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There are lots of reasons to stay away from the L.A. denim world—for one, we just plain don’t like distressed clothes—but if you get past any lingering style reservations, it can be a pretty fascinating scene. Particularly if you’ve got a camera handy.

Sundance recently took a trek into the dark heart of Ed Hardy-ness and came away with Dirty Denim, a 15-minute series of web shorts that convince us it’s worse than we ever imagined. Small labels scramble over distressing techniques, play hardball with buyers, and try to keep their styles safe from the eight other labels they share a washhouse with—and just about everyone’s scrapping.

Of course, the real horror is what they do to the jeans. Potassium sprays, paint splatters and rotary grinders are all turned against defenseless raw denim with little to no remorse. The rest isn’t too different from the mind-boggling hustle of the rest of Hollywood—but it should give pause to anyone who’s day-dreamed about starting up their own denim line.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom