before writing this I would have told you because they fit amazingly well, they don't lose shape like almost all other denim brands I have tried and they look great. Now, I would say all of the above then add because they are a great company. A father and son duo who decided to make an exceptional product and fought through the rough times to come out on top. I like family businesses... it's one of my many soft spots.