|Purposeful - Purple Products. Prps|
In our day and age, with the information overload, the unlimited accessibility of data through the WWW, one is not used to not finding information on any given subject. When we were first introduced to Prps by one of our satellites, the information provided to us was very scarce: African cotton, Japanese manufacturing, vintage finishes...
Further inquiries and a web-based checkup resulted in nothing other than rumours, speculation, and more questions. Sure enough, this situation triggered our instincts to find out what Prps was all about.
A number of emails were sent, phonecalls were made - and finally our search ended with a visit to Prps' UK/Europe distributor in West London. After an in-depth conversation which served as the basis for our feature, we also took some pieces to the streets of London and New York for heavy duty testing. Not only did the denim exceed all of our expectations, the feedback we received was 110% positive.
There are still a number of facts that will remain blurred, but there is no need to say anything further...
(Some) Background Information
Indigofera who represent Prps in the UK and Europe has its offices in what could be called a Mecca for innovative, original and independent small businesses in Ladbroke Grove - West London. After a warm welcome (and a cold beer) by Abby and Nick - it was then to a preview of one of the most impressive collections we have seen for many a year. Described by Abby as 'classic utility pieces', the collection comprises of classically cut over-dyed western style shirts, hand printed tees, detailed denim - distressed, and quite frankly disturbed looking chinos, which would have scared the life out of a preppy at 50 paces!
No wonder the logo depicts a cherub, bent over leaning on one crutch displaying the phrase 'Bruised Never Broken' on it - perfectly describing the fact each garment goes through a very rigorous process, but never looses it's tough quality and durability. The designer Donwan Harrel (ex-Nike), a denim addict and aficionado, insisted on using the finest organic cotton from Zimbabwe, then shipping it to Japan for them to be hand finished at the family-run mill known for making 'savagely' good denim.
The name Prps is shorthand for 'Purpose', which seems entirely apt considering the amount of time and effort devoted to the purpose of delivering premium and unique products. It also stands for 'Purple Products' - the brand colour, as seen on their selvedge seams, fly buttons, and all of their packaging.
Abby commented that Donwan Harrel: 'Draws information from very classic shapes', this being most evident in the indigo five-pocket selvedge seam - straight cut, and with denim which could out-live the wearer. But the attention to detail is what really makes Prps stand out. There is the camo pocket lining, the hand printed internal pocket logo, and the different coloured (5!) fly buttons - all first-rate.
Materials, Cuts, Road Test
Only organic vegetable-based dyes are used - the clothes are dried in the sun on washing lines, which really gives an original look - something not seen since the orginal Levis capital 'E' series - in particular the early 60s version. The stitching on Prps jeans is robust, and yet not overly obvious so as not to detract from the overall vintage look. Our bleached-out pair used for the road test have become so comfortable you hardly know they're on. They're not cut so obscenely low so that everyone gets an eye-full of rear cleavage each time you bend over - which is a good thing. They fit perfectly - both in waist and leg length, which is another revelation - and testimony to Mr Harrell's indepth knowledge of top quality products - taking in the best influences he has experienced over the years.
The second pair we took to the streets was the unfinished/classic style jean. Even though it's a heavy-weight denim, the pants feel feather-light and if it wasn't for the raw state of the fabric, one could believe that they have been in one's closet (and been worn) for ages. As with all of Prps' pieces, this model, too, has so many details, other denim-wearers will shy away in dark alleys when you pass them. The black button and rivets alone set them apart from the masses of denim on the market...
The whole Spring/Summer collection is top draw - bleach splattered Chinos are a particular favourite, as well as the accompanying jacket. The western style and denim shirts are clinical in cut and colour - it would be difficult to isolate one style of jean because they all have something unique to offer, depending on your taste. If you can find this label, then be quick because it is in very limited supply: so much so that the selvedge seam jeans are individually numbered.
Text: Adrian JW Darby, March 2005
Product shots: Jörg | Showroom shots: Adey
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