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Trinidad3 Jeans Takes on Hollywood, Adaptive Denim Market

Trinidad3 Jeans founder Trinidad Garcia III is giving new meaning to the phrase “Hollywood marine.” Used among his military friends as an endearing nickname for marines who train in Los Angeles, the joke turned literal when Garcia was invited to manage costume design for a soon-to-be-released film, “MVP.”

Based on true events, the film follows the story of a homeless veteran and a recently retired NFL player who struggle to find purpose in their next stages of life—a concept that mirrors that of veterans-focused nonprofit organization (and the film’s namesake) Merging Vets with Players. Nate Boyer, the organization’s founder and a Trinidad3 Jeans partner, directed and starred in the movie and tapped Garcia for the project.

“Being a part of this was just mind-blowing. The movie really talks to the work that we do within the veteran community,” Garcia told Rivet. “So when Nate approached me with the idea, I knew we had to do it.’”

Trinidad3 Jeans denim and T-shirts appear throughout the film, with the brand’s signature red waistband and branded tops on full display. According to Garcia, jeans are worn almost constantly by Boyer and co-star Mo McRae of “Sons of Anarchy,” and a logo T-shirt gets about 15 minutes of screen time.

“If someone was on screen in denim, it was Trinidad3,” Garcia said.

The FIDM alum plans to contribute the film’s costumes to the FIDM Museum and Library, Inc. to help elevate the Student Veterans of America chapter at the college.

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“When the movie releases, it’s going to make a huge impact—not only in the veteran space, but also for professional athletes that transition out of that world and have a hard time feeling normal again,” he said. “There’s something that happens when the uniform comes off on both sides, and this movie and organization help bring awareness to that.”

While details surrounding the film’s release are still to be determined, the brand’s fame is likely to extend beyond 15 minutes. Now in its fifth year, Trinidad3 Jeans is gaining traction in the denim space, currently sold in more than 60 stores including Nordstrom and, later this year, Rothmans, the upscale Manhattan men’s wear boutique. It’s expanding into women’s, with six core fits slated to release later this year.

Garcia noted that, within the second week of this year’s trade shows, the brand surpassed its sales from the previous year. It has a high customer retention rate, with its core customer group of veterans and athletes remaining loyal to the brand year after year.

The veteran-produced label appeals to other former military members for more than just optics. One of the brand’s most notable pieces is the Barron jean, an adaptive slim-fit men’s jean that accommodates prosthetic limbs. Named after veteran Josue Barron, who was injured during duty, it features zippers on each leg that extend from the pocket down to the kneecap so wearers can make adjustments as they sit and stand up. The piece was so popular that Garcia is now working to design a jean for U.S. marine Kirstie Ennis, who lost her leg in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, and plans to create an entire adaptive program for individuals with prosthetic limbs.

While the design process typically starts with reinterpreting a standard jean for differently abled individuals, Garcia took a different approach, starting with an adaptive jean and working backwards.

“My goal is to create a jean that will work for both amputees and non-amputees,” he said. “Imagine if differently abled people could comfortably wear the same jeans as people without disabilities. I want to unify these groups through denim.”

Designing for prosthetics has proven to be a challenge for Garcia, who has been studying up on their different shapes and sizes. He noted that denim’s new cycle of looser fits, combined with the increasing popularity of zippers, has helped alleviate some of the obstacles in adaptive design.

Spoken like a true marine, Garcia said he welcomes a good challenge.

“When you have purpose, it really helps you get through anything,” he said. “We have a mission to accomplish.”