A WORK OF WEARABLE ART: SWEET JOEY’S $300 JEANS
From work to play, jeans are the area’s every-season fashion staple.
Sweet Joey’s, a select vintage men’s and women’s clothing and accessories store on Bangs Avenue, has become the ultimate resource for the best in custom-made denim for New York City stylistas as well as everyday jean junkies.
I spoke with “Sweet” Joey Pisch and Vlado Pisch, Joey’s ultimate-craftsman-slash-artist-slash-tailor father about what makes his $300 jeans so desirable.
TBP: Your Vlad-branded jeans are like a sculpture, a work of wearable art.
Joey: Dad does 10 measurements for every customer… in centimeters, which is more precise. He uses moving measurements so the jeans are more comfortable in the stretch of the muscle. And he does not put a big leather patch on the back because that messes with the movement of the garment.
We use raw denim that contours to the character of your body.
TBP: What is the process?
Vlado: The jeans are made for you in every way with your input and to your specifications. It helps to know what you are going to do with the jeans – will you work in them, go to great dinners in them, skateboard in them or dance in them?
You choose from different pocket samples and pick what color thread for the top stitch. We have vintage buttons, rivets and denim to choose from as well as the best quality new mid and heavy weight denim from the garment district. If you don’t want to make the choices, we can help you.
TBP: Vlado, jean-making is in your blood. Your eyes light up when you talk about jeans.
Vlado: I come from a long line of garmentos. My grandfather was the most successful tailor in the former Czechoslovakia and my father knew how to sew.
I have been making jeans since I was a little kid. In the 1970’s in Czechoslovakia, jeans cost a month’s salary so I started making them for myself and then my friends which helped with income for my family. I made hundreds of jeans when I was younger.
We escaped the communists in 1995 and eventually made our way to New Jersey. I was in my early 30’s and already had two spoiled kids.
I put my sewing machine away for years to raise a family but always missed working with denim. Denim is what I like to do. Denim is what I do. When Joey said he wanted to open this store, I was happy to make this a family business.
TBP: A lot of people swear by your jeans including one friend, a doctor, who has you making white canvas “jeans” that he can wear to work. Today, at your one-year anniversary you have a cult-like following and are expanding a bit.
Joey: Beyond the denim and vintage clothes, I make jewelry and feature special items I find on my travels. We are now selling denim aprons. Also, we do denim repair here. If you blow out the knee or the crotch to your favorite pair of jeans, we can repair them to look like new.
People have an emotional attachment to their jeans and if anybody understands why, it is us.
For more info, check out SweetJoeys.com.