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The Story Behind The First Volcom Stretch Jeans Inspired By Dustin Dollin
Dustin Dollin used to wear ladies jeans. Wait. What?
Okay, that's not too hard to believe, it is Dollin we're talking about.
See back in the early 2000's guys who liked a slim fitting pair of jeans had a hard time finding them, never mind finding a pair with some stretch to make them actually comfortable. Options were super limited and if they could be found they were usually expensive luxury menswear. Guys like Dustin, and there weren't a lot of them at the time... mostly musicians, had to resort to wearing women's jeans.
Recounting the experience to Remy Stratton, Volcom's SVP of Skate & Snow, and former Volcom Skate Team manager, Dustin recalled when he finally came across a pair of tight fitting men's stretch jeans and could ditch the ladies jeans he had been wearing. The discovery was so rare he found himself hoarding them.
"I remember finding the first stretch denim at the Melbourne market, some made-in-China denim from an Australian brand called Workland jeans, and I used to go every weekend and buy all the size 30's. I think you once asked me why I never wore Volcom jeans and I replied because these are tight and stretchy."
Going back and watching Dustin's part in Chichagof (2004), you'll notice that he wears two different styles of jeans throughout his part. The looser fitting pair are Volcom jeans that Remy must have been able to wrangle him into occasionally, and the tighter pair are the ones he found at the market in Melbourne.
Following the release of the film it was clear that the answer to how to get Dustin to wear Volcom jeans was to make him his own model. "Once Dustin gets something in his head, that's it, we obviously needed him wearing our jeans," said Remy, "and our design department quickly embraced his concept." With this began the collaboration with Volcom's denim designer, JJ Gonzales, on the first pair of Volcom jeans that would bear Dustin Dollin's name and be included in Volcom's fledging V.Co-Operative series.
Launched in 2004, the V.Co-Operative series was birthed from the skate team, with initial collaborations with Geoff Rowley and Mark Appleyard, who worked closely with the Volcom design team to help build their perfect pair of jeans. Joining the V.Co-Opertative program shortly after its launch, Dustin and the design team began work on creating a wholly unique style of jean that captured the essence of Dollin and was unlike either of the existing collaborations.
"It was revolutionary. Dustin's jean immediately filled a void," said JJ. "It was a forward fit with a functional fabric for the skate world." Dustin added, "It was right when a lot of skating changed to tight jeans."
Armed with a few pairs of Dustin's old women's jeans as well as the ones he found at the Melbourne market, JJ and the design team went to work adapting the fit for a man's body. Describing the design and fabric challenge, JJ said, "the fact that they were women's jeans that he was wearing, creating his fit was all new as women's jeans have a shorter rise and are proportionately different," and added that at the time, "stretch denim was more of a women's market, so fabrics were lighter in weight and not made to withstand the wide range movements and heavy slams," that someone like Dustin sustains when he skates.
Sourcing the right fabric that could wear close to the body but was flexible enough that you could still skate and take slams in them would be the key to the success of the jeans.
Enter Lycra®. Developed in 1959, the revolutionary material was not introduced into denim jeans until 20 years later in 1979 when the first women's stretch jean was made using an elasticized Lycra® fiber cotton blend. For the next 25 some-odd years stretch remained mostly a feature of women's jeans only. Typically thought of for its comfort factor, and marketed that way to women purchasing stretch jeans. Lyrca® was also fundamental in the advancement of performance sportswear throughout the 90's with its ability to offer apparel a greater freedom of movement.
It was here at the intersection of denim, performance sportswear and Dustin Dollin that a whole new product sub-category, the performance stretch jean, revealed itself to the designers at Volcom. "I can honestly reflect now and say that Dustin's signature jean was the catalyst to what the mindset of Volcom Brand Jeans is today," says JJ. "It's combining fit, function, durability and quality in an innovative way." So it was with release of his signature Volcom V.Co-Operative jean in the summer of 2005, that Dustin Dollin and Volcom blessed the skate world with the first stretch denim jeans designed for skateboarding.
Ahead of our time then, Volcom today is still at the forefront of denim design, utilizing technical fiber blends and finishes to create performance jeans that are designed for skateboarding. Explore the latest stretch denim innovations with the release of Volcom Stone Made jeans that incorporate groundbreaking superior stretch, anti-microbial, durability and water resistant properties that have yielded some of the most profound products in the market today.