The Curious Case of Denim

Photography Mattias Edwall | Tomorrow Management

Photographer Mattias EdwallViktor Fredbäck, the author of the book ‘True Fit – a collection of the history of denim’, is a vintage denim collector with a special passion for the subject. His denim collection consists of 400 rare denim styles from all over the world. If not the world’s largest collection, it is one of the most unique.

A former roommate in Uppsala, Sweden, introduced Viktor Fredbäck ten years ago to the history of jeans. At that time, the 21-year old Fredbäck might have given his heart to anything new placed in front of him. But as fate would have it, it was the story of jeans and denim that became his fascination.Today, Fredbäck finds vintage denim on e-bay, at private auctions and special markets for vintage jeans. The world is his treasure chest from Europe to Asia and the United States. But being a denim collector is not just about clicking through the online universe and seeking out unique pieces – for Fredbäck, it’s a fascinating cultural journey and potentially a very dangerous one too!

That’s because Fredbäck’s favorite places to look for jeans are the old abandoned gold mines of Nevada. In these ghostly places, Fredbäck searches for a different kind of treasure. In the 1800s, the men who worked these mines were outfitted in the rugged, copper-riveted clothing sold to them by Levi Strauss. And, if Fredbäck is lucky, his own digging will be rewarded with a pair of crusty vintage jeans or fragments of a denim shirt. For Fredbäck, it’s an inspirational quest.

”Jeans is a garment that almost everybody has in their closet. Most people have a relationship with their favourite jeans. So, the history of this garment, together with how the previous owners had used their garment during the decades, inspired me. Over time there is no garment that survives history as denim. That’s what catches my soul.” (…)

Read more in Tomorrow’s Journal | Issue 10

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