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#TBT: Alberto De Conti Was Tuned Into Denim at a Young Age

Throwback photos stir up laughs, memories and—for denim heads—a wealth of vintage denim inspiration. This weekly column on Rivet asks individuals in the denim industry to take a look back and reminisce about a denim moment in time captured on film.

This week, Alberto De Conti, head of Rudolf Fashion Division, shares a memory of “Jesus” jeans, a brand rooted in rebellion. He would go on to channel that rebellion for good and become a leader in denim innovation.

De Conti started his career studying enzymes used for stonewashing denim in the mid ’90s. His roles that followed also combined fashion and science, thus solidifying his niche in the industry. Today, he heads up Hub1922 within the Rudolf Group, where he merges German engineering and Italian style.

Alberto De Conti, head of Rudolf fashion division

This picture was taken in 1973 when I was 5 years old wearing my very first pair of jeans. I wanted them so badly, and since they were affordable and didn’t have to be washed or ironed often, my mom was happy to buy them for me.

In May that year, the denim brand “Jesus” was launched. The name, already blasphemous in 1970s Italy, was made even more desecrating by photographer Oliviero Toscani’s close-up of a provocative female butt wrapped in hot pants. That denim imagery was authentic revolution, and it made me feel truly special when I had my jeans on. Fifty years later, I still very much do.