The New Jean Genie?

Trying out the latest trend: cheap jeans

While the craze for designer jeans might date back to the late 70's, this will be the decade makers and buyers lost perspective on how much a stylish, everyday pair should cost. The price for a pair from the popular J Brand is around $140; for Earnest Sewns, $200. Strange how every year brings a flood of new denim peddlers (True Religion, Rock & Republic, Nudie, Rogan, Acne), and yet the increased competition never drives down prices. Paying out more than $100 for a pair of jeans has become the standard, and fledgling companies are only too ready to continue the gouging.

Will Orjan Andersson change all that? The Swedish designer and former Lee jeans employee is the creator of the unisex denim brand Cheap Monday, currently lauded by the fashion press for its spectacular skintight fit, its variety of attractive unwashed shades, and its unusually low price—around $65 a pair. In an interview on his website, Andersson claims he isn't opposed to pricey denim—he carries several expensive labels in his store—but says he has "noticed that there was not a single decent brand that made cheaper jeans." He's right.

The concept of Andersson's Cheap Monday is almost too good to be true, so we stopped by one of the shops that stocked them in New York City, Opening Ceremony, to try on a few pairs. The "Eiffel Tower" style is fittingly named. Those who admired Imitation of Christ's high-waisted styles from last season and whose torsos just happen to stretch two feet long will appreciate the elongated inseam and the waistband past the wearer's bellybutton. The rest of us will look like Tweedle Dee set loose in the Levi's factory for a night. The "Tight" style, with a stretchy, tapered fit similar to the coveted J Brands, will make a convert out of many more. Opening Ceremony, clearly expecting a deluge of new Cheap Mondays fans, have devoted most of their second floor to the label.

Cheap Monday logo
photo: Corina Zappia
Cheap Monday logo

It remains to be seen whether Cheap Monday will infiltrate the rest of the country's denim market. Andersson says he doesn't want to grow too big, and the brand's so-called anti-Christian logo—a skull with an inverted cross on the forehead—will likely stop some stores from stocking the label. An Associated Press article from last December claims that while the makers of Cheap Monday don't "take the logo so seriously," logo designer Bjorn Atldax does; he told the AP that he disdains organized religion and that his design is "an active statement against Christianity." It's quite a tall order, to stick it to the overpriced denim industry and question the Christian faith, all through a pair of jeans.

We purchased a pair. Let's see if the rest of the U.S. follows suit.

 
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