Denim Tears Drops Levi’s at PROCELL before taking on the Met
It’s fitting that Denim Tears biggest downfall to date is arguably her remixed Levi’s jeans. Recycled denim, printed or sewn with puffed cotton crown shapes, has been a smash hit since its launch in January 2020, and it’s just been re-released to commemorate a very special occasion.
See, Denim Tears is going to be part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s In America when it opens on September 18.
The exhibition celebrates 100 years of American fashion by setting the stage for various designers with distinct perspectives on what it means to be – and dress – American today, including Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Andre Walker , Bode, Dapper Dan, Rick Owens, Savage x Fenty and Off-White ™, to name a few.
Tremaine Emory, founder of Denim Tears, is a particularly worthy selection.
“The Costume Institute curators emailed me to include the [Denim Tears Levi’s jeans and jacket] and Tyson Beckford Sweater, ”Emory explained to Highsnobiety. “I told them I was going to write, or at least guide, the copy they attach to them,” to retain ownership of Denim Tears’ story.
What makes Denim Tears bespoke Levi’s ($ 295) so desirable? Celeb cosigns, in part, but also the unmistakable appeal of reliable, well-worn jeans. Each is individually sourced from Levi’s Old Archive, a massive collection of distressed denim garments, inspected, washed, repaired and finally adorned with the cotton crown print, hand-applied in Los Angeles. Oh, and all jeans are made in America between the 80s and 90s.
“The most common reading error [of my work] it’s that I sell black traumas, ”Emory continued. “When, really, I tell stories. Pain is a story, good is a story. You don’t even have to buy all of these to participate. You can find out about my jeans or google ‘slavery’ and listen to the 1619 Podcast. Either way, it works for me, that’s the whole point. “
“I don’t sell trauma, I use consumerism to tell a story. Very different thing.”
This September 11th activation – which Emory calls a “celebration” of his inclusion in The Met – at hip vintage boutique PROCELL also includes limited denim hats ($ 45), themed T-shirts ($ 55), and a Another Tyson series from Denim Tears Beckford Sweater ($ 275), a riff on the iconic black male model’s all-American polo campaigns, and Ralph’s flag sweaters. The chunky knits highlight an iteration of the American flag inspired by Marcus Garvey’s Pan-African flag, completed with a stitched “DT” in place of the obvious branding.
“I’ve been doing charity with PROCELL for four years,” Emory said. “PROCELL is, like, one of those little New York vignettes that I love and it feels good to be here. It feels less gentrified than what happens in Soho. There is grain here!”
The pop-up also sees a limited launch of Denim Tears’ new ASICS collaboration.
The jeans – an American-made collaboration with the quintessential American denim brand – and sweaters are a testament to Emory’s skill at filtering Americana tropes through her distinctly stylish lens, much like her work for Stüssy.
The Met exhibit is well deserved, reaffirming Emory’s place in the designer pantheon with something to say about the American experience. It is high time the country started to listen.
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