Care & Maintenance: Observer Denim

  Observer Denim Maintenance:
Since many of you Observers now have fresh Observer Denim Noirets in hand I wanted to dispense some lessons in the care & maintenance of them.
O.D Noirets are crafted from a unique 13.5 oz Cone Mills over-dyed black denim. The over-dyed denim keeps hard worn pairs of Noirets black despite heavy wear & washing, the light resin finish on both sides of the fabric creates fades in matte & gloss contrast, & until worn down, a little protection against the elements.
If you are inclined to wash jeans before wearing them you should wash your O.D Noirets inside out, with hot water on the delicate/ gentle setting of your washing machine, followed by a hang dry.
If you find yourself in the field without access to a washing machine, an extremely hot soak will do. In both cases, detergent is not recommended for an initial wash.
If you wash your jeans regularly & plan to first wash your O.D’s after only a few wears, you should repeat the above steps for the first wash only. You may add detergent to this & subsequent washes, I recommend Woolite dark.
For those of you who prefer a long, hard break in before a first wash (and this is favorable in the cold winter months) feel free to follow the hang tag instructions & wash cold, on gentle & line dry. If you want to shrink your jeans I would recommend an initial hot wash.
O.D Noiret 9 month Patina
Regardless of your choice, after your first wash, I would recommend washing your O.Ds cold, on the gentle cycle with your O.Ds turned inside-out followed by a hang-dry.
Some of you are new to the O.D “Self-Hem” System, and it should be understood before an initial hemming or wash. Each pair of O.D’s features 3x single needle stitch lines on the hem of each leg. These are set at pre-determined lengths for popular inseams, cutting straight across the hem line of your O.D’s & BELOW one of the sew lines will allow you to hem your O.D’s without excessive fraying or a trip to the tailor. If you decide to hem them before an initial hot wash, add & an extra 1.25” to your desired length to accommodate for shrinkage.
Now that you know how to care for your O.D Noirets, perhaps you would like to know where they came from?
O.D Noirets where born at a house party in Kabul in 2021. Back against a wall, a series of German journalists interrogated me about my imperialist white denim & asked why OD’s weren’t available in the de-facto uniform of the conflict journalist, fashion-assistant or posing tortured artist: black.
The first pair of O.D Noiret’s went out for testing with me in January of 2022, the 12.5 oz Cone Mills over-dyed denim performed well across Italy, France & the slopes of St. Moritz.
With the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 the OD Noiret prototypes were pressed into 3 months of grueling service covering the war for Esquire. They were one of only 2 pants I packed, & after 5 months of testing, they received their first wash back stateside.
You can order your own pair here.
Myself & a fellow Observer. Ukraine 05 – 22

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Care & Maintenance

Longevity, legacy of use, & patina are the basis for selecting the materials for Observer designs. This has lead me to favor leather & fabric that time imbues with incrementally greater beauty but forgoes the short term performance benefits of synthetic finishes. This places a greater responsibility for care & maintenance on Observers.
The following is my experience based guide on maintaining & preparing your Observer Equipment.
I recommend Observer leather goods be cleaned & treated every 4 months, as non-seasonal designs, & in the hope that they are put to use daily.
All removable straps & accessories should be taken off for cleaning.
A brush down with soft bristle brush should be conducted across the design, a more detailed cleaning along the stitching lines, with special attention paid to fold areas, high abrasion points & folded edges. Avoid brushing the hand painted edges.
While harder to reach cleaning the underside of leather straps is important.
insure to brush out the inside of the product cleaning out any dust & debris that has accumilated
Please note any loosened/ split stitches, fraying edge paint. Both can be serviced by Observer, & often a local cobbler.
After cleaning apply a conditioning treatment gently with a soft clean rag by hand. Use medium even force when applying. After allowing time to dry any excess should be removed, & a lighter second layer can be applied if needed.
regardless of the brand of conditioner 12 hours minimum rest time should be allowed for the design to fully absorb the treatment. Mind your clothes after a cleaning. But not too much.
I base the following maintenance guides on age & operating environment.
Initial treatment (4, 8 months):
I recommend Saphir Huile De Vision (Mink Oil) which conditions leather against dryness & cracking but effects the color less than any other product I have tried, & leaves no residue rendering a even, matte finish. Mink Oil however does almost nothing for preventing stains from rain.
Rainy and high humidity environments ( or 8 months +)
For wet weather environments, or approaching a year of heavy use I recommend Pecard’s Motorcycle Leather dressing. This dressing both restores and conditions leather as well as defends it against rain & humidity. This will darken your leather noticeably, but draw out a greater patina.
Well worn designs ( 2 years + )
For well & heavily worn Observer designs I recommend Pecard’s Antique Leather Dressing. Used by many museums to preserve archival pieces this gently conditions, draws out Patina but does not overly soften the leather which is better for longevity.