The classic pair of denim jeans has been a staple item in the average person’s wardrobe for the last 100 years. Most of us are familiar with denim’s history and rise to popularity from functionality. From the humble work wear for cowboys, which then became popular with teenagers by the mid 50s, denim is the fashion world’s success story.
Over the years, styles, cuts, colours, and design processes have changed to suit consumer’s wants and needs. In all my shopping years, I can honestly say that I totally dread purchasing jeans. Taking the ‘high-street’ route and buying jeans off-the-peg style to save money and often time has always been my quick-fix solution. In my opinion, purchasing denim from the established and often worldwide fashion chain stores can mean a reasonable price but a drop in quality. I have decided to take a look at the independent stores in Prague which provide men’s denim.
There are a few shops in the city that you can visit to get a quality pair of strides with advice and sometimes ‘the back story’ of the jeans you’ll potentially purchase. The tag price will be considerably higher, but so is the quality and service. So whether you’re looking for Japanese selvage or vintage customized or just a plain pair of loose fits, I’m sure that this article will provide some new options for those wanting to venture outside of the mainstream denim road.
Panská 5, Prague 1
Cartoon has been operating in the ‘street wear’ market since 2001. There are currently two Cartoon stores in Prague. Both are located in the centre of the city. I have always visited the smaller store on Rybná. The cosy shop is crammed full of interesting and fresh designs. Cartoon stocks and focuses on selling the extremely successful Carhartt brand. Essentially, Cartoon operates an ‘independent’ Carhartt store.
Carhartt is an American brand which specialized in providing men’s workwear during the 1890s. The brand became hugely successful in the mid 1990s when workwear became street wear popular among skateboarders and hip hop stars alike. Carhartt’s history with denim as a work garment means that their jeans have that all-important indestructible element. Cartoon stock shed loads of Carhartt jeans. All Carhartt sizes and fits are either on hand in the store or possible to order at no extra cost to the customer.
Carhartt jeans start at 1990 CZK and come in a variety of shapes and, of course, sizes. Cartoon also stock WESC & Stussy. WESC (We are the Superlative Conspiracy), or ‘We’ as they’re known, have a similar vibe and style to Carhartt and fits and looks well alongside it. WESC have a slightly more stylish look and tend to stock more fitted and formal in comparison to Carhartt’s laid back work-inspired fit. WESC specialize in providing men’s 5-pocket jeans. They come in anti-fit, low crotch, slim leg, regular, and super slim fit in a range of washes and dark colours.
The staff at Cartoon is young and friendly. The members in the Rybná branch tend to have limited English skills but are always keen to help and assist when necessary. Cartoon stores are always well stocked with the season’s designs and cuts. You’ll find a friendly atmosphere reminiscent of your local UK skate shop back in the 90’s.
Key words: Carhartt, Friendly, Skate style, WeSC
Rivet Scale: ★★½
Dušní 13, Praha 1 (now online only)
Kebab is a spacious store located on Dušní street in the centre of the city. Kebab caters to Prague’s hipster community, providing items from some of the younger, newer successful street wear brands currently operating in the market.
The fair-sized and centrally located Kebab store was a meeting place for Prague’s ever growing hipster scene. Alas, Kebab closed the door to its physical store a while back opting to take their business to the online world. Their stock focuses on the British brand Supreme Being. Supreme Being have been producing middle-of-the-road mainline pieces with very basic shapes & cuts. The current Kebab website is lacking in stock, but I think it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.
Key Words: Fresh, New brands, Supreme Being, central location, spacious store
Rivet Scale: ★★
Rytířská 10, Prague 1,
28.října 7, Prague 1,
Pařížská 5, Prague 1
The Address Idea have three stores in Prague, which are all located in fairly central locations around the city. Their Enter The Address store, located on 28.října (off Wenceslas Square), is the best store to visit for denim. The Italian-owned independent specializes in vintage garments so get ready to dig a little in the piles of roughed up Levis.
Enter The Address Idea also stock current pieces from Swedish brand Cheap Monday and the Italian/French brand Hells Bells. Both of these brands are known in the denim world for providing skinny or super-slim fitting jeans. Their sizing is small and should only be considered by the slighter-shaped shopper. Enter The Address Idea stock a range of the season’s colours in smaller waist sizes only. Both Cheap Monday & Hells Bells jeans start at 1200 CZK.
Many might be slightly intimidated by Enter The Address, but it’s a really cool space with lots of fashionable, young employees milling around effortlessly wearing the labels stocked in-store, almost like living, moving mannequins! I had often overlooked this store when thinking about or actually purchasing a new pair of jeans, but after recent trips I found the staff friendly, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, English-speaking!
They have a wide range of vintage Levi 501’s (full length and shorts) which vary in both price and age. The store’s USP is their item customization. All of the shop assistants have creative capabilities and often customize items in store, giving each garment (be it a pair of vintage jeans or brand new ones sold in-store) a fresh and unique look.
Punk-style studs have been the custom item of the season world-wide; if you’re looking for some studded additions to your denim or any kind of customization, then this is the place to go. You have the opportunity to consult with the staff on your desired effect with magazine articles, examples, or descriptions to get to your dream customized pair of jeans. An interesting concept in a friendly and creative environment!
The Address Idea is worth checking out. But bear in mind that their sizes for the non-vintage items tend to be rather small, which in my opinion is the store’s only drawback.
Key words: Vintage denim, customized items, friendly, knowledgeable, creative, laid back, Skinny fit
Rivet Scale: ★★★½
U Půjčovny 6, Prague 1
Queens have been selling sneakers and streetwear for about five years from its snug shop close to Hlavní nádraží. Previously, Queens were well-known for providing garments for Prague’s ever growing ‘hip hop contingency’ (think over-sized sweat suits and faux gold chains!) These days, the store stocks a happy balance of the above mentioned style alongside slightly more mature streetwear brands like the American based LRG & The Hundreds.
Queens stock The Hundreds jeans in a range of sizes and colour washes in both loose and relaxed fits. The Hundreds jeans start at 1890 CZK and go up to 2550 CZK. The Hundreds denim is basic with a back pocket design on all styles and shapes. The brand has enjoyed success and popularity in the US by combining style and quality. The prices for The Hundreds denim in Queens is pretty reasonable considering that buying direct from The Hundreds website would incur potentially high shipping taxes.
The other main denim brand at Queens is LRG, another US brand which has grown and evolved from its hip hop roots. LRG’s denim tends to be on the larger/baggier side, often with elaborate back pocket or front panel designs. Queens LRG jeans are priced at the 2000 CZK range and are stocked in a range of sizes and ‘street’ designs. The staff at Queens is young and fairly knowledgeable. The store is geared towards the younger customer but worth a visit regardless of your age!
Key words: hip hop style, loose fit, sensible sizes, standard prices, young atmosphere
Rivet Scale: ★★½
Ramova 3, Prague 1 (Old Town Sq)
Demin Heads is, in my opinion, the best denim store in the city. With the pleasant Jakub Berdych designed floor space off Prague Old Town square literally overflowing with high-quality denim from around the world. Denim Heads opened its doors six months ago, stocking some of the most progressive and interesting denim brands in the market.
I met with the store’s manager Jan to get a brief tour of the shop and the labels it stocks. The 55 square-metre space holds a number of brands, such as Swedish brand Indigofera, who pride themselves on producing high-quality garments with attention to detail and emphasis on craftsmanship. Their rough-textured jeans are to be bought and worn continuously for three months straight without washing in order for the denim to take shape around your legs and waist. The result is a pair of jeans suited to your particular body shape and movement. Prices start at 3300 CZK and go up to 7500 CZK.
Jan at Denim Heads has a deep knowledge of the products on sale and was able to give me an interesting back story on each brand and piece on offer in-store. Looking for denim with a difference? Perhaps some gun powder-infused jeans which require 6-9 months of constant wear and non-washing to get the full beauty of the denim. Or maybe some raw salvage denim from fellow Swedes Denim Demon, who have produced a pair of jeans based on pairs worn by Swedish reindeer farmers. Authentic down to the wears and tears of the original pair!
Denim Heads know their stuff. The store has a relaxed and open feel, where customers are encouraged to take time out to look through the selection of fashion/style magazines on offer to find ‘the look’ they’re after. A great shop with well-thought-out brands which fit well alongside each other. Be prepared to spend a little money, but for denim that will last with a back story at no extra cost!
Key words: Classic, limited sizes, limited stock, higher prices, very friendly atmosphere, very knowledgeable staff
Rivet Scale: ★★★★
Disclaimer: all prices quoted correct at time of publishing.