Since stories are our trade, The Seafarer is right up our ally. Here is a jean company that was started in Brooklyn, NY in about 1900 by an Italian immigrant named Tony Anzalone. Tony, a tailor, sought to make his business making better bottoms for his fellow seamen in the nearby navy yard – the bell, which could be hiked-up easily when washing a ship’s deck, was the ticket, he thought. And he was right. In time, Seagoing Tony, as legend says he was called, would supply jeans to the U.S. naval forces. There’s a letter in the company archive from one sailor swearing that a bunch of Seafarers knotted together to make a rope helped rescue him from drowning. And there are probably hundreds of other sunken treasures – stories just like that one – which might never be recovered, we’re sure.
Decades later, in the 1960s, thousands of Seafarers found their way to army surplus stores, and hippies and celebrities like Jane Birkin (above), Brigitte Bardot, and Farrah Fawcett bought them up – they were so inexpensive! They were so flattering! – and made them fashionable. Groovy pairs with spiraling studs are now in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
AHOY! Looks from the Seafarer Fall ’14 collection, coming soon.
Today, Seafarers, which re-launched a few seasons ago under new co-owner Massimiliano Tabacchi’s keen business direction, are being sold online at sites like Shopbop and TheCorner.com. Mind you, these new versions of the classic flare are a significant upgrade on the original. They debuted at Colette in Paris during the couture last summer, and being made in Italy from Italian-milled denim, they’re about as beautiful a jean as we’ve ever seen. “It’s really like a trouser,” Tabacchi said about all of the line’s styles – from the wider Sailor to the curvier Circe bell. “It’s not traditional. It’s casual because it’s denim, but women can really wear it like pants.” Some of the Spring ’14 collection, which isn’t just limited to jeans but includes other nautical classics (pea coat, striped tee, button down), is currently on sale (shop the steals below), while fall (above) comes ashore in August. To sum it up in a single ocean-themed idiom: The Seafarer totally floats our boat.