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Denim Blunders, Reflections and General Nonsense.

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2 minutes ago, ecsong187 said:

Not sure. I work construction so all my jeans get beat up very fast. Hahaha 

I know just what you are saying then. The entire aging process is accelerated in those conditions. Would be cool to post photos of your favorite “fade”.

Its a bold sacrifice to wear high end denim on the construction site. You must be Union to afford the cost...haha.

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It's much harder to dress up cuffed jeans than hemmed jeans IMHO, and it gets even harder as they get more faded.

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Here's a great blog post from Indigo Shrimp on the subject of Instagram/social media "influencers."

I find the whole "influencer" thing extremely troubling and inauthentic, to me what's great about formats like internet forums is being able to get feedback on things pertaining to a hobby via real users and their experiences rather than advertisers. "Influencers" kill the authenticity because they blur the line between honest impressions and advertisement, in addition to generally being pretty tacky and annoying.

As usual, Mike is one of the stand-up guys in our community and I've always felt like he has a lot of integrity.

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Posted (edited)

Agree @Cold Summer

To me it's fairly obvious when an influencer is posting on IG as a hobby versus for monetary gain. I think, too, that when something becomes monetised it loses all authenticity. Meaning, influencers tend to shill for any brand that pays or provides free goods and thus honest representation are missing. There are, of course, those influencers that genuinely only post pics of brands they support, but it seems that far too many push shitty brands because they were paid to do so. Content matters and if an influencer is doing the same lay flat, or pic of themself shilling for some whiskey brand then i've lost interest. Very few influencers actually come up with unique content with most being mediocre at best.

Edited by ColonelAngus

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Posted (edited)

I've got a long list of IG users who have messaged me asking for free product to do a "review", and when I refuse they give me a list of other stores and brands which have given them free product so they can post about it.  The first few times the list was shocking, but now I realize we're literally one of the only denim based businesses that doesn't give away free product for social media press.   I would check their past Instagram posts and none had been tagged as an "#ad" and no mention of free product was ever made.  With many of the accounts it's quite obvious who's payroll they're on, but with most the average Instagram follower would have zero idea that these guys are basically writing ads for a brand or retailer.

The list of users which have demanded free product from us is so long that it would be easier for me to list the well known denim IG accounts who haven't requested free product than the ones which have.   

Edited by kiya

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@kiya

Fascinating.

I am not familiar with IG and these recent insights remove any impetus I might have had.

It makes me appreciate this forum even more.

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14 minutes ago, kiya said:

The list of users which have demanded free product from us is so long that it would be easier for me to list the well known denim IG accounts who haven't requested free product than the ones which have.   

It's mind boggling to me that a lot of IG influencers feel entitled to free stuff. I'd have far more respect for an influencer that posts pics of brands that he/she paid for over someone who solicited free goods

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, ColonelAngus said:

It's mind boggling to me that a lot of IG influencers feel entitled to free stuff. I'd have far more respect for an influencer that posts pics of brands that he/she paid for over someone who solicited free goods

Quite a few of the guys who messaged me went from "give me free jeans (or a belt, or shirt, etc.) so I can do a review" to very aggressive quickly as soon as I explained that we don't give out free product.  It made me think that they truly must not care about their own reputation as if the screenshots of these conversations were posted to Sufu or reddit they'd be quite embarrassed.  

Edited by kiya

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Crazy stuff Kiya, thanks for sharing.

I hate to think stores like Self Edge are being pressured to give out free stuff to people on Instagram. Most, if not all, such stores operate on slim profit margins and it's hard for me to believe that many can afford to do stuff like hand out expensive product for free.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Cold Summer said:

Crazy stuff Kiya, thanks for sharing.

I hate to think stores like Self Edge are being pressured to give out free stuff to people on Instagram. Most, if not all, such stores operate on slim profit margins and it's hard for me to believe that many can afford to do stuff like hand out expensive product for free.

I believe that 95% of the stores (and brands) in this scene can definitely afford to give away a free jean or jacket every now and then.  You have to think the store is giving away the product at their cost and is adding the cost of the item to their monthly expenses on "marketing" which is a deductible expense, it's a very small price to pay considering what advertising costs these days.  And with brands the cost of giving away product is even less due to them being the manufacturer.  For us it's more about the idea of the entire system of giving influencers product for placement and not about the costs associated with it.  

I love things that grow organically, and giving away product to every imaginable person on IG who posts "adjusting my cuff" photos is not only super corny but the antithesis of growing organically.   

Edited by kiya

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That makes sense. What I like about Instagram is the focus on photos (which makes sense for this hobby), but I'm tired of the cliche poses and tropes that all seem cliche at this point.

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 yeah, the adjusting my cuff pose is so played out. It wouldn't be as bad if it was just one person doing it but there's this tendency for other IG users to copy, rinse and repeat the same boring ideas. On the one hand, I like that there's a denim community that seem to support one another and the hobby. On the other hand, there are those that are clearly in it for personal gain and nothing else.

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I'm going through a process of clearing a lot of denim related content from my feed as, let's be honest a hell of a lot of it is very similar. Also it's acts an enabler, must get that new shirt, tee, sweat, pair of jeans.....

This forum and to a much lesser extent Denimbro, is where I get my 'denim  community' fix and most useful knowledge and feedback. 

I won't name or attempt to troll but there are users that have gone from being genuine enthusiasts and learning about stuff on here that have  now crossed the line to believing they are self created expert's and wholly embrassed the social media frenzy around denim. 

For me this IG hype is killing my genuine love and intrest in this niche hobby/intrest. 

As for the turn up shots..... 

Who even adjusts their turn ups that often let alone photo it! Mate, I don't wash my jeans that much and hang em up from the belt loops....the turn ups don't even move and certainly don't need regular adjustment that requires documenting.

 

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That day johanmalik80 posted about which shampoo he uses...I lost my respect for that dude

(Okay probably even before)

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Posted (edited)

@Geeman

Have you thought about just stopping the IG habit? 

I have never been on IG and I am happy as a Clam and every moment of my life is unicorns, rainbows and JP denim. (Not neccessarily in that order.)

Edited by Pedro

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As one working in marketing I'm not against using influencers, it can be a good choice for both parties. I like the synergy effect of it, how two brands can strengthen each other. But the entire idea hinges on both parties believing in what the other part stand for. I would never hire an influencer that doesn't fit what I want to convey, which includes transparency of it being a promotion in the ads. Anything else only risks hurting my company's image, which takes so much longer to repair. Everything has to match or it's simply not worth it.

On another note, I'm surprised that some influencers seeks out stores and even dares to throw it in your face that other companies have given them freebies when they get a 'no'. So unprofessional it makes me cringe. It's like they don't realize that they're monetizing their personal brand.

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1 hour ago, Pedro said:

@Geeman

Have you thought about just stopping the IG habit? 

I have never been on IG and I am happy as a Clam and every moment of my life is unicorns, rainbows and JP denim. (Not neccessarily in that order.)

Your an inspiration. ... you could say an influencer :D

Where to cop JP denim rainbow coloured unicorns?

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F**K Instagram! :wacko2:

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Posted (edited)

For the sake of the article, which I tried to write in the form of a balanced essay, I considered both sides of the argument. Here are some extra thoughts I didn't include in the article which you guys might have an opinion on... 

 

Like I mentioned, influencers have always existed, on this forum too, before the days of IG. 

 

My experience with this type of 'role' is a very gradual one. When I first started doing reviews on freebies a decade ago, I was a poor university student who had little inclination to reflect on the ethics of what I was doing. My teenage mind thought: "free shit, cool!" 

 

As I got going with the blog, I told myself it was okay to take freebies because the feedback to me from makers or brands was that my reviews did help then with launching their brands or products, most became close digital friends and repeat blog guests over the years. I came to really enjoy helping young and small makers launch their brands (mostly leather workers at that point). 

 

In the past couple of years I've been approached by some Japanese shops and denim brands. Nowadays, as a white collared professional, TBH a few hundred bucks here and there is nothing to me. Not trying to humble brag: the truth of the matter is, doing reviews take up a lot of my spare time, and time is my most precious asset - if I were to charge my hourly rate at work, only reviewing freebie Japanese leather jackets would be 'worth' my time. 

 

What I'm trying to say is that it's not the free clothes that is attractive for me as far as sponsorships and collaborations are concerned. It's the fact that I've built the brand of my blog to the point that the Japanese are taking notice. It's a sense of pride and recognition that is important to me now, and free clothes or money can't buy that. I will never accept monetary payment - which a handful of guys with huge IG accounts will now demand. You can prob guess who they are. 

 

I know this 'how much is my time worth' perspective is somewhat narrow and doesn't encompass all the ethical issues here. 

 

Regarding asking for freebies: Most blogs, including my own, will regularly canvas the scene, if you like, to see if there are brands or makers who want to collaborate. That's just how blogs are run nowadays. When I ask, I don't get demanding or aggressive. But I know some guys get very upset if rejected. Some people's livelihood depends on it (not so much in this hobby) , and this type of stuff can get intense for sure. 

 

Regarding reviewing lower tier brands. I do believe that I (and most of us who are personalities of sorts here on SuFu) partly have a responsibility to explore all different tiers of the hobby and help out young/new comers to the industry, if we gel with their philosophy. I think this is part of what a senior hobbyist needs to do to give back to the community and freshen themselves up. IMO it's no good that note experienced dudes are just sticking with two or three brands. I've come to trust a lot of guys here over the years, but I don't need to be told year after year that Roy is cool, again. As much as the modern influencers might annoy some of you guys here, they do broaden our hobby in ways that this forum never could - they speak the digital language that is bridging our hobby with the mainstream. 

 

Re: the relationship between shops and influencers nowadays. I sense a degree of discomfort, as the power to lead and influence has been further decentralised. No doubt shop owners would like to be in the directors chair more often, but with modern media that is increasingly not the case. Just as people should maintain a healthy skepticism of people who advertise, the same should apply to shops who's main mission is to sell us something. Shops and brands are rarely our true friends - hence why a community like this is important, and influencers blur the boundaries here, which of course is uncomfortable for hobbyists. 

 

At the end of the day, the greater denim community lives on platforms like IG and reddit. We have to get comfortable with that. If we can't adapt now, how will we survive the next generation of technologies and platforms?

 

 

Edited by mikecch

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The enabling is what keeps me away from IG most of the time. I check out certain brand hashtags just to see what’s out there but the reality is that I’m not made of money and can’t afford to buy all the stuff I come across. It’s fun to check out every now and again but I don’t exactly miss it either if I’m not browsing the internet 

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Another point that I made earlier is that when something becomes monetized or received as a freebie objective reviews become less frequent. When I had an IG a few years back I only posted pics of brands I owned, which wasn’t much. As I tried other brands over time I learned which ones were decent quality and which ones to avoid. Had I known about the lack of quality with certain crappy brands I likely wouldn’t have made posts about them. At the time it was mainly pics of me saying, ‘hey, look what I bought.’ My point being, I know it’s probably unlikely an influencer will post honest reviews of product as IG is only about promoting stuff rather than saying something sucks. There are some YouTube vids that I watch where the person is at least honest about their reviews— if something sucks they’ll say so.

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Posted (edited)

I am really late to this whole party of IG and Influencers. Reading @mikecch above I at first thought he has a rather inflated opinion of himself and his opinions BUT the fact these brands pay him is good evidence people actually put value in what he says. 

What a wild concept to me. 

I am exclusive to SugarCane based on each item description from the Brand which are backed up by photos. Why would anyone take the advice of a guy who gets monetary gain about the product he is shilling? It lacks authenticity. Its not real...its fiction. Its like reading comparisons of motorcycles in various publications, they never offer criticisms but only cheerleading. That being said, mike is just an advertiser...no ill will mike. 

BTW Buddy. Would you do a write-up for Aero Leather in a Size 44 Brown Horsehide Longshoreman with the sheerling lining and then sell it to me at a big discount?

Spread the Wealth  ;-)

 

Edited by Pedro

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^^

that's why I like forums. You at least get honest feedback about brands and businesses that you otherwise wouldn’t get from IG.  

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I get that many of us here prefer how the forums worked back in the day. But I think nostalgia colours our memories. Sponsorship and 'shilling' didn't start with IG - it was here too, a decade ago. 

 

I think also, with complex social issues like this one, it's better to be flexible and think laterally. Some guys get very rigid with this type of stuff, and all it does is isolate the individual in the long term. Adapt or die, to put it bluntly. 

Some dudes don't like IG and reddit - certainly not perfect ecosystems by any measure - and not using such media probably does contribute to better life satisfaction and mental health in the long term. FOMO is real and toxic for sure. This forum is part of that too - I was able to enjoy my hobbies more the few years I wasn't reading SuFu. Just being happy with what I have and enjoying this hobby in a mindful way is something I'm still trying to master. 

However, if we really want to get immersed in this hobby, forums like this is no longer adequate IMO. IG offers vastly superior communication tools, for example, and allows much more efficient networking. For example, nowadays I can message brands and shops directly with a modern messaging system, plan projects, etc - this could not have happened if I only hung around here. 

 

Just to clarify: I don't get paid money for anything. 

Re: my opinion of myself - yep, totally, I like to upload my thoughts on the internet, for sure. But like a few others here, I've been into denim for a while, and I believe my opinions can be of value to others. I tend to be quite forward and challenging of others with my own perspectives too, which can be confronting for others - but, that is, authentically me. :)

Re: whether I'm an enthusiast or advertiser - feel free to read my blog and check out the content I've posted on this forum in the past years. See also the community events I've participated in or organised. I do believe I've contributed in an honest and meaningful way, but that is only my perspective. 

 

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In related news, Instagram is testing out hiding like counts:

https://www.cnet.com/news/instagram-is-now-hiding-photo-like-counts-in-australia/

"Following a similar test in Canada back in May, Instagram is testing the new approach with users in Australia. Under the new system, you can see how many likes your photos get, but your followers won't be able to. Similarly, you can't see how many likes other peoples' photos get. "

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Not a bad idea, you could get rid of the patch too, unless it’s doubling up as an additional belt loop (ie functional). They would be a logical evolution of the WW2 model, ie the WW3 model!

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There is absolutely no point to having rivets on 95% of all jeans produced, since a bar tack provides plenty of strength and for casual wear that likely won't ever be an issue anyway. 

For vintage-inspired ones like we wear, rivets shouldn't be going anywhere though.

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3 hours ago, Cold Summer said:

For vintage-inspired ones like we wear, rivets shouldn't be going anywhere though.

The fact many of us wear 1-3 denim pants in an entire year, I am not sure our pursuit can be classified as environmentally wasteful.

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Anyone find that if you don't wear a pair for over 4 months they become "musty"? They are not dirty and have hardly any wear, so I'm wondering if it's due to storage and what the solutions are, as I can smell it so I'm sure others can too.

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  • Luisa via Roma (US)
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