Parasuco Jeans on 40 years in business and the return to the US market
The statement “Parasuco is back” is very misleading and can be deemed false. The Canadian denim brand has been an innovator since it was founded in 1975 as Santana Jeans, and it continues to push the envelope and influence jeans designs to this day. Parasuco Jeans stepped away from the US market for some time until this year when it appeared at Project in New York City and recently at Project in Las Vegas.
Parasuco’s latest denim and jeans offering is just as forward thinking as past styles. New silhouettes have been introduced for Spring 2017 like drop crotch jeans as well as new fly closures and details. The standout piece for men is definitely the intricately designed black jeans that were painted and distressed by hand. For women, Parasuco has leather jeans options that retain the world famous “Parasuco butt”.
The Canadian brand has been at the forefront of denim innovation for decades. Parasuco was one of the first brands to make jeans fashionable and was the first to introduce stretch denim and over-dyeing. Founder Salvatore Parasuco spoke about when a manufacturer kicked him out of a mill for requesting stretch denim at the age of 22, and yet today most denim brands incorporate stretch fabrics and use stretch denim as a selling point. Salvatore eventually produced the stretch fabric in Japan for women as early as 1976 and later for men in the 90s.
Going against the grain has brought major success for the brand, opting for what feels right as opposed to chasing trends. Salvatore said, “Our collection is something new every month. We don’t believe in a full inclusive lifestyle collection anymore. It’s difficult to sell every item; we do independent items that go well together. I started my life like that and they said that’s not the way to work, and lo and behold the smart brands are going back.”
One designer following suit is Karen Walker, who announced in May that she will no longer adhere to the fashion calendar in order to find her “rhythm”. Walker explained that her collections will vary in size depending on the season.
Why is Parasuco selling in the US again? Salvatore believes that this is the right time. “We’re ready structurally, financially and in design, and we have the right timing for units. We’re seeing growth in the US. It slowed and we pulled back because of distribution channels that forced us to reposition the brand. Making it in the US helps you make it everywhere in the world.”
He added that the brand has caught the attention of the Asia market and recently shipped to 50 stores in Hong Kong and China. “You have to focus on letting your work do the talking,” he said. “You’re only as good as your work.”
Salvatore moved to Montreal from his native Italy at a very young age. In 1975, he launched Santana Jeans, which birthed a number of denim trends and finishes including acid wash, sandblasting and black over-dyed denim. Salvatore was very inspired by the 1970s and 1980s discos and often designed with club goers in mind. He also thought ahead and filed patents and trademarks for his designs and details like the signature back-pocket stitch.
The brand caught the attention of numerous celebrities like George Benson, which pushed sales tremendously, and later dressed N’SYNC, the Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion and Sean Paul in the 1990s and 2000s when the brand took on the name Parasuco Jeans.
With Parasuco reaching the other side of 40 years, Salvatore remains driven due to all of his travel experiences as well as the people he meets that love the brand.
“Everyone has a Parasuco story,” he said. “We were at Project 2 years ago and I met someone from LA that started his own denim brand. He said ‘I’m a refugee from Senegal and when I came to America in the 80s, your denim jacket with the leather sleeves got me through my crisis in this country.’ The jacket made him feel right, encouraged and proud. My best is every time I run into people wearing my stuff and they love and talk about.”
Parasuco’s re-introduction in the US market may feel like the brand is back, but it’s safe to say that it has never left. The brand is attending Coterie and the Super Show in Milan in September.
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