DU/ER performance denim: Better than the Levi’s Commuter jean.

 

Ok, I have to admit I own 5 pairs of Levi’s Commuter jeans. If you are familiar with the Commuter series from Levi’s you’ll know why I have so many of these jeans. For those of you who are not familiar, it’s because they have some stretch, some water repellency, a few extra details like a double reinforced crotch and a dark/raw/rinse look and a slim fit. Overall, they are a pretty good attempt at denim for someone who cycles a lot and they don’t make you look like a “gearhead”. I can actually go to a meeting with my banker and not feel under dressed. I had sworn off jeans for years because they just didn’t work for an active lifestyle.
However, I do more than cycle in my jeans. I run up stairs, I play bike polo, hike, climb, work, fix and do almost any given activity during the day in jeans. So when I got the opportunity to build a line of mens jeans with someone who an expert in denim we decided to make jeans that would be good for every activity you might do on any given day. Below is how we bested then Levi’s Commuter in a number of key areas.

Stretch: The levi’s Commuter just doesn’t have enough stretch…anywhere. I want and needed more so we created denim that has 5 times the stretch of regular denim and at least twice the stretch of the Levi’s denim.

Moisture wicking not water repellent: The biggest irritation for me in the Levi’s Commuter was the Nanosphere water repellent treatment which basically made the jeans not breathable and really hot..so hot that I tried to wash out the treatment right away. The DUER performance denim is moisture wicking and not water repellent so you can get wet, by rain or by sweating, but you are going to dry faster because the fabric wicks and is more breathable. The end result is you’ll be more comfortable.

Lightweight: Levi’s Commuters are approximately 11 oz. denim. The DUER denim is 9.5 oz. Our denim is lighter because it has 28% Coolmax®; which is lighter than cotton. Coolmax® is also more durable than cotton so the jeans will be lighter yet stronger.

Gimmicks: Levi’s Commuters have reflective binding sewn into the hem, a Ulock holder strap and a reinforced crotch gusset. Duer has no reflective binding because we believe that the extra reflectivity that you get on your ankle is basically useless. Put lights and reflective tape on your and pedals if you really want to. I don’t know too many guys who don’t wear a belt so the u lock holder that is positioned underneath my belt does nothing for me. lastly, the reinforced crotch are was a great idea. Levi’s Commuter jeans are 98% cotton. Cotton will wear out fast. Our denim has 28% Coolmax polyester woven horizontally through the denim so we don’t need the reinforced gusset. However, we did add a seat gusset for a more comfort.

The Bonus: The big extra(and some may call it a gimmick) we added was radiation shield pocketing. My cell phone heats up and I am super concerned that this is bad for private parts that are only inches away from this radiation emitting device. Call it the better safe than sorry pocket but I am quite happy to have it as part of the Duer denim package.

Overall comparison:

Levi’s: I have to give Levi’s credit. They are a massive denim company that didn’t have to make a cycling specific jean. But they did and it is pretty good. And without them we wouldn’t have known how to make a better jean.

Du/er: This performance denim goes beyond cycling and is intended for any recreational activity. It is lighter, stronger, more flexible and more breathable than the Levi’s Commuter jean.

October 21st, 2014, posted by admin

Mayor Rob Ford is eating Toronto.

I haven’t written anything substantial in this blog in awhile. What can I say except I’ve been busy trying to be a progressive business owner and a good citizen. But I just couldn’t ignore the now notorious Mayor of Toronto; a political leader that has become an embarrassment to an entire country.

I cannot even suggest that this next bit will be funny or coherent but here’s my take.

Like a cancer Rob Ford swept into politics in Toronto and now he is eating away at the insides of a once healthy and prosperous city. The analysts know it. The councilor’s now know it. The media, the elites and the politically aware can smell the scent of death but they are all too late. It should have been diagnosed earlier. We could have caught it and stopped it if only we’d been more vigilant. But we didn’t think that the Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s stops would add up. Though we were disappointed, we didn’t think that by not losing the weight, not exercising or by the shear stress of driving in heavy traffic that we would end up here; barely able to operate without the cancer infiltrating even the smallest, most isolated and out of touch areas of the city.  But no, the cancer has taken over Toronto almost completely. I hate to say it but we need to bring in the radiation. We need to start cutting fast or it’s all over for Toronto as anything but an essay in the journals of “Fallen International Cities”.

So let’s backtrack to a few days ago.  My initial response was to be a member of the first response team. I knew the risks to my own health but I couldn’t just let the patient slowly die; Toronto’s part of my family.  So, I offered Gawker $50,000 to get an exclusive deal on showing the video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. My intent was to speed up the process by which Gawker could purchase the video so that we might actually get to see the video before it fell into the wrong hands and disappeared. Having been in business for a number of years, I have a keen awareness of how people who are doing questionable things( don’t like to get caught.  So, I knew that there was a good possibility that someone else other than media outlets would want to buy the video and bury it along with the hope that we, the public, would be informed of the Mayor’s “potentially” criminal activities.

However, my deal with Gawker never materialized and here now we sit…close to viewing the most well publicized “potential” act of criminality by a politician in Canadian history and closer to never being able to view it.

Therefore, the prognosis for the city is not too good. Our naivete in the arena of criminality and the massive publicity generated by the crowdsourcing campaign are putting the chances of seeing the video in jeopardy. The wrong people could be getting the video right now and once the video is permanently destroyed the Mayor can confidently deny he ever smoked crack; insert leftwing conspiracy. But unlike the video, the cancer will remain… and it will spread… as long as Rob Ford is our Mayor. Wish us luck.

 

 

May 23rd, 2013, posted by admin

Joe Fresh launches new Bangladesh inspired fashion line

In the wake of the Bangladesh tragedy Joe Fresh launches new line. Always on top of the latest trend Joe Fresh owner is going to launch a line dedicated to all the workers around the world who die for “fast fashion”. “I just looked out my window and saw the clouds and they spoke to me, they said “die Joe die”..so I knew I was onto something bigger than life itself.” said the egomaniac mogul from multi-million dollar mansion, office on the top of the CN Tower.

May 7th, 2013, posted by admin

Italy’s Supreme Court rules mobile phones can cause brain tumors…

Have you ever noticed how hot your cell phone gets after you’ve been talking for awhile? You may even have to wipe the moisture from the face of your phone after a long conversation. Does this ever make you wonder about what may be going on between your cell phone and your brain. If you did wonder an sort of casually asked around or read a few articles you would have mostly been led to believe that research showed there was no connection between tumors or cancer and your mobile phone. What if someone told you that the research was financed by mobile companies.

After reading a few reviews and articles in various news journals I realized that this ruling was important for a few reasons.

First off, It’s a warning to people who excessively use their mobile phones; you could have medical issues because of overuse.

Next, I came to understand that most of the research that has been completed in this field has actually been financed by mobile phone companies. Alarm bells were ringing in my ear! After all, we don’t need more examples of how corporations routinely cover up, misrepresent and carefully omit facts that may make their products seem less than safe.

Here’s the key facts from the case: “The evidence was based on studies conducted between 2005-2009 by a group led by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden. The court said the research was independent and “unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones”.

Full Reuters article here

Ultimately, I am grateful for the news and I will definitely use the speaker function on my mobile a lot more in the future.

Enjoy!

December 2nd, 2012, posted by admin

Better than Toms shoes??

After 4 months of searching for a more sustainable shoe I finally made a purchase. I based my criteria on a couple of key areas and then evaluated each and every shoe option. As a sportswear junkie I lean toward sneakers as my shoe of choice because they can serve multiple functions in my life. I ride a bike mostly, so I need a certain level of protection from the elements and from bike parts. I also like to run up stairs, down the hall and unload heavy boxes and bags from vehicles so sandals don’t work at all. Oh, did I mention I wanted a summer shoe..that would breathable in hot weather? So from a wide variety of choices it was easy to narrow down my options.

First off, I wanted to avoid made In china. This virtually eliminates 90% of shoes so my choices became easier. In fact, it immediately eliminated the ever popular Toms shoes. I even called Toms to find why they made shoes in China. Their answer was a bloated and shallow, “economies of scale” mouthful and when I suggested that China was not a fair labour country to make shoes, she got quite impatient and then said something along the lines of “ok, it’s price..it’s just cheaper to make them there!” Toms was out. Next I came across my old favourites, New Balance where they make some of their shoes in America and the UK. Great. Local manufacturing. Check. Recycled parts. No. Sustainability Initiatives? None that I could determine but you could customize your own pair of shoes. Great! Six hours after my design was complete I found out that they don’t ship these to Canada. New Balance was out.

Then I received an email from a site called FashioningChange about a shoe brand called Indosoles. The short of it is that it is a small shop in Indonesia that makes shoes out of recycled tire treads and organic cotton. Nice. Plus, they have fair labour practices. Double bonus. So I decided these would be my next purchase. Did I mention in all this that I didn’t leave my seat at my computer?

I received my shoes today and they fit great!

Progressive shoe shopping complete.

May 31st, 2012, posted by admin

From consumers to taxpayers: Are we evolving?

I was recently listening to Q, a radio show on CBC and a writer, 81 year old Tony Morrison said something that really stuck in my head. This made me wonder, mainly because not much on the radio sticks in my head. In her wisdom she mentioned that as a culture we have gone from calling ourselves citizens to consumers and now to taxpayers. At first this seems mildly interesting at best; I don’t particularly like the word consumer as it makes me think of a basic sucking mechanism similar to a vacuum, however once I thought about I was excited and even happy about it.   If in indeed she is correct, and judging by Rob Ford’s “Respect for the taxpayers” campaign, she might be, then in effect the future is very bright.

Why? Well, this is not an essay and I don’t have the time nor capacity to explore this is in doctoral detail so I’m going to try to keep this as succinct as possible. Here goes.

First, being called a “consumer” is the equivalent to being called an ant. It is a term we used in business class to refer to the easily manipulated masses of people who we persuade to turn their wants into needs on a daily basis. Businesses, leaders, owners and almost every other person in any form of analytical position have no respect for this one dimensional character of modern civilization. Consumers suck. That is all they do. Think about it. What other action could a consumer do besides suck? So inherently the term is an insult and it shows the lack of respect that we have had for ourselves, the consumer, over the last few decades. Now, in some really obvious ways, we see where that term has left us; a broken economy that only works for the richest minority at the top.  Everything we’ve done in the last few decades has been to please the “consumer”, this mind less sucking mechanism that has no bounds, no limits, no rules and surely no conscience.

On the other hand, being called a taxpayer is an entirely different scenario. Think about it. The first big difference is that the term doesn’t conjure up mindless sucking. Next, “taxpayer” imparts power to the owner of the term because it suggests that you are someone who is contributing to society. Politicians use the word in respect and deference to the people who vote for them and pay for their salaries and promises. Just say “I am a taxpayer” a few times over and feel the power!

So can a simple little term of reference mean anything in our complicated, multifaceted world of uber rich CEOs, poor families and angling young workers? Why not. Let’s make the best of it because it really seems like a colossal slip on the part of the mass juggernaut of top down greed mongers to let the word taxpayer fall into common use.  As taxpayers you can push, vote, force, protest, pressure and complain your way to stopping greedy people and companies from taking away your rights, jobs, daycare, healthcare, clean air and non toxic products and you can make governments do things like be accountable and take actions that help…you guessed it, taxpayers! Governments have been helping greed mongers help consumers and help themselves for the last few decades and where did that get us? We are fatter, lazier and dumber because we’ve been told to suck for too long.

Maybe being taxpayers will motivate us to not only pay our government but pay attention, pay respect and pay forward for a society that doesn’t suck.

May 25th, 2012, posted by admin

2011 The year in review

2011 was such a letdown that it doesn’t even deserve full sentences or paragraphs…or I’m just completely lazy at this point after a weary year of turmoil. So for now I’m just going to throw out some of my own headlines that I would have written about this year except that I was too busy fighting the good fight and well..losing and then winning and then losing more..and then recovering…and..well you get the picture. So here goes. See if you guess the real story from the phrases below.

1)Canada craps on the planet again.

2)Mother nature slaps hard when you keep raiding the cookie jar.

3)See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and do nothing about the evil that is right in front of your face when you were elected to do something about it.

4)Apathy isn’t a great video game but it helps big business.

5)Another two bite the dust.

6)Too much “i” not enough “we”.

 

Answers:

1) Canada’s PM Stephen Harper pulls out of Kyoto, increases Tar Sands production and gives the finger to anyone who is concerned about clear air, climate change or the future.

2)Japan, probably the single greatest nation fishing the hell out of the oceans and killing whales by the hundreds gets hit hard by an earthquake and tsunami. Sounds like revenge.

3)Obama becomes a huge disappointment in the wake of the Wall Street Bank meltdown by Not making any significant changes to stop the rampant greed and fraud at the highest levels of the banking industry.

4) Occupy Wall Street gets bored and moves on as people raised on videogames realize that in the real world no one really cares how cool you are on the internet and they aren’t going to pay you real wages for getting more facebook friends.

5)Ghaddafi gets taken out by his own people and Kim Jong Il just dies and the world is rid of two more evil dictators. Yay!

6)Steve Jobs dies at the height of ipad, ipod, iphone, and itune mania, and we realize that what he brought to the world was “cool gadgets” that make people less likely to talk to each other in public.

Critical? Harsh? I’ll let you be the judge.

Enjoy the New Year!

January 3rd, 2012, posted by admin

The Modernature Series circa 2005

A few pieces I did while doing research on sustainable manufacturing in Vancouver, BC. I just foudn these again so i thought I would share them…

November 26th, 2011, posted by admin

Rethinking sustainable products and services…

I must admit that I like new things. I like change too. But what I really like is new things that change things for the better. So I was quite intrigued when I read an article about new ways to look at sustainable product and service creation.

To summarize the article suggested that “We need more than sustainable versions of everyday products. We need new products and services based on behaviour change.”

The article also suggested that “freeing people from the need for energy is one of the most probable future businesses.”

The authors then introduce a business strategy called the Peleton Strategy. Like cyclists in  a race who ride in a group to conserve their energy the authors suggest that people operate in consumer groups to conserve energy..or create new groups of consumer behaviour that benefit the individual consumer, the new group and limit energy use thereby limiting the use of our natural resources and creating less emissions.

They use the example of Yellowtail wine to explain how the company decided to change consumer behaviour by targeting non-wine drinkers; their goal..get these people to drink wine.

“In a famous example Yellow Tail wine (launched in 2001, became the most popular wine imported to the United States and accounts for nearly half of all Australian wine purchased) was aimed at non-wine drinkers. Yellow Tail aimed to change the behaviour of non-wine drinkers.”

They then discuss how to apply the same thinking to car drivers.  Essentially, how do we get car drivers to drive less or switch their behaviour to a less emission intense form of transportation? Then how do we do the same thing across other industries?

“Similarly we should not ask how we can make our current products greener and therefore attract ecologically motivated consumers. Instead, we should be thinking of ways to replace the most resource-heavy forms of consumption.”

If this interests you I would suggest reading the entire article. If not , you can just wait for me to figure it out for you…but you might be waiting a long time.

Here is the link to the article.

Enjoy!

October 10th, 2011, posted by admin

Clever coffee brew systems vs. french press

I want a good tasting cup of coffee every morning don’t you?

I think I’ve come to the age where I get some sort of strangely satisfying feeling when I see the little dark, oily spots floating on top of the foaming, smokey-brown surface of a good espresso filled cup of coffee. Mind you I don’t have the money, patience, real time and dedication to get an espresso machine installed in my house but I’ve come to a nice balance with my french press. It’s simple and convenient in all ways and I can make a very good cup of coffee when I’ve attended to the right beans, soy cream and cane sugar mixture. But after an acquaintance of mine showed me his new “home brewing system”  I was taken aback by these new convenience gadgets.  These new coffee brew systems, mostly created by companies like Keurig and Tassimo(no links here..well..just keep reading..), offer the convenience of “no hassle” coffee making to add to your unadulterated life of carefree bliss.

I was mildly enthused about these new gadgets until my acquaintance showed me the random flavoured disposable plastic container that is the birthplace of your coffee. Then it became obvious to everyone in the room that what sounded like a great idea had just turned into another thoughtless, convenience item that would help strip any real joy out of those fleeting moments of human endeavour that are essential for long lasting fulfillment in life.

Instead of a careful combination of ritual, art and food crafting…you get processed, plastic convenience. Though I dare not stray from my objective approach to this comparison of the two devices I would even go as far as saying that using a coffee brewing system could actually lower your IQ and make you more prone to saying really stupid things like “I have no idea what it’s made of or where it comes from but I don’t have to clean anything up”.

Enjoy!

September 26th, 2011, posted by admin