I am simply a man who loves schmata. I love denim. But I am not going to lie to you. Don’t mistake my smile for pragmatism.
I am not here to make friends.
A lot of lip service is paid to denim about being a great “equalizer.” It is referred to as a “democratizing” fabric that is fabulous because its wearing traverses social strata - rich and poor, old and young, fashionable or clueless … everyone has it in their closet. At any given moment, 50% of the planet could be wearing denim. Everyone just loves denim.
On the contrary, at Rebus we make denim to be the great divider!
There are the denim elite - Adriano Goldschmied, J Brand, Diesel, 7 For All Mankind, etc - who are held up as the vanguard of what is right about denim. There is Levi’s, and Wrangler, and Lee, who are spoken about when anyone mentions the history of this curious fabric that rose in the 20th century to be worn not just by the working class but by the biggest fashion mavens. Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt (remember her?), Guess? and a handful of American designers took to the denim game and made it skyrocket to the forefront of fashion relevance in the 1980s and 1990s.
And then there is us - the new breed. I am a creature of research. I have wanted to run a fashion house for a long time, but only had the chutzpah to try when I found a like-minded psycho in my dear friend and Rebus Productions co-founder Adam Bledin. Mr. Bledin has never waivered in his resolve to be a game changer in this industry, and I recognized that 11 months ago when I came aboard and began a full-scale re-branding and restructuring of the former Rebus Apparel brand. After months of blood, sweat, and tears, our inaugural collection really does befit the name of the new entity.
Every piece in our SS 2012 offering The Nest, from the dark and luscious Chocolate, to the loud and uproarious Cardinal, the understated beauty of the Swatch Throwback, to the signature styling of the Cowboy/Cowgirl, and the unapologetic mysteriousness of our Black Label skinnies, is truly a unique production with a story behind it. We knew we had to up the ante - play the game hard, and debut hard.
Because this game is not for the faint of heart - you need to want to be the best, not just be. You need to believe you can be the best, you need to believe that there is space for you in the market, and you need to take a page out of the Alexander McQueen playbook.
By far my favorite designer of all time, McQueen was infamous for brashly dismissing all that proceeded him as passe and unimportant. He cared nothing for the past, and concentrated on the future. He started quite a row when he infamously began working for Givenchy and had the audacity to refer to founder Hubert de Givenchy as “irrelevant.” The nerve!
So in homage to the late Sir Alexander, let me say this: I care nothing for those houses who came before Rebus.
There is nothing “traditional” about our design process at Rebus. We work with the best, the hungriest, and the dedicated. We scream, and yell, and fuss over the most minute details. We collect pieces from our competitors and meticulously pour over every stitch, and rivet, and button to see what can be made better. Each piece is a true production. Each piece is the result of sheer and utter psychosis. We are most definitely not trend followers.
We are trend destroyers.
I am not going to pretend that I have worked in denim for 40 years, or that I am a master pattern-maker, or that I am some denim extraordinaire who has worked looms in Japan, or anything fanciful like that. I am simply an industrious product marketer with a team of great emerging designers and savvy business minds in the fold.
What I will guarantee however is that we know fashion, we know style, and we are passionate. I will guarantee that we have a great respect for this fabric called denim. We know what it is to rope-dye or to vat-dye. We know about good denim production. We know the marketplace. We know what is a good raw denim, or raw form, or selvedge. We know what is gorgeous, and timeless, and unforgettable.
But most of all, we listen to you, and are resolute to give you what you want. People said they want more comfortable pockets - so we lined our signature skinnies with freaking corduroy! People told us they hated that dinky 5th pocket where you typically stash change or whatever the hell is supposed to go in there. What did we do?
We aggressively made the biggest damn 5th pocket anyone has ever seen on a pair of denim. It’s marketed as a 5-pocket article of clothing, we said - let’s give them FIVE pockets!
Guys were telling us they wanted to wear a skinny jean, but didn’t like the ball-suffocating options that were available in stores. Hence, we labored for weeks over fits until we came up with what we call The World’s Best Relaxed Skinny.
We went to bat for the customer - and we will continue to do that, season after season.
That’s my guarantee - that we will listen to you. We will give you the best. And we won’t give a damn about anything else, or tradition, or rules. Rules are made to be broken.
Hence, there are no rules.
Oh, and one more thing: distressed denim is dead. It’s over. It makes me sick to the stomach. You know who you are. Any style with an obvious expiration date is irrelevant.
Anything that is not timeless is irrelevant.
VP & CMO
While we were agonizing over perfecting our denim, we admit we had simultaneously been plotting and scheming about introducing a killer sweat pant that would be a game changer. We had anticipated strong sales of our LAZY PANTS™ upon its debut because of some key factors.
For one, a truly delicious pair of sweat pants that is high quality, durable, fashionable and incredibly comfortable is surprisingly hard to come by. Most retailers either skimp on the finer details and have something made of inferior quality in that wasteland of a manufacturing country that we won’t mention by name, or they …
No, that’s mostly it. And we decided we wouldn’t stand for it. In our neck of the woods, the sweat pant is a wardrobe staple, a must have in every person’s closet and in many cases, the gold standard of home and lounging comfort. You come home from work and just want to relax, or you’re running around at camp, or you’re just popping down the street for an ice cream … you know what you are most likely to put on. It is a clothing article to be celebrated and put on a pedestal. Some of our favorite moments happened when we were wearing sweat pants. We never forgot that.
We promise you - these are the most comfortable things you have ever had the privilege of slipping on. We made sure of it. How did we? We looked at the competition, had our manufacturers meticulously tear apart and dissect every similar product on the market, and came to the conclusion that the assembly of a quality sweat pant has unfortunately long become an afterthought, more often than not simply thought of as an add-on for any collection to claim itself as featuring an “athletic” offering.
But who are we kidding? Though ubiquitously known as sweat pants, most of us don’t really sweat in them. We relax.
We get lazy.
We rarely sweat.
Why not start telling the truth?
And thus, LAZY PANTS™ were born, and early reviews speak for themselves. We cannot seem to keep the damn things in stock - and they are not even available in retail stores yet, only through private fittings!
We couldn’t be prouder.
LAZY PANTS™ are now available in 4 basic colours for our Spring/Summer 2012 collection The Nest - Grey, Charcoal, Navy and Dark Teal - but you can expect some very bold and vibrant color offerings in the near future as per the requests of our fans. In our ad in the August issue of VICE magazine (see photo), the lovely Ilana Meyer is wearing them in Navy.
We recently anointed Julien Abesdris as our assistant Creative Director, and the wunderkind could not be happier. A sublime talent, Julien can talk shop about everything from high fashion to street style to music. Under watchful eyes, he has long been groomed for prime time, and we can no longer keep him a secret.
At just 21 years of age, Julien Abesdris is the future of Rebus and the Rebus LIFE brand. You will be hearing and seeing a lot more from him in video and in blog spots where he explains our brand and design vision and concept.
As we move forward towards debuting our SS12 collection, The Nest, this fall, we are going to periodically take time to introduce you to the moving parts and personalities behind our brand - what makes us tick, and why we are so confident that you will absolutely love our debut collection.
Taking a break from his favorite pastime of regaling anyone and everyone with his guitar skills, Julien spent 3 weeks this summer at our factories in Istanbul perfecting the denim and was tasked with making a final call on some of the key features that you will find in Rebus Premium Denim. From the stunningly beautiful denim selections, to our ridiculously roomy True 5th Pocket, and our banner denim fit that we have begun to call The World’s Best Relaxed Skinny, the CROW and the DOVE respectively for men and women, Mr. Abesdris’ fingerprints are all over the DNA of this brand.
In other news, Rebus Prez/Creative Director Adam Bledin and myself just returned from a rousing visit to sunny Las Vegas where we attended WWDMAGIC/PROJECT, the fashion industry’s largest tradeshow. It was truly humbling rubbing shoulders with some of fashion’s greatest thinkers and leaders, and many of the words of encouragement and support we got from everyone we engaged left an indelible mark on us
There is a very evident move towards a “share economy” in fashion right now - a spirit of camaraderie and openness to collaboration among brands. Against a backdrop where the consumer is asking for heightened corporate integrity and better quality products, there is no time for the old “me first” school of thought that arguably dominated the landscape for decades.
“Welcome boys - keep your heads up … and stay humble”, said Chip Foster of the infamous Canadian/California surf brand Chip & Pepper to us.
Words that we will remember forever. There is much work ahead of us, but we are incredibly privileged to have had the chance to witness the fraternity and sense of family that is held by many in the industry.
We eagerly look forward to attending MAGIC again in spring 2012. Julien and our design team have already started work on our F/W 2012 offering, and just like that, the giant, unforgiving wheel that is the fashion industry continues to roll forward.
In the next few days to weeks, I will share more about our experiences at MAGIC, and also there is a ton of exciting behind the scenes video featuring Julien and Adam during our last production excursion in Istanbul.
Building a premium Canadian brand is a tough game, but it has never felt so good to be alive.
Until next time,
VP & CMO
Rebus Productions .
Stay tuned for more craziness heading into Fall 2011 and TIFF week in September, kiddies …
Toronto’s first premium denim label is coming at you hard - and we make no apologies!
Go big or go home, as the famous Texan proverb says.
We certainly have taken that credo to heart here at Rebus Productions.
UPDATE: shhhhhh …. 1/31/2012
(We’re) on the pursuit of happiness and (we) know everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold
(We’ll) be fine once (we) get it, (we’ll) be good
Two years out, Kid Cudi’s collabo Pursuit of Happiness with MGMT featuring a silent but lively cameo by our boy Drake is still a hauntingly beautiful work of art to behold.
Its become vogue, conventional wisdom, to speak of happiness as being about the journey, not the destination.
Its about the moments along the way, they say.
Enjoy the ride, because it will be all over at the end.
And most of the time, that’s very sound advice. We have all seen too many forks in the road, too many key junctures, too many critical decisions to not realize that life does come down to a series of moments.
But is it so wrong to dream, once in a while, of happiness being a place that you can stay once you get there?
For once, make a fuss about what you see in your mind. Throw caution to the wind. Speak about that dream in your head. Regale all with tale of your visions. We fully endorse believing in something before you can see it, not the other way around.
To those who say impossible, tell them to get out of your way.
Rebus Productions is hitting Toronto and the world with Rebus Premium Denim and Lazy Pants™ this fall in The Nest, our Spring/Summer 2012 debut collection. The long awaited www.rebuslife.com will be dropping in September just as things are livening up for TIFF, and we couldn’t be more excited.
A good story teller tells you what is going to be talked about, talks about it, and then tells you what was talked about.
So far we told you what we are going to do. Change the denim landscape. Bring an honest product to the market. Bring a premium denim label to this great city of ours.
Put Tdot on the map.
Continue to show the world that these days, some of the greatest talents in music, in design, in entertainment, in fashion, in art, in society, in life …
Call this city home.
Stay ready this fall, denim world.
Stay ready this fall, Toronto.
Rebus is in pursuit of happiness.
We’ll be fine, once we get it.
So its official. VICE’s infamous July Big Photo issue is on the streets and its a raunchy rager if there ever was one. Our ad looks stunning, and we couldn’t be happier.
Our odyssey with VICE actually got started in a strange way, as alluded to in a previous post, REBUS + VICE = LOOOOOVE!
Rebus’ Moshe Modeira was blown away several weeks ago when, after never having even heard of the documentary series VICE Guide to Travel, he sat down and caught an episode late one night that rocked his consciousness to the very core.
The episode was VICE Guide to Travel: Liberia
To talk about what transpires in that episode is worthy of its very own post, and Moshe has made us a promise that he will craft this one himself to share with our readers in the coming weeks - the poor guy is still recovering from what he saw.
In a nutshell, Liberia is probably the country on the planet that needs the most help - while human rights activists and world leaders are not even pretending to give a crap. Staggering statistics of poverty, warfare, and crime, and a legacy intertwining colonialism, imperialism, and racism intersect so perfectly that it truly is hell on earth. VICE uncovers this relatively unknown hinterland for viewers in a gritty, gripping manner that would leave an indelible mark on even the most seasoned documentary film connoisseurs.
Weeks after seeing this and becoming hyper-focused on the VICE brand as a result, VICE got in touch with us at Rebus and encouraged us not to be shy about our efforts to bring a premium denim house to Toronto, and Moshe was absolutely floored as he was ushered even deeper into the intricate world of magazine publishing, online content syndication, film production and advertising that the VICE empire represents. Ever a student of the process of building brands, and probably one of the biggest product and brand marketing nuts you will ever meet, Moshe was at this point absolutely frothing at the mouth to work with VICE in order to further bolster his efforts as Rebus’ marketing maven.
Enjoy the July Photo Issue - in typical VICE style, it is visually astounding, to say the least. The Rebus ad that appears is part one of a four part series of a campaign we have dubbed “RebusHearts” - a playful, mischievous, sexy series that is of course itself a puzzle!
Can you figure it out?
Only time will tell. There will be a special giveaway in the fall for those of you who do - stay tuned for Part 2 in August!
UPDATE - 10/04/11: After a strong reception, we have since re-jigged the Rebus Hearts campaign to become an intermittent one where we call loud attention to anything we proudly endorse - and what better thing to start off with other than that thing that makes this world go ‘round …
Rebus Hearts Photography
Once in a while we like to call attention to inspired photography. Great use of color contrast, texture, and image softness in this photo series from Agatha Gatil, a 17 year old chef and self-made model out of Jakartha that is quietly making some noise with her own looks that she proliferates on her profile at Lookbook.nu
Here it is, as promised - feeling a bit joyous to be on a much needed day off from pouring over denim details all day in our factories in Istanbul, I get a bit footloose with our sourcing agent Hakan’s friends and family while sailing on the famous Bosphorous waterway.
I call it the “Bledin shuffle” - I have been known to bust it out once or twice … OK, several hundred times (its my go to move!)
Stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes footage from our initial Turkey expedition. We are currently in Istanbul again on the second leg of our production phase, and we will be coming back to Toronto with more great video of Istanbul … and also lots and lots of amazing premium denim!
Until next time,
President & CEO
Istanbul is an interesting place.
I had been there a few times before and never much cared for it. Now, I have developed a new appreciation for this grand old city. The food is great, the people are more than friendly, and the bazaar is a place of wonder known the world over.
There are 15 million people in the Istanbul metro. That’s almost half the population of Canada! Officially, half of the city resides in Europe, the other half in Asia. The sense of history once you get off the plane hits you like a ton of bricks. Wow. Constantinople. Byzantium. An almost 3000 year old city, still humming and breathing, and now the capital city of the world’s 3rd largest textile manufacturing country.
On our initial trip a month ago, I travelled with our resident design diva Georgia Varelas to oversee the first leg of production of Rebus Premium Denim. We arrived in Istanbul on a sunny Saturday morning, got our bags and went outside. Our sourcing agent and my dear old friend Hakan greeted me with a firm handshake and a big hug. It was the sort of hug one gets when they come back from a long war. I politely collapsed into the big Turk’s arms while he hugged me for what seemed like an eternity. I wasn’t home from a war - I was here to begin one: the battle to bring a premium denim label to the city I call home, Toronto.
But lets talk a bit about the sites and sounds of Istanbul.
Naturally, foodie that I am, I will start with the cuisine!
Any warm-blooded meat-eater would love it here: from their donair pitas to their chicken shish, it is all savoury and delicious and come in so many flavours and varieties. But my absolute favorite is the tomato cucumber lemon juice salad that seemingly accompanies every meal. It is just so refreshing!
Every day at some point Georgia and I would stroll down the street and walk about three blocks to the bazaar. On that walk we would encounter hundreds of different pedlars selling everything from Louis Vuitton purses to Gucci shoes to mini sewing machines. And if it was raining or drizzling, you were in luck - men with umbrellas would be there in a flash to sell you an umbrella for 3 American dollars!
This is a country where everything is for sale, real or knockoff. The lines are blurred. This is a very capitalist country, where enterprise and commercial endeavor is celebrated, not thwarted.
You want a watch? Patek Philippe, Frank Mueller, Cartier, Tag Heure, U-Boat, IWC, Rolex … just to name a few of the hundred brands available in the bazaar, real ones at flagship retail stores or incredible fakes at street-side booths. Want a designer purse or clutch? Hermes’ famous Birkin bag, LV, Prada, Miu Miu, Chanel … real and fake alike, and incredibly hard to discern the difference.
The reportedly now 200 billion dollar knockoff designer goods industry is no joke. Its almost become a commonplace part of luxury lifestyle. I don’t know where to begin when people debate how to combat it. It’s almost become a badge of honor to be knocked off - in an ironic way, the day Rebus knockoffs start flooding the market and we have to issue some sort of legal cease and desist against it - it will also be a day when we know we have “made it.”
With beautiful weather, a nightlife that is legendary, and areas of Istanbul every bit as posh as Yorkville or SOHO, it was tempting to think we were on vacation, but we were there to do a job, a very harrowing, detail-oriented job: perfect the denim.
We had to choose from hundreds of different washes and tones to get the denim right, make sure the manufacturers understood the dimensions provided by our pattern-makers, make sure every tiny rivet, and stitch, and detail was understood and taken into account. Denim is bar none the hardest niche in fashion to get right. You would think it was easy because there is so much of it out there, but don’t let the quantity fool you.
It’s all about quality when it comes to denim, and one thing to be said about the Turks is that they truly understand what quality denim is. Turkish cotton is the finest in the world for a reason. People rave about Japanese denim all the time, but they don’t understand where Japan imports a lot of their cotton from.
It usually is from Turkey.
Outside of working with the manufacturers to perfect the product, Georgia and I spent many nights playing chess in hookah bars with tons of food and loud videos of international music blaring in the background. Everyone had a story to tell, and wares to sell. You can lose your mind if you forget what your mission is because for many people in Istanbul, days blur into nights and nights into day again. There is always a dollar to be made, and the pace of life is fast and incredible. We made some solid relationships, ones that I would like to imagine will span a lifetime.
In the video above, I am not going to show you anything glitzy or glamorous. I’ll save the fun for the second part. Here, with the beautiful weather, the sights and sounds of the bazaar miles away, we are stuck in a room of one of our factories, painstakingly going over product. This is what NO ONE wants to see - they just want to wear the denim, and pose for the cameras. Georgia is understandably exhausted after a 14 hour extravaganza, and we are only now beginning to pick fabrics! I am behind the camera, surprisingly energetic, and almost ready to go for another 14. As I said, this is no vacation - we are here with a mission. There will be all the time in the world for that stuff later.
Work hard now … play later.
In Istanbul: Part 2, I will show what happened when we are finally taking a break with a lavish boat ride on the Bosphorous, the great waterway that separates Istanbul into its European and Asian halves - lets just say it will involve some pretty nifty moves on the dance floor on my part, and Hakan’s father, usually a stern man, really loosens up when I show him some of my fancy Western dance moves.
I want to extend a warm Happy Birthday once again to our dear friend Hakan. It was his birthday several weeks ago. None of this would be possible without him, and he is a special man who has been involved with fashion and denim for over 30 years. These are the unsung heroes behind the scenes of the fashion world. Past the bottles, and the models, and the fashion weeks, and photo shoots, and the blogger exclusives, and the raucous events … without guys like Hakan, it would all come to a grinding halt.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more exciting news with Rebus! This Monday, June 11, our first print advertisement will be featured in VICE magazine, part of our Summer 2011 Rebus Hearts campaign that we are doing with them. We are more than excited. We will unveil Part 1 of the campaign later this week - Rebus Hearts Love.
Until next time,
President & CEO
We are living in a particularly fast-paced, visually oriented epoch in human history, which is why video such as this is so important and needs to be shared. Edwin has been doing big things for quite some time now, but this video should be regarded as a battle cry for an entire industry, fashion and its vaunted denim niche, to be more open and transparent about what exactly it takes to produce the clothing that customers love so much.
In the wake of our Executive team recently returning from the Rebus factories in Istanbul (and shortly returning to finalize production), we know the trials and tribulations of this process all too well. This is a microcosm of the entire process - but still such a necessary encapsulation that people need to see.
Enjoy this video - its well worth 4 minutes of your time!