INTERVIEW: Talking Denim with The Denim Guy

INTERVIEW: Talking Denim with The Denim Guy

Wednesday, May 22 2013


At its core, PROJECT is very much a denim business. We sat down with Johnny Pinto, AKA The Denim Guy, to talk trends, fits, and brands doing it well.

To wash, or not to wash. We've heard both theories. Thoughts? You know there is this thing with denim gurus that you are NOT suppose to wash your jeans. Even regular, everyday men do not wash their jeans and it varies from person to person as to why they do not do it. I know for a while I was not washing my raw denim because I wanted to create my own wash but then I was reminded that in order to crate your own wash, you will need to actually wash your denim in order to get that wash to show. So now i wash my raw denim. Oh and to answer the first part... Wash you jeans! It's just gross if you don't! 

How much is too much to spend on denim? In this market that is a hard one to answer because so many people are on a budget and so many premium denim lines are lowering prices to meet that demand.  With the great variety of denim out there, if anyone is spending more that $350 on a pair of jeans, we need to talk because there is no reason to spend that much for denim.

3. What should every guy should ask themselves when trying on a pair of jeans? OH they need to be asking themselves a few questions! So many men (outside of New York) do not know how to shop for denim, so here are some basic questions.

  • How does my ass look? If the denim is hiding that, then try a new fit. It's okay guys... girls want to see it.
  • How do my thighs feel and look?  It's okay for the denim to feel snug in the thigh area the first time but only as long as it's a little and not a lot. But so many men at the first sign of something feeling tight size up and then it's all down hill from there because they are in the wrong size. Buy your correct size and deal with the snug feeling the first time because denim will stretch and mold to you body. Buying a size too big till then make the denim look baggy.
  • Then do a head to toe check. Overall how does this pair of jeans make me look? Denim is suppose to make you feel sexy and enhance what you've got! If they are not doing that then ask a sales associate to help, or email me and I will.

4. What brand is doing it right, and why? To be 100% honest, not one brand is doing everything right. Some are doing good things in one area while others are strong in another. For example, let's look at the big denim brands right now. And the reason I look at big denim brands is because they are the face of the denim industry right now. These new, cool denim brands that are popping up are great, but they have a long way to go before they can dictate trend and direction. So from a men's  denim perspective:

  • Hudson: Doing it right in marketing right now. They are doing some very smart partnerships to get the brand out there and to the next level.
  • JBrand: They've built a strong following for men's denim and the prints and colors they are offering.
  • 7 For All Mankind: Great job at starting to build a denim brand outside of denim (in men's).
  • True Religion: Great job at opening stand alone stores that actually work. 
  • Citizens of Humanity: They get my DOING IT RIGHT for relaunching MEN'S! I mean they always had a men's division, but for a while you didnt hear about it. Now I am starting to hear about it again. 
  • Big Star: Doing it right for the NEXT BIG DENIM BRAND to make it! They're doing some great stuff with men's.

Tips for dressing denim up, and dressing it down? Oh this is easy for me. I live in denim so I can wear it to an interview or to the local donut shop. 

Tips for Dressing Denim up: 

  • Denim should be fitted. Sorry guys, you can't dress up a baggy pair of jeans. 
  • Thrown on a dress shirt, oxford, button down, whatever you want to call it, and instantly dress up. This would be like a middle dress up for a night with the guys and you dont want to be over dressed.
  • If you really, really want to dress denim up: it's all about a TIE (in my opinion). Some dark fitted denim with a clean white dress shirt (fitted of coure). Tuck that bad boy in, throw a skinny tie or bow tie on. Clean Belt. Clean shoes. as for the rest, it's up to the guy. I like to add a simple small v neck light sweater over it. Some guys might like a blazer, but most of the time, I'll try and just go for a nice fitted white shirt. The reason I pick white is because i want the tie to be the outfit. 

Tips for dressing denim down:  Well first thing is you have to be careful when you say dress down. There are days when I'll wear some old, torn up denim with a white v neck and go to the store - but you always want to make sure you look put together! 

  • When in doubt, a CLEAN white V Neck shirt always looks great. (semi fitted).
  • I mean overall, I am always dressed down in denim (don't dress it up very often), so for me it's just my personal day to day style.  A great fitted T shirt, any color, graphics, etc. always looks great with amazing denim. As for the shoes, sneakers are big for me right now. It varies from day to day, but right now I am rotating out some Nike Airs and camo Jack Purcels. One thing I NEVER do anymore is denim and flip flops. NEVER! If you are wearing flip flops, it better be with denim shorts. 

7. You're tattoos are amazing. Tell us about them. OHH THE INK! I have 3 really big important tattoos that mean a lot to me. 1. New York City skyline,  2. L.A. city sky line, and just added 3: a family tree.

Long story short, the tattoos are on my forearms and they are a constant reminder to me of my love/hate relationship with New York City and L.A. because when I am home in L.A., I miss NYC so much. But when i travel to NYC for work, I miss L.A. So anytime i start to miss any coast i just look at my forearm and it gives me great memories of each place.

Now as for the tree, well that jut organically came up. Each bird looks different and is special to a family member.  The tree is placed on the arm where my L.A. city skyline is because L.A. is home, and family is where my heart is.