The only rider specific jeans worth riding

The other day we were on the receiving end of an email blast from one of our cycling apparel colleagues based across the pond in Merry ol’ England.

While we certainly admire their brand and products, I must admit we got a good chuckle out of the wording chosen to describe their new cycling jeans.

“The only rider-specific jeans worth talking about.”

It was the talking about part that got us laughing. I suppose we should talk more about our jeans, especially since we’re “fashionable” enough to have already done a special edition for Barney’s, but when we get a nugget of free time we’d much rather get out for an actual ride than sit around like an aspiring epic catalog model sipping an espresso down at the local coffee shop and talking about maybe going for a ride.

That being said, let’s talk jeans!

Our new Cordura Denim Jeans have been selling so well you’d think we were stuffing the pockets with Unicorn Bacon before shipping them out.  Of course a year’s worth of selling well for us probably translates to an average week for the big blokes.
Still, that’s OK because as a company we’re right where we want to be. When we started out, to say we were tiny is an understatement. Six years later we’ve grown enough to become respectably small and our plan is to keep chugging along at a nice, controlled pace.

Moving into a building of our own last summer was a huge step that gives us a solid home base with plenty of room for future growth.

The other big step was our Cordura Jeans. They were a big commitment for us and a project a year in the making but we believed in them and it thrills us to see how well they’ve been received.

That being said, here’s our answers to the most frequently asked questions we’ve been getting about the jeans.

The Cordura jeans are made in Pakistan. What’s up with that?

This one’s a two-parter:

1. Cordura’s stretch denim is such a new product for Cordura there’s currently only one factory licensed to produce it and that factory happens to be in Pakistan. The minimum amount of material we could purchase was so high it wouldn’t have been feasible for us to try and make them ourselves so we had the factory to go ahead and take care of the manufacturing as well.

Our beliefs in fair labor and a decent working environment don’t end when we walk out the door so we did all we could to vet the factory. It’s a WRAP certified facility.  WRAP is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the certification of lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world. In addition we hired the same third party inspectors used by Patagonia to ensure everything is on the up and up.

The quality of the jeans is fantastic. Putting our design into the hands of someone else halfway across the world had us more than a little nervous. If you looked close at the nitty gritty details, you’ll find the quality is better than what we can do ourselves. They’ve been specializing in denim for years and have all the proper machinery and expertise that eclipses us.

We do feel good about using this factory and we feel supporting industry in a country like Pakistan can only be good in the long run. It offers people good jobs and stability in a country where such things can make a vast difference in people’s lives.

2. The end result of all of this is a finished product that is a lot less expensive than we could make in-house. While $100 for a pair of jeans is by no means inexpensive, we hope the inherent durability will offset the initial buy-in. As long as your “buddy” doesn’t turn on you and stuff you into a wood chipper while you’re wearing your Cordura Jeans, they should last a long, long time. As more people get with the program and get on bikes, its our goal to be able to make high quality, technologically advanced cycling gear more accessible.

Is this the beginning of the end for Swrve products being made in the USA?

Far from it. Having the Cordura Jeans made overseas frees up our sewing team to focus on doing what they do best. It also allows us to be more elastic when it comes to changes in inventory and gives us the added flexibility of being able to tinker with and create new products faster.

When the time comes, we plan to make use of our space by adding more workers to our team and fancy machinery to our equipment quiver but while we’re still in the realm of respectably small, we’ve got to keep making baby steps.

With all the great support we’ve been receiving from the cycling community the past six years, we’ll be up and running with the big dogs before we know it.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

3 Responses to “The only rider specific jeans worth riding”

  1. Acer Says:

    My rebuttal would be this: don’t make Cordura jeans. Personally, I don’t care how good the factory is or how good the working conditions are. I won’t buy those pants knowing the money is going out of the country. I will find another company that makes their pants in the USA or I just won’t buy fancy cycling pants.

    I’m tired of excuses. Excuses won’t bring the USA back from the brink of total economic collapse. You can be a part of the trade deficit, or you can be a part of the solution. You are walking between the worlds right now, but taking steps on the wrong side. How about taking a stand instead of selling out? Is Cordura really so important that it’s worth making a move that not only makes you nervous, but compromises your principles and makes enough people ask “what’s up with that” that you have to make an entire blog post justifying it?

    Come on, now.

    • swrve Says:

      thank you for your comment. we appreciate that you have taken the time to formulate a rebuttal, but we fundamentally disagree with you on a few points you have raised.

      at the end of the day, regardless of what we believe and what you believe, the truest test of any consumer good is the marketplace. we often forget that in a capitalist system, consumers have the ultimate say in what companies produce. consumer choice is the strongest vote you have in making your voice heard. if you dislike that we make our CORDURA® jeans outside of the USA, we support your decision 100% to not buy this product. we have plenty of goods that we make in our in-house shop in Los Angeles. if you feel buying anything from us compromises your principles because of our stand on offshore manufacturing, we also stand 100% behind your decision not to buy anything from us. we believe that an informed consumer is as vital and necessary for a thriving and dynamic marketplace as an informed voter is for a thriving political system. this is why we want to be open about where we produce our goods and why we have made those decisions. it is ultimately your choice as a consumer that will dictate what products and companies thrive or fail. we strongly encourage you and every other customer to vote with their purchasing power. we also strongly encourage you (and anybody else) to start your own company if you feel you can do better. come on now!

      • Acer Says:

        Apologies, I was a bit rude there. But let me put this question to you: would you still be in business, and ringing a profit, if you didn’t sell the Cordura? If so, I would say you are compromising the part of yourself that is proud to sell a product that is made in the USA, if only partly.

        That said, I absolutely agree with you that the customer drives the market. I would love to see more companies making a stand and strictly selling made-in-USA stuff, but I know that companies exist to make profit, not statements, so I understand – even where I do not empathize.

        Don’t get me wrong. I won’t blacklist a company just because they sell things made outside the USA. In fact, I have heard nothing but rave reviews of your stuff and I expect to own some of my own SWRVE gear by the end of the year. But as you said, I vote with my dollar and I will be voting only for the gear that is made in USA. Small though our vote may be, my friends and I think this is an extremely important thing to be doing.

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