Q&A with Alex Swords aka @kill_your_jeans
What’s your story
Name: Alex Swords
Birth year: 1981
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Alex’s Instagram Routines
Thomas: How did it all start with your Instagram feed?
Alex: I think it was just a natural transition from using Facebook and being a part of the “Raw Denim” group. I had a bunch of denim related-pics and I wanted to share them all in one place so, Instagram seemed like the most logical choice.
T: Why Instagram? What are your goals?
A: After creating the @kill_your_jeans account, I basically went through and looked at tons of different denim/leather accounts and followed a number of brand pages and other personal denim accounts.
I realized how much larger the denim community was through Instagram than Facebook and I really liked being able to talk to so many different people about their experiences with different brands, fits, material, and techniques.
I guess my main goal with Instagram is to meet like-minded people from around the world; to have conversations about and learn more about this lifestyle that revolves around denim, leather and silver and the quality craftsmanship it takes to makes products that endure time. And, of course, the joy of watching everyone’s denim evolution!
T: How much time do you spend on Instagram on a daily basis?
A: My girlfriend would say way too much, and she’s probably right. I’m not alone here.
T: How do you take your photos?
A: I usually just snap pics by myself and sometimes my girlfriend will take a few shots, but only after she makes fun of me first. She’s really great at it though, so it’s all good.
T: Which tools do you use?
A: The only tool I have is a little gorilla tripod thing that holds my iPhone X. It’s got a remote, which helps a lot.
At first, it was always just set the timer on the phone and run back and forth trying to get a shot. I can’t tell you how many weird looks I’ve gotten from people while doing this.
T: What’s your editorial flow?
A: No planning, no calendar, I guess I’ll try to post if it’s ‘Fade Friday or ‘Selvedge Sunday’ or if I notice the fades are popping that day, lol. Other than that, no real rhythm or reason. I don’t ever want it to feel like a chore.
T: What are your favourite locations to take photos? And why?
A: I think it depends on the day, but I really enjoy shooting in the mountains. There’s something about denim and leather and the outdoors that just feels right.
I don’t have any cool urban places to shoot close by so I find myself wandering around outside appreciating nature.
If you’re into nature shots, you need to follow my dude @denim_rambler. He recently moved his entire family from Kentucky or somewhere like that to Alaska!!?? I don’t know anyone else posting pics from the inside of a Glacial Cave, it’s incredible!
Alex’s Denim Style and Preferences
T: How did you get into denim?
A: I have no idea!!? Haha!
I think I bought a pair of generic whatever jeans a few years ago and noticed an outseam detail I hadn’t seen before. It made me curious and I googled different types of denim, discovered the term ‘selvedge,’ and it sent me down the rabbit hole, so to speak.
I immediately gravitated towards Japanese denim but wasn’t about to drop $300 on a pair of jeans! I think my first selvedge denim purchase was a pair of Naked & Famous, and after buying and selling a few pairs, trying to find a good fit, I picked up a pair of Elephant 4s. I knew I was into heavyweight denim and I really liked double indigo.
After that, I started figuring out what cuts and materials worked for me. I gradually started buying more expensive denim. It was a slow and frustrating process, but I bought and sold literally dozens of different brands and styles and weights, from Brave Star, 3sixteen, SoSo, Rogue Territory, Oni, Tanuki; all great brands but I was continually searching for ‘the perfect pair.’
In January 2018, I finally ended up purchasing the 18 oz. Pure Blue Japan x Blue Owl Workshop collab jeans in a double indigo x black overdye in a slim taper cut and that was it. I realized I hadn’t ever had a fit this perfect for my body, and it made all the difference in the world.
This one pair caused me to sell every other pair I owned because nothing fit like these and I didn’t want to wear anything else. They were the first pair I ever put any serious time into and I was humbled to win the year-long fade contest Blue Owl designed the jeans around! I wore them for a year straight pretty much every day and never washed them, only giving them three soaks along the way and the fade results were wild!
After the contest ended, I bought a pair of Iron Hearts and entered a whole new realm of high-end denim. There is without a doubt many reasons why they are so highly regarded. I have yet to find their rival in construction and commitment to quality, not only in the product but in customer service as well as a dedicated community of die-hard fans. Just visit the Iron Heart forum and you’ll understand what I’m talking about! Iron Heart has quickly become an obsession of mine and I don’t mind that one bit.
Suggested further reading: How Iron Heart Became a Denimhead Favourite
I’m currently wearing a pair of Iron Heart 555XHSib 25 oz. Indigo x Black for another year-long contest through Facebook started by @denimstrummer. If anyone wants to follow the contest on Instagram, you can follow the hashtag #indigoinvitational2019 – there’s also an Instagram and a Facebook page.
T: What’s your favourite feature of jeans?
A: I’m fascinated with the evolution process of raw denim and I love how every little variable can change the end result.
T: How do you wash your denim?
A: I have yet to wash a pair of denim. I’ve only ever soaked and hung dry.
T: What’s your favourite denim brand?
T: What’s your favourite fit? And why?
A: For me, it’s all about body type. I’m a slim guy so I wear slim cuts. Either slim straight or slim taper. My favorite cuts are Pure Blue Japan’s XX-013 “slim taper” and from Iron Heart the 555 or the 777.
T: Which boots and leather goods do you wear with your denim?
A: Being from Boulder, I’m spoiled to have Truman Boot Co. about five minutes away. I love everything they do. If you’ve never tried a pair, you should.
For belts, Pigeon Tree Crafting hands down.
I’m currently trying to track down a Real McCoy’s Buco J24-L – definitely a ‘grail jacket.’ If anyone has a size 40 laying around, let a homie know!
T: Which sneakers do you wear?
T: Favourite item that’s not denim or leather?
A: Most definitely anything from Good Art Hlywd. Josh Warner and his team do not f*ck around when it comes to making quality goods.
And then probably my skateboard. It’s something that’s been a part of my life for close to 30 years.
Jay Adams once said:
“You didn’t quit skateboarding because you got old, you got old because you quit skateboarding”
T: Where do you buy your gear?
A: I try to support my local shops, so Canoe Club in Boulder, Berkeley Supply in Denver, and every now and then I’ll get lucky with a Grailed buy. And I spend a lot of time on the Iron Heart Forum watching and learning and they have a great buy/sell page there as well.
T: What’s your monthly clothing budget?
A: Budget? It’s mostly just chaotic impulse followed by fingernail biting and then figuring out whether or not I really need to eat for the rest of the month.
T: What styling tips would you give your followers if they wanted your style?
A: For me, fit is everything. It can be a bit tedious finding what works and what doesn’t, but worth it in the end.
Other than that, just be yourself and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. After all, we’re just a bunch of guys and gals watching each other wear pants.