I’m on an endless quest for the perfect pair of jeans, a pair that will hold up against the rigorous demands of city life, look great at the office on Friday, and keep all of my secrets over the weekend. I want a pair that refuses an iron, and accepts every crease, wrinkle, and imperfection with dignity. A true classic. On September 9, 2013, I met Bluer Denim.
I stumbled across the company online and was attracted to its rugged, artisan aesthetic. Further exploration revealed that their jeans are constructed in America, and specifically designed in my hometown of Portland, OR. This was more than enough to capture my attention, but having just settled into a pair of whatever mass-marketed slim cuts were out at the time, I decided to bookmark the page for future consideration.
This summer brought us back to Portland, and while perusing the offerings of the Alberta Arts District, we walked into Bluer Than Indigo - the beautiful brick and mortar location that sells the Bluer brand. I became a fan all over again. We met Jade Oliver, the Store Director. Steering the ship seemed effortless for her as she sailed through tasks while maintaining conversations with us and her other customers. When she learned that I was a visiting native, she spared no detail as she talked about her motivation, inspiration, and favorite picks from the line.
Tells us a little about yourself and how you got started in the industry
My full name is Jade Oliver, I am 22 years old. Hard to say where I am from as I have lived everywhere from Portland, London, San Diego, New York, Hawaii and Los Angeles. I currently live in Portland, where I am developing my brands. I love to take my pup on adventures and camping. I am always in the middle of a DIY project, usually for some interior piece to my home. I never go a weekend without seeing my family.
No one that is 18 years old knows what they want to do the rest of their life, when the time came for me to choose after finishing High School in Portland I was aware of that statement. I couldn't choose my path at that exact time but I could educate myself on different paths I could take. I knew I had a eye for design, whether it be interior design, graphic design, or apparel design. After high school I landed an internship in London at London's top fashion magazine. I was excited to see a live working industry where I could scope out all the jobs, see what they truly do on a day to day basis to see if that was what I wanted to do. While working in London I took a few courses on design and styling. Moving forward to college, after my experience in London I decide to attend Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. Three years, many amazing opportunities, and a full degree later - I am now standing in Portland, OR under the best boss/teacher (Jeff Shafer - Owner of Agave Denim) I could dream of developing out Bluer / Bluer Than Indigo!
What is the story behind the name Bluer?
The story is behind the phrase "Bluer Than Indigo". Bluer Than Indigo is a phrase used when a student or apprentice achieves skills greater than his or her teacher, master, or sensei. When that happens, the student surpasses the master or becomes "bluer than indigo". Truer than true - bluer than blue - pure.
What's unique about your brand?
We make premium tailored denim that is 100% transparently made in America with a buy one, give one philanthropic mission. No detail is ever compromised - EVER. Designed in Portland, our Bluer jeans feature contain grown in Georgia, denim milled by cone white oak in North Carolina, and YKK buttons, rivets, and zippers forged in Kentucky. For a pair of retired denim donated to our Buy One, Give One Program we will credit you $10 toward your new pair. We will then wash donated denim using eco friendly ozone technology to give to people in need or recycle them by breaking down cotton fibers into wall installation. That is Bluer / Bluer Than Indigo every stitch is unique because its living as recycle, repurpose, and sustainability in the USA.
We've been seeing Bluer featured on some of our favorite sites, and you've been building a lot of buzz. What do you want Bluer to be known for?
This brand/store is dedicated to people who take pride in their craft and are reshaping our world today and will continue to reshape our world in the future. To take pride in your craft. No matter if its brewing coffee, spreadsheets, or denim making. In every Bluer Denim I have a small patch stating "This is the story of those who are building our future. This garment has been made with respect to tradition, by local craftsmen who believe in America."
We love that your clothing is designed in Portland and made in America. Why was this important to you?
Manufacturing is critically important to the American economy. For generations, the strength of our country rested on the power of our factory floors.The machines and the men and women who worked them. We need manufacturing to continue to be a bedrock of strength for generations to come. Manufacturing is woven into the structure of our economy: Its importance goes far beyond what happens behind the factory gates. The strength or weakness of American manufacturing carries implications for the entire economy, our national security, and the well-being of all Americans. Manufacturing today accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. economy and about 11 percent of the private-sector workforce. But its significance is even greater than these numbers would suggest. The direct impact of manufacturing is only a part of the picture.
Your brick and mortar store is beautiful, and you seem to be passionate not only about your brand, but about the other companies that you feature as well. Tell us about how you curate the collection in your store.
I select brands that are local, and owners who take so much pride in what they do. It's actually one of the hardest hats in my job, to decide what stands by my brand. There is so many amazing creation and creative souls in Portland and USA, deciding which ones is rough.
Favorite piece (jewelry/closing/shoes) to compliment your Bluer jeans?
The oversized white tee that you wear in the morning on the weekends when you drinking coffee. Slip on your Bluer's and throw your hair in a bun.
Favorite pair of Bluer jeans?
Women's Slim Skinny Soulmate Rinse Medium. They fit almost everyone. These are designed as a women straight leg. It tapers from hip to thigh then straight down from knee to ankle. Giving any girl women shape but a straight leg to wear anywhere.
Favorite place to go in your Bluer jeans?
Denim is a staple so anywhere. Honestly, to work. When I am wearing them in the store people not only hear the store but they can see we live the story by living in the denim. Being owner aside... They are just so soft, never have to worry about them stretching out. Its nice to wake up and not have to put on uncomfortable pants last to minimize my time in them. No scratch tags, or tight waist band digging in, or having to do crazy stretches to stretch them out after drying.
Favorite artists to listen to in your Bluer jeans?
- The xx