EXCLUSIVE WORLD BLOG LAUNCH
RESEARCH BY ROBERT BOYER
TEXT BY DAN HASBY-OLIVER
We are both excited to have the exclusive world blog launch on The West is Dead, an incredible ethical denim brand hailing from the USA. The brands ethical background dates back to the 1880s when the American Government culled millions of bison to starve the Plains Indians. This sanctioned mass-killing all but ensured the extinction of the animals as well as killed thousands of Native Americans. As a result, the Wild West of America is devoid of bison – The West is Dead – and every item of clothing bought funds the preservation of the land, but more of that in a bit.
The West is Dead gives an authentic nod towards the quality craftsmanship of American brands, evident in some more famous jean labels. Its focus is on the highest available quality of fabrics and hardware that are also earth-friendly. I have seen a real trend this season of ethically lead labels and brands, more so evident at London Fashion Week with the Estethica exhibition.
The fit and designs available in this launch collection are incredibly contemporary and fashion forward. I think this really differentiates itself from many ethical brands which focus on the products foundations rather than the customer. However now brands, like The West is Dead, are wising up to consumer demands and leaving traditional ethical clothing long behind. Each piece is also designed in a way that buyers can see, feel and notice the extra time that has gone into producing the collection. With this in mind, and to give consumers the ‘welcome to the club’ feel that Dior Homme does with its seam detailing, 4 rivets on a back pocket may spell out the brand name or a quote from film maker Charlie Russell stitched inside a sleeve.
Produced in Los Angeles, The West is Dead was begun by Kaelen McCrane and Will Cheng who made the choice to fight for what is left. But that’s not the only great bit. For this brand has partnered with 53 Native American tribes – all who have historically been enemies – to bring back the stock of bison to normal levels. The label will partner each year with organizations who they feel embody their beliefs and goals in protecting and restoring ‘the wild west’. By donating a percentage of their profits to these organizations but also creating public awareness, they – and I – hope they achieve their goals.
We absolutely love this brand, not just for its incredible garments including the washed slim legged jeans or the limited edition chambre shirts (limited as a small number of the vintage buttons were found in a barrel in a dead-stock warehouse) but because of the ethical message. We are all aware of the loss of identity, heritage and history in our individual countries as well as fast fashion taking away the ethos behind well made brands. By trying to encompass everybody – equality – we have forgotten our own sense of self whether it be in a political way or just by accident. Further, fast fashion has smothered labels who have a story and a cause but The West is Dead aims to revive both of these and in doing so helps nature too.