Worldview: The Dye Issue

by François Girbaud

Don’t Call Me For A Teenie Weenie Petit Mini

I can’t escape it! Every time it’s always this fucking blue magic color somewhere—this indigo molecule—and I have always been fascinated by it. And I am quite fascinated these days, because I know that we can react indigo with the ozone, separating the oxygen and hydrogen. Wahoo! We know we can make jeans without water. And we know the next war will be water. Consider the results of the stone wash: We make pollution, we created a monster, but we don’t have to destroy jeans because of this.

The “air” is still free for the moment. I can’t imagine a jeans company saying tomorrow: “Okay, I want to use more energy, I want to use more water, I want to use more chemical products, I want to kill the people in the factory,” because all this causes disease and there is no cure for these people. And we have to say, “Okay, we invented that.” At the time, no one knew that. Today we know. And I think that the new generation of consumer needs to understand that, and to pass along the message. I’m shaking hands everywhere I go in Bangladesh or in South America, and I’m saying, I’m here!

We are starting to realize that everybody is breathing the same air and using the same water. And that’s important—we are learning from catastrophe and ancestry. Okay, we did what we did then and we had no conscience, but now we know. We cannot do that. You cannot harm people just because it’s convenient. It’s convenient that I have nice jeans? That’s ridiculous. And this new level of concern is coming, it’s coming, it’s coming. I am sure about that.

And now I’m in L.A. It’s a little town anywhere you go, everybody knows everybody and I know everybody and everybody knows me. But today I’m looking at L.A. and the market surprises me. This market is skinny. You have to be skinny, super skinny, skinny ankle, skinny boyfriend, skinny... and I say, “Shit! It is really boring!”

The merchandise is all the same, people using stretch and only stretch...and hey, okay, I understand, but I worked with stretch in 1980 when I started to make jeans without denim.

And I see the possibility here. It’s like the time Adriano [Goldschmied] and Sam [Ku] asked me to do “Rebel Not Criminal”in their show. They said,“You are the guy who could talk more than twenty minutes about your jeans.” It’s been forty years now, and I am still talking. Nobody ever listens at the beginning of a new idea. I want to make something completely different. It’s no longer the time for me to talk; I want to act.

And so I decided to create something else. I started to work and move my ass to California. I decided to make a collection, Made in the U.S.A., again like in the old days (When I started in 1964, jeans were made at the Blue Bell Plant in Greensboro, N.C.). Everything is here to create a new trend. I have something to share with the community. Not before September (nobody needs me for a skinny teenie weenie petit mini), but I’ll be ready soon. In the ’60s and ’70s, our look was about history, politics, and punk; today people are only worried for the look. It’s not enough. Change the look, but change something else too.

Written by François Girbaud