Boy Bastiaens

grivec bros. identity

Dry denim refers to denim that hasn’t gone through any pre-washing process during its production. Which used to be the standard before jeans transformed from workwear to the most popular garment ever.
"Dry-Till-You-Die" (wear your unwashed jeans till the grave) is the motto of the twin brothers Roger and Marcel Grivec, sympathetic fellows, denim purists and owners since 1989 of Jeanspaleis, a leading Dutch jeansstore that their parents opened in 1976. Located in Chevremont, Kerkrade in the Province of Limburg in the southern part of the Netherlands.

The twins, who had acquired their practical skills and knowledge over many years of jeans trade and expert repair service, initially wanted to use 'Dry-Till-You-Die' also as the brandname for their new-to-develop dry denim line. But fell finally for the proposed angle of just using Grivec Bros. Chevremont. as a much better alternative.

In his research - looking for the product’s unique context - Boy Bastiaens bumped into the fact that the first jeans advertising in the Netherlands was published in the daily newspaper 'Het Limburgs Dagblad’ on February 1st in 1952. The anonymous 'cowboy jeans' were probably advertised as heavy duty workwear with the many miners in mind that used to live in South Limburg, the Dutch coal mining region based around Kerkrade which had become the largest mining town in Europe.

With close attention to choice of materials the Grivec Bros. logo is applied to the trims and labels. In a tribute to the lesser known jeans classics you‘ll find also ”13 star" buttons, which have their origin in US naval uniforms but were used too in the 1940's and 1950’s in US jeans because of short supply of materials. The style names refer to the region’s mining past: ‘Cool Pete’ is derived from ‘koelpiet’ (kolenpiet) which is Limburgian slang for ‘miner’. While ‘Hower’ is an ‘Americanized’ spelling of the Dutch name ‘houwer’ and also means ‘miner’.

The pattern of stitching on the back pockets of a pair of jeans, the arcuate, is the product's most significant branding element. Its purpose is to proclaim a difference at a very crowded marketplace. With so many jeans brands out there it is not easy to come up with an original design that is appealing. At first glance, the arcuate conceived and designed for the Grivec Bros. looks very simple. On close inspection, you can see that the upper part of the “single line triangle” is also the double seam of the back pocket mouth.

The Grivec Bros. jeans reflect the simple strength and quiet dignity of a dry denim in a classic cut with authentic details that sets them apart from other brands. Timeless and long lasting, yet echoing the voice of an era when denim work clothes served as the union uniform of the working class: the miner, the western horseman, the farmer and the railroad man amongst others. A time period in history which gave denim, for the first time, an identity.

goat drawings: Hans Rietveld
publicity photo: Sanne Linsen, art direction & photo editing: Boy Bastiaens


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