IN THE 1990s, HIP-HOP STARS EVERYWHERE WORE MAURICE MALONE'S CLOTHES. BY 2001, HE WAS BROKE. BUT HIS NEW VENTURE IS SIMPLICITY ITSELF: QUALITY JEANS AT A REASONABLE PRICE.
BY DAVID ZAX
Maurice Malone walks into a café in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, his home and base of operations for nearly 20 years, looking suitably stylish. Soon, the man Brooklyn Magazine once called "the Steve Jobs of denim" is teaching a fashion-backward journalist about the joys of "raw denim," which Malone specializes in.
In an age where jeans come pre-washed, pre-sanded, sometimes even pre-torn, raw denim is a return to purity. They’re for guys who "prefer to start with their own canvas, create their own artwork with the jeans," he explains. Each wrinkle, each tear, each faded patch will be yours and yours alone. Die-hard enthusiasts of raw denim won’t clean the jeans till they start smelling, Malone explains with a laugh. Some don’t even clean them then, preferring to stuff pairs in the freezer to kill off the bacteria.