In 2024 there’s no question that jeans have become a genuine status symbol. That the once-humble garment has achieved such a rarefied place in the style hierarchy is largely thanks to one firm: Jacob Cohën, whose continued emphasis on comfort, quality, and craftsmanship has made it the ultimate luxury denim brand.
Despite what some may lead you to believe, Jacob Cohën is Italian through and through, and continues to manufacture its denim in specialist workshops located in the Veneto region. It was founded in 1985 with the mission of elevating jeans to the level of other made-in-Italy luxury goods. The late denim visionary Nicola Bardelle relaunched the brand in 2003, imprinting the garments with his own infectious creativity and bold ideas on what constitutes luxury in the 21st century—a vision that his wife, Jennifer Tommasi Bardelle, continues to advance at the company today.
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The truest vessels of Nicola’s legacy are the jeans themselves. A minimum of 100 hours is required to construct each pair, which begins by sourcing the finest denim from renowned mills in Italy and Japan. The denim is then cut with state-of-the-art-machinery, which first projects a precise laser pattern onto the fabric before an incision is made, ensuring that measurements are accurate to the last millimeter.
At least 10 individualized steps are then required to sew the jeans, which are constructed with a slightly curved belt for superior comfort and a greater range of fit. The linings, as well as the front and back pockets, are sewn by hand. Jacob Cohën maintains a library of 50 distinct, branded labels, which in the case of limited editions are made from fine materials including leather, pony skin, or crocodile, and may sport unique designs evoking a honeycomb pattern or even the traditional Japanese art of kintsugi.
Limited-edition pairs might also benefit from customized patches, treatments, and embroidering, and may even feature hand-lacquered buttons made with diamond dust or semiprecious stones. Equally precious was Nicola’s personal motto, which continues to be embroidered within each pair: “Go to bed with a dream, wake up with a purpose.”
After the jeans have been sewn—and their measurements strictly reviewed for accuracy—the pair will be finished by hand to achieve such effects as fading, distressing, or “whiskering,” dependent on the style’s design. All of this is done while the sewn pair is “worn” by mannequin legs, ensuring that the effects are carried out in proper proportion to the human body.
Following this step, Jacob Cohën jeans are washed in laundries that use pumice stone to give the denim a vintage effect. Through specialized machinery, the denim is colored—utilizing a secret formula for the brand’s signature blue—and then stained and sandblasted. According to the design, the jeans may undergo laser treatments to apply a particular logo or pattern.
Once the jeans have been hand-ironed and accessorized with the Jacob Cohën logo fitting their collection, they receive one final touch that is pure luxury. Each pair is finished with an application of Jacob Cohën’s own perfume, a blend of patchouli and sandalwood that is sprayed directly inside of the jeans by hand.
It’s touches such as these that prove Nicola’s mantra. His dream—jeans made to the highest standards of Italian luxury, without compromising quality at any stage—continues to be realized with each finished pair of Jacob Cohën denim.