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Pre-distressed jeans have been around for a while, but we’ll be the first to admit we’ve never given much thought to how those wear patterns get there.

Luckily, someone was more curious than we were. New York-based photographer David Friedman took a trip down to Kentucky to check out a denim-distressing factory. The shop handles a bunch of different designers, and adds embroidery, tears and subtle fading wherever the designs call for it. It’s impressive stuff, given the scale they’re working on, and it’s always fascinating to see what it looks like behind the scenes.

Friedman says it pretty well:

I saw just how much work goes into distressing jeans, and I realized that these people are artists. You can’t just have any loose threads, you have to have the right loose threads. They can’t just be faded. They have to be the right color. A lot of work goes into making these jeans look just right.

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—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom