Denim veteran Christine Rucci, otherwise known as Godmother NYC, is putting more than three decades of denim expertise to the test with a new collaborative venture.
Together with artist Johnny Germano, founder of apparel brand Down to Earth Original, and with skateboard maker Ben Williams of 4221 Project, the trio will debut a new brand collaboration at New York’s Denim Days Festival on June 9. The small collection of apparel and skateboards, called Down to Earth Original Denim and Decks, will combine the three founders’ passions and serve children’s charities in New York City.
The line will feature a “tightly edited collection consisting of jeans, jean jackets, T-shirts, hats and some accessories” in addition to the skateboards, all made locally with sustainable fabrics and processes, Rucci explained.
Spurred by Germano’s passion for youth mentorship and urban farming (which Down to Earth Originals supports with 10 percent of its sales), the collaboration will benefit New York City non-profits NYC Grows and Harlem Grown.
In addition to teaching New York’s youth about nutrition, Rucci said the partnership with those charities will enable them to grow small plots of indigo, which will be harvested to be made into dyes by Stony Creek Colors. Those dyes will be used in future collections.
Denim products will be manufactured in the city’s Garment District with help from the local Williamsburg Garment Company. Pieces will be hand-cut and individually sewn on Union Special machines.
The line’s soft launch at the Denim Days Festival will include original artwork from Germano made with Recycrom pigments derived from old denim. One hand-painted, indigo-dyed skateboard will be raffled off at the event, and the proceeds will be donated to Harlem Grown.
“This has been a very unique platform to combine both of my passions, art and environmental sustainability,” Germano said.
“The majority of consumer dependent industries have began to shift their focus towards environmental sustainability and consciousness through the use of ethical and responsible practices that don’t pose a threat to planet Earth. Within the art industry there is a tremendous amount of room for this growth,” he added.
The brand will await the next natural indigo harvest before officially launching the full collection at a future date, according to Rucci.
Down to Earth Denim and Decks will be sponsored by a handful of denim and apparel industry stalwarts including Cone Denim Mills, Stony Creek Colors, Officina 39, Create a Marker NYC, A&E, Williamsburg Garment Company, YKK Fastening and Made in NYC.