To Davide Biondi, clothes aren’t just something you wear—they’re a story you tell.
As the owner and designer of Hen’s Teeth, a brand that boasts uniquely handcrafted clothing such as raw selvedge denim, Biondi’s naming convention alone triggers a kind of curiosity that’s not normally directed toward a pair of jeans. It begs the question: What’s the story behind Hen’s Teeth denim?
To understand the brand, it’s important to know the Italian native’s history, which includes various forms of art and rebellion such as rummaging through his father’s wardrobe for timeless pieces and riding his motorcycle—a hobby prevalent in many of Hen’s Teeth’s branding materials.
After working in graphic design, and then fine art, and eventually a large Italian clothing company, Biondi left to create his own line that would feature timeless items produced using authentic manufacturing methods and materials. He started with the Hen’s Teeth Man’s Kit, a €469 ($523) package containing raw jeans, a sweatshirt, a bandana and a pair of socks, and launched his brand as an ode to the rarity of a hen’s tooth.
“The name ‘Hen’s Teeth’ comes from a way of saying that something is rare,” he told Rivet. “My brand will always remain a small brand and therefore not easy to find.”
Hen’s Teeth intentionally flies below the radar. Customers will never see a mass-produced pair of jeans in the line. And while other designers might lose sleep over a stitching imperfection or other design mishap, that’s simply not the case for Biondi.
“I like imperfections if they come from manual processes,” he said. “I always look for craftsmanship in my suppliers. Those who make the pieces must have manual skills.”
And they must be in Italy.
Every part of the process, from sourcing materials to designing pieces and tailoring them, is done locally. Even the fabric, he said, needs to have a story. He uses high quality Italian denim that never goes through washing or distressing processes, as he doesn’t stand for “making fake things that simulate reality.”
He believes the person wearing the jeans should be shaping its unique qualities just as much as—if not more than—the person making them.
“Denim is a living fabric,” he said. “It’s modeled and discolored based on movement and work. A used pair of jeans tells the story of the wearer’s experiences.”
Following that philosophy, each pair of jeans comes with a card—essentially a journal—encouraging the wearer to document wash dates and track the life of the denim. Customers are instructed to wear the jeans as long as possible (six months is the suggested timeline) before they’re first washed, and then again until they’re washed a second time, and so on.
It’s no surprise, then, that Biondi considers the “original” jeans included in the men’s kit to be the most important piece in the collection. Featuring a regular fit and a cinch back, the Hen’s Teeth 13.5 oz. jeans, which retail for €289 ($322), are the foundation on which all of his other pieces were built.
The brand also offers a men’s work pant made of Massaua cotton, as well as a women’s line with jeans, a work pant, dress and accessories. Recently, the brand launched a women’s kit that mirrors the men’s, but replaces the socks with a bandana clip.
What’s next for Hen’s Teeth, according to Biondi, is whatever’s needed. He said this likely will mean a new men’s and women’s shirt, as well as a jacket, for next season. “I will add new fabrics to the styles I already have in the collection,” he said. “Every season, we add what we feel is missing—but only a few pieces, as we want to grow slowly.”
Hen’s Teeth is available online and in stores around Europe and in Japan.