Filmmaker Christian D. Brunn admits his exploration of the world of jeans might “in some ways be a too little much.” After all, Brunn’s jeans journey had him skipping around the globe, delving into the intense fashion subculture of jeans for years. But the result — his newly-released “Blue Gold: American Jeans” — is an attention grabber that gets people thinking, and talking.
Certainly, the story is bigger than he initially imagined. As Brunn recounts, his interest was sparked when “I went out to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena one Sunday at four in the morning. There was a line of people, 30 per cent Japanese kids, and as soon as it opened, everyone went rushing over to this one area where there were jeans. They were just sorting through these jeans at a rapid pace. I spent a few hours and these designers from Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie and Fitch were there, and they were spending, like $10,000, $5,000 on a pair of vintage jeans. And then there were these Japanese collectors who fly in every month just to come there and buy.”
A few weeks later, the Danish producer/director/curator was “in Tokyo on post production on another movie I was doing. I heard there was a denim sale going on, and I went out to see it — it was next to an American military base — and there were all the same guys buying.
“There was this whole international kind of thing going on — a big deal.”
Bruun envisioned telling a filmic story of jeans in the fashion world, with such tantalizing moments as “Ralph Lauren copying a rust stain from 1890.”
However, he goes on, “Then I realized, every generation has their jeans, everyone has their jeans story and it just got bigger and bigger, and I ended up filming for like five years.”
He could have made “Blue Gold” into a multi-part series, he says. A whole episode could have been devoted to “rodeos and cowboys,” for example.
“I grew up in Denmark and always had a fascination for America and the rest of the world. In Denmark, jeans are called ‘cowboy pants.’ Not jeans. The same thing with Mandarin and Spanish. Half the world calls them ‘cowboy pants.’ Except, as I learned, cowboys never wore them. Back in the day you couldnn’t ride in them,” he notes. “But Hollywood put jeans on the cowboys in the movies — starting with ‘The Great Train Robbery’ in 1906. John Wayne wore them. And then rodeo stars wanted to be cool and wear jeans like the guys in the movies. And then the jeans companies redesigned them so that you could ride in them. The real world copied the myth.”
Nowadays, Bruun — who has other projects in the works including a documentary on New York’s unique “Fashion Calendar” — wears jeans pretty much every day. He has somewhere between 30-40 pairs. His infatuation has not waned, and he’s still intrigued by “Why we’re all in love with them so.”
Well, we may not all be in love, but this seat of the pants reflection is a welcome change of pace from the news of the day, that’s for sure.
“Blue Gold” is now available on VOD, DVD and Blu Ray — US order link: http://apple.co/2lipHPZ