Silver Jeans Goes Platinum

Denim brand marks its 20th anniversary with a reissued its original fashion jean, the Frisco.

Silver Jeans Co. apparently ran out of patience and couldn’t wait for the traditional silver anniversary — after 25 years — to celebrate its founding. So the Winnipeg, Canada-based jeans firm pulled the trigger just a little early, on the occasion of its 20th, or platinum, anniversary in the jeanswear business, and reissued its original fashion jean, the Frisco, embellishing it with special rivets, waistband labels and label stamps to mark the occasion.

This story first appeared in the November 9, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Michael Silver, president of the company which bears his name, wasn’t looking to make history when he and Allan Kemp, the firm’s creative director, conceived a more feminine jean and began the transformation of what had been a family-owned glove business that had previously dabbled in relatively fashion-free denim workwear. He believed the jeans on the market in 1991 “were made for people without curves or even waistlines, basically men’s jeans.…We wanted a used look made from soft denim with a lower rise and a wider leg opening which would flatter a women’s curves.”

To realize that ambition and provide jeans that fit like…well…a glove, Silver and Kemp indulged their love of vintage denim with well-worn secondhand fabric and, rejecting what Kemp termed “‘carrot’ fits, baggy at the top and tight through the bottom,” devised a silhouette with a 17-inch leg opening and a button front. While jeans at the time were dominated by rise measurements of 13 inches or more, Silver took the step, considered daring at the time, of reducing the typical rise to 11 inches.

Now, with its anniversary jean, it’s gone even farther, cutting the rise to 9 inches.

The initial production cut for Frisco was for 300 pairs, but sales swelled to 1 million within two years and Silver’s status as a denim brand was secured.

Silver’s parent company turned 90 this year. “I guess we could have waited for the 100th anniversary, but that would make Silver Jeans 30 and I just couldn’t wait,” the firm’s president said. “I tell my friends that while we might be 90 and our first child is all grown up at 20, I do not feel a day over 75.”

Silver is a youthful-looking 53.