Tags: alex mersdorf, bulletprufe, bulletprufe skate denim, casey wilson, company profile, daniel prell, denim, dre powell, grandma prell, jeans, phil gripper, ryan timms, simon johns, soft as butter, stefan brandow, stretch denim, tough as nails, will fisher
How often have you ruined your favorite jeans while out skating? If you're anything like, we're sure that it has happened plenty of times. Charlotte resident Will Fisher got tired of this problem and took the opportunity to start 'Bulletprufe Skate Denim', a company that manufactures jeans exclusively designed to meet the demands of street skaters. We checked in with Will to find out what the deal is with the company and if his jeans are in fact "tough as nails, soft as butter". We also asked Bulletprufe team rider Daniel Prell if his grandma approves of his new jeans.
Interviews by Matthis Lapaire
Photos by Will Fisher, Alex Mersdorf and Daniel Prell
What motivated you to start Bulletprufe?
I started Bulletprufe because I was tired of constantly shredding my jeans. I got into skating back in probably 1990 and over the past 20 years the skates, and the skating, have dramatically progressed. But the jeans we all wear are still the same as they were 150 years ago. And, while they may look and fit great, they just can't handle the abuse. I have a closet full of ripped jeans, as I'm sure most of your readers do, too, and I knew there had to be a better way.
Where do you get your inspiration for your products?
We are really trying to create a new paradigm; jeans as performance wear, as opposed to simply fashion. You wouldn't keep buying wheels that cracked and chunked after a day of skating, so why keep buying jeans that can't survive the abuse to which we subject them?
What is your product? What are you selling?
Bulletprufe's main product is jeans. We have a few shirts and hoodies, but creating the ultimate skate denim is definitely the #1 focus. We want to do one thing and do it the best.
What is unique about the production process?
I did a ton of research and, luckily, the area of the US where I live is a major textile center, so I had the ability to talk to a number of experts who helped guide me towards what we consider to be the ideal fabric blend for skating; incredibly strong and yet also super stretchy and comfortable. Finding someone to manufacture this for me, however, turned out to be a good bit more difficult than I anticipated but we never considered using anything less than the best. Oh, and they are 100 % handmade. I personally inspect every pair and if they are not perfect we will not sell them out.
Where are you located and where are your products available?
We are located in Charlotte, NC, USA and our products are only available via our website. The reason we are not in shops is simply because the jeans are extremely high quality and, therefore, very expensive to produce, so the only way we can keep prices down is to sell direct to our fellow skaters.
What makes the new jeans special? Why should skaters buy the new Bulletprufe jeans?
What makes our jeans different is that they are 100 % built for skating. Though the jeans do look incredible, this is not about fashion. This is about performance; they must be able to withstand the abuse of rolling. In addition to the superior strength and abrasion resistance, they are soft, comfortable, breathable and light weight.
What makes Bulletprufe stand out in comparison to your competition?
If you have a chance to see them in person, the first thing that will stand out is the quality. We do not cut any corners. The fabric itself is what we consider the game changer, but we also had the jeans triple stitched with a special high-strength thread, we did a double reinforced seat, etc. If you look, even the zipper is a heavy-duty, top of the line zipper. Details matter.
What problems did you run into during the development process and how did you solve them?
Several times we thought that we had the design complete, but one of our riders would blow through the jeans and we'd have to go back and figure out what happened and why, and then completely redesign them. They had to be perfect; we were not going to release anything less than the best.
What do you want to achieve by selling your products?
My #1 goal is providing my fellow rollers with a superior product. I was tired of having to choose between wearing old, ugly jeans that I didn't mind destroying and risking ruining my nice, new jeans. Also, I have wanted to start my own rollerblade company since I was about 15 years old. So I am finally living my dream of being involved in the industry and sport I love.
Is there anything you want to add to this interview? Maybe something the viewers must know about Bulletprufe?
First and foremost, I want people to know that Bulletprufe jeans are not just the same old thing. These are not "normal" jeans that we're trying to market to rollerbladers; ours have been specifically designed for skating. Once you have worn Bulletprufes, you will not want to skate in anything else and we stand behind them 100 %. Simple as that.
I would like to thank Be-Mag for doing this Company Profile and my team riders for all of their hard work. If anyone has any questions or needs more info, please check out the Bulletprufe website or feel free to email me.
Let's see what Bulletprufe team rider Daniel Prell has to say about the jeans. We all know Daniel is very demanding when it comes to his skate gear. He also wears through regular jeans like crazy.
So Daniel, you are wearing the new Bulletprufe Jeans for a few weeks now. How do you like the jeans so far?
Since I got them I haven't skated in any other jeans. I guess that's all I've got to say.
Do you feel like there is a difference with conventional jeans?
Actually, yes. Pretty often dark blue denim tends to "lose" color during uncontrolled contact with concrete – BP's don’t. Also, the material is really strong and every time I close the zipper I'm like, "Damn, that's a high quality zipper."
How do the jeans fit? Are they loose and comfortable or are they quite tight?
They are not super skinny but a bit more loose – not baggy though. As the material is pretty stretchy they are super comfortable.
What is your opinion about the design?
There are no unnecessary bells and whistles – it's a plain stylish jeans, just the way I like them.
Do the Jeans add something to your skating? For instance, is it easier to move around or is there not much difference?
I've been skating jeans with stretch material for quite a while now – so I'm used to being able to move "naturally." If you're not used to stretch material jeans you'll be surprised how much better you can move in them. Freedom of pants.
Would you recommend these jeans to other skaters? Why?
Definitely. After skating one pair for a few weeks now it still looks like a new pair of jeans, no torn pockets or any other problems that would make my grandma say: "Don't you have money for new jeans?"
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