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August 22 2014

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A Denim Intervention

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You can ignore signs, portents, and hints, sailing blissfully along on that fabled river in Egypt. But it’s harder to ignore your knee, when it makes an inappropriate appearance in the middle of a meeting at your office, through a fresh hole in your favorite, ancient pair of jeans.

I had to admit that my Levi’s had seen better days. Weekly wear for the better part of eight years had reduced them to a perfect, impossible-to-replicate color and the silky thinness of a French crepe. The waistband had disintegrated into near nothingness on the left side, the new knee-hole joined a few others I’d been studiously not noticing, and the back pockets offered previews of my wallet through hard-won slits.

I wasn’t alone. “Everyone has that favorite pair,” says Francine Rabinovich, the owner of Denim Therapy, a denim repair service. A former brand consultant, Rabinovich founded the company out of personal need: No one would fix her tatty jeans as seamlessly as she wanted. She began the company as a side project at the beginning of 2006; when it outgrew that, she devoted herself to it entirely. Over the last year, she’s seen 100 percent growth.

The company will do everything from small repairs and restitching (crotch blowouts are the most common) to full-on resizing, as well as monogramming. (A new cutoff service, to take your full-length jeans to raw-edged shorts, launches soon; scoff if you will, but getting the right cut on your cutoffs is harder than it looks.) The process is done manually, in specialized sewing machines, on site in New York by Rabinovich’s small staff. Repairs start at $7 per inch for tears, holes, and reinforcing, and going up for rivet, button, and zipper replacements, hems, and more. If you can think to ask for it, there’s a decent chance Denim Therapy can do it, and that they’ve already done harder jobs. “We’ve had people who have been in motorcycle accidents,” Rabinovich says. “The ambulance has had to tear the jeans in half over the legs.” Denim and driver are both intact now and reported to be doing nicely.

The proof for me was in my jeans, which came back as seamlessly as I could’ve hoped. The resewn areas are still a bit stiffer than the rest of the pants, but the repairs are all but unnoticeable to the untrained eye. Happily, you can now say the same of my knee, too.

For pricing and information, visit www.denimtherapy.com.

Photos: John Aquino and Thomas Iannacone

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