Pepe Jeans

Origin of Brand : United Kingdom
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Ben Sherman




Pepe Jeans
The date is 1973 and a crowd of raucous kids are jostling for position around an unassuming market-stall sheltering from the icy February drizzle under a graffiti-scrawled railway bridge in the heart of Portobello Market. The buzz is palpable. Trecking by Tube, bus and bike from the far corners of grimy London this motley crue of up-all-night club kids, androgynous models, and general waifs and strays has converged on the capitals hippest clothing market in a bid to lay their hands on an elusive pair of the jeans that has had Londons most discerning fashion devotees swapping notes. It was there in 1973, under that bridge in Notting Hill with the sound of dub reggae pounding lazily, relentlessly, in the background, that Pepe Jeans was born. In a time when fashion brands were made less by marketing science and cold cash, and more by real people discovering different, sometimes dangerous, and always breathlessly exciting fashion that London designer Nitin Shah and his brothers Arun and Milan unleashed their vision of detail-rich denims to an audience that had become tired by a tidal wave of bland and anonymous jeans. Fast forward thirty-seven years and Pepe Jeans today trades in 60 countries, sells through almost 7,000 doors at wholesale, has over 300 stores internationally, and employs over 2,000 employees, yet remains devoted to its initial mantra to create directional denims and challenging young fashion in an era dogged by conformism. It didnt take the Shah brothers long to realise that the popularity of Pepe Jeans was rollercoasting beyond their wildest aspirations. Pretty soon, they would be ditching the full time jobs - which they held down to help fund the designing, sourcing and selling of Pepe Jeans - in favour of a business which almost overnight found itself operating from a 25,000sq m strategic command centre in London. By 1980 Pepe Jeans was squaring up confidently to the American denim heavyweights which had until then dominated British jeans boutiques. Pepe Jeans popularity in Blighty had not gone unnoticed abroad and around that same time it began to take its first tentative steps into new international markets.

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