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AUGUST 26, 2006
bya denim


This September, a new denim line for men and women will debut in stores throughout Chicago and its neighboring states, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. bya Denim, launched by CEO Glen Schwartz and designer Stiles Anderson, is possibly the first-ever Chicago-based denim brand and it's freaking hot.

Glen and Stiles came by my place earlier today so I could try on the two men's styles: Emmet and Aiden. Both styles will come in two different washes, but each pair will have its own unique touches. The guys have been working toward this launch for close to two years and are, surprisingly, pretty relaxed. The jeans, as Stiles said, "are just a pair of jeans" that talk to the everyday person who wants a great pair of quality denim without all the bullshit enhancements and embellishments. The main difference: each pair of bya is handmade over the course of 6-8 hours and has a truly great wash.

Putting on both styles, I immediately was sold. They fit better than almost any pair of jeans I've tried on in the last couple of years (save a couple of G-Stars I have), and while one was a lower-rise boot cut (Emmet), it didn't encroach on my mid-section (read: package) like so many others do. They fit perfectly in the thigh and are long enough that I can take them to a local tailor and have them hemmed to my length. And while the Aiden had slight distressing in the upper thigh, it didn't bother me because, honestly, they made my ass look great -- and what better reason to buy a pair of jeans than ones that show off your assets?

bya, which stands for Billions of Years Ago, is one of a handful of denim lines being produced at Sights Denim Systems out of Kentucky (along with RRL and Levi's Vintage). Stiles, who is only 24 and used to work in the financial world, has added some great touches that make the denim characteristically bya, like the signature antique-looking button* (shown) and the green patchwork lining the inside of the pockets, a pattern Stiles modeled after one he saw on a chair at his grandparent's house.

bya will have a soft launch, producing only about 300 pairs of men's denim for September and will ramp up from there. The men's jeans, which will range from $185-$220, will be available starting Sept. 15.

* more on the button, which shows the dedication to the brand, straight from the designer:
"I spent a good 5 months and went through 2 fastener development companies trying to create this button.  Really wanted something authentically aged and unique; the oxidization is different on every piece, so no two buttons are exactly alike.  The best part of the button, and it's really only consciously noticeable by people who know buttons, is that it's the first button where four different elements have been used simultaneously:  (1) Asymmetrical edges used to show age and hammered-on effect, (2) concave surface, and both (3) raised lettering and (4) engraved lettering.  Although most people would not be able to recognize the one-of-a-kind contraction, I think the elements do balance the button and make it visually stimulating."

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