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Style + Design

The Only Thing You Need for the Road

It's the never-leave-home-without wardrobe staple: a pair of quintessentially cool all-American jeans. Fashion entrepreneurs Jamie Mazur and Sean Barron have perfected the look, with their bespoke, vintage-inspired Re/Done label. Siobhan Reid finds out what makes them tick. (Hint: It's got something to do with Japan and James Dean.)

These days Victoria’s Secret models are rocking Grandpa’s jeans, and looking damn good doing it. The people making it happen? Self-professed denim nerds Jamie Mazur and Sean Barron, co-founders of the L.A. label Re/Done, which deconstructs and resews vintage Levi’s into the covetable, curve-hugging looks you see on the backsides of A-listers like Miley Cyrus and Erin Wasson.

On their July 2014 launch day, the brand sold out all 50 pairs of reclaimed jeans in a matter of hours — and a year later the demand continues from around the globe. After all, if there’s one thing every woman, from Cape Town to London, needs in her wardrobe (not to mention travel carry-on), it’s a kick ass pair of jeans.

Mazur and Barron are all about reaffirming the all-American denim legacy with a global edge. Their inspiration? Homegrown road racer icons like Brando and James Dean, as well as places farther afield — such as Japan. “Japanese women own their personal style, whatever that may be, and Re/Done embraces that same spirit of individuality,” says Barron. "Everyone wants to wear his or her jeans differently, whether that’s with a flare, skinny leg, or high waist. We’re putting the personality back into denim with a super tailored experience.” It’s no wonder there’s a 1,200-name wait list for a pair.

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Did you ever think Re/Done would be so successful?

Sean: “In the world of denim, American jeans represent the ultimate in fashion and utility. Women and men all around the world look to America for ‘the look’, which really has nothing to do with fit—whether it be a super sexy and tight cut, or a boyfriend fit that sits off the hips—and everything to do with individual style. And that’s where Re/Done enters: we want to put personality back into jean wearing. You could wear them with a t-shirt or with a $5,000 blouse, but jeans should be like a white background onto which you can incorporate your own personal style."

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Why denim?

Jamie: “My entire life, I have been drawn to denim. I would wear jeans to school, to baseball practice, all the while urging my mother not to wash them, since I liked them beaten up. When I got into my late teens, I realized my passion for denim. Everyone I looked up to in those days wore Levi’s, from James Dean, to Marlon Brando, the Rolling Stones, and of course, Steve McQueen, who would wear a white tee and the 501’s while riding around on his motorcycle. My coolest girlfriend was always wearing vintage Levi’s that she’d tailored, and I’d be thinking, ‘man, those are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.’"

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Any challenges?

Sean: “Levi 501s are historically men’s jeans. The hardest problem to solve was how to make the jeans fit a women’s body.”

Jamie: “Our jean designer is a mad scientist, a jean historian. I sit with him and talk about the indigo and the dying process, and how the different treatments affect the way the jeans break in.”

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Where do you look for inspiration?

Jamie: “We just got back from Tokyo, where we had a launch party. I came across a lot stores that sell super rare, raw Levi’s denim from the 1940s and 50s—even styles that have the ‘hidden rivets.’ It was super cool to see people who still appreciate that kind of stuff.”

Sean: “In Japan, people are fully committed to their fashion, whatever their look may be. I love that.”

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Did you make any other cool discoveries in Japan?

Jamie: “My brother’s a foodie. After experiencing the fish auction at the market, we stopped for sushi at this tiny restaurant that looked like a hot dog stand, with only four places to sit. It was 7:30 AM, we were so jet-lagged, but there was my brother, drinking craft beer and eating this incredible sushi with the biggest smile on his face. And next door was a restaurant selling homemade ramen. So naturally, we had to try that after.”

Sean: “I had the most amazing meal at this one lunchtime sushi bar. The food was spectacularly presented, and super inventive, but Westerner-friendly, as well. There was this one dish we couldn’t eat though: it was the head of the fish ground into mush—like fish brain pâté. I put my chopstick in to test it, but I couldn’t bring myself to put it in my mouth."

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So what’s next?

Sean: “One of Levi’s main design studios is in Amsterdam—and I think there is an untapped market for Re/Done there. So many Danish girls sport Levi jeans already. We’d love to see them in our denim."

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If you weren’t working, what would you be doing?

Jamie: “I have a friend who goes on these motorcycle trips across South America. It’s like four guys on their bikes with no wives, and no cellphones. They just cruise across South America for weeks.”

Sean: “It’s dangerous and a pretty big commitment physically and time-wise, but I would love to go heli-skiing in the Himalayas.”

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Where do you go to escape the daily grind?

Sean: “My favorite place is Bali. Going to Bali is such a unique, and deeply spiritual experience. If you can, I’d definitely recommend staying at an Aman Resort.”

Jamie: “I spend a lot of time in Brazil, because my wife (Victoria Secret model, Alessandra Ambrosio) is Brazilian. We have a place in Florianopolis, where we spend about a month a year. The whole island is surrounded by beaches, but also has a vibrant downtown area where there are great fish restaurants and other cool hangout spots.”

What do you never leave home without?

What do you never leave home without?

Jamie: “I only ever want to wear jeans, even in 90 degree heat. I’ll be on a summer trip and be like, ‘why did I bring 5 pairs of jeans and boots?’ I guess you could say I’m not really a shorts kind of guy.”

Sean: “My wife hates them, but I always pack black Addidas shorts, because that’s my zone of comfort. Those shorts are for all activities. I’m also very into sneakers of this decade, such as Air Jordans. Right now, I’m wearing a hot pink pair. I’m serious, I’ll send you a photo.”

Jamie: “I only ever want to wear jeans, even in 90 degree heat. I’ll be on a summer trip and be like, ‘why did I bring 5 pairs of jeans and boots?’ I guess you could say I’m not really a shorts kind of guy.”

Sean: “My wife hates them, but I always pack black Addidas shorts, because that’s my zone of comfort. Those shorts are for all activities. I’m also very into sneakers of this decade, such as Air Jordans. Right now, I’m wearing a hot pink pair. I’m serious, I’ll send you a photo.”