⟨ I Know I'll Often Stop and Think About Them ⟩

10-How about no jeans?

Moleskin trousers

Words & Photography / Holun Tang
Translation / Fanny Chan

基於各種原因,讀書的時候我曾經很努力堅持不穿牛仔褲,因為我覺得牛仔褲這個東西很奇怪。

我覺得這種成年人的指定衣物不但質地生硬,而且總是散發出一種苦悶的氣味。「為甚麼非穿牛仔褲不可呢?」短褲、棉長褲不是舒服得多嗎?後來,我又發現學校的老師在旅行日當天都會換上牛仔褲,好像這樣就可以把平日的嚴肅感抹走換成悠閒,牛仔褲於我而言反而是一種虛偽的隨意。

For various reasons, I tried very hard to resist wearing jeans when I was a student. I thought jeans were very weird.

This specific clothing designated for adults not only had a very hard texture, but also gave off a distinctive smell called boredom. Why do we have to wear jeans? Aren’t shorts and cotton trousers much more comfortable? I noticed that my teachers would put on jeans for school trips, as if wearing jeans would remove their seriousness and replace it with playfulness. Since then, jeans have become a representation of fake randomness to me.

當然,虛偽的不是牛仔褲,後來我也買了一兩條牛仔褲試穿,耐穿的感覺的確很討好。但是我對牛仔褲的不懷好感始終不能完全消退,以致後來遇上這條褲子讓我更覺相逢恨晚。這條黑色的褲子在我穿不久後,顏色已褪掉很多,而它的堅韌程度使我一度懷疑其物料到底是不是全棉,它比牛仔褲薄很多,堅韌的程度卻過之而無不及,像帆布,我再三查看衣服標籤,沒錯是百分百全棉。又輕又簿又耐磨,摸上去是絲絨般的順滑感,豈不是我夢寐以求的褲子衣料嗎?

Of course, there’s nothing hypocritical in owning a pair of jeans. I bought a few pairs of jeans to try on and their durability is indeed very pleasing. However, my dislike for jeans could not be completely erased, and it made me feel even more bitter when I finally encountered this pair of black trousers. These trousers began to lose their color not long after I started wearing them. They have an unbelievable toughness that made me wonder if they really were made with 100% cotton. They are much thinner than jeans, but they’re tough like canvas. I checked the care label again and again to make sure that they are indeed made with 100% cotton. This pair of trousers is light, thin, durable, and smooth like velvet. Have I truly found the perfect pair of pants?

那些二十多天的長途旅行,為了減重,從出門到回家,這是我唯一穿著的褲子。十度以下又冷又濕的天氣,它的高密度能擋風潑水;三十多度的熱天,又不黏皮膚穿很涼快。臥草坪坐石頭,比起錦衣華服,這更深得我心。況且一般的棉長褲在穿用十年八載後,不作修補的話應該很難再穿下去,我相信衣服還是愈耐用愈好。

For trips that last for more than twenty days, I just wear this pair of trousers for the entire trip in order to reduce my luggage weight. In cold and rainy days that reach below 10°C, the high-density trousers act as a protective layer that offers water and wind resistance, and during hot days at more than 30°C, the trousers’ high breathability kicks in and the fabric doesn’t stick to the skin. Lying on the grass and sitting on the rocks in this pair of trousers is more my style than lounging in fancy beautiful clothes. Besides, normal cotton trousers will probably need some repairs after being worn for years. I believe that the more durable the clothes, the better.

這塊叫Moleskin的布料,來自英國的布料生產商Brisbane Moss。我們現在已很少能看到Moleskin的身影,反而在古著的世界有時候會看到,例如一些法國工裝外套,褲子則不多見。Moleskin的絕跡無奈地是因為它不得不花時間生產(每星期生產五百米),這可是以古老而強大的織布機慢慢編織出來的扎實物料,密度高得不見紋路,與現代紋路稀鬆的衣料不能同日而語,絕對是作褲子的最佳物料。我在想,假如Moleskin和牛仔布一開始能夠同時存在的話,我對牛仔褲應該不會那麼反感吧?

選擇總是比我們想像的少。

This piece of cloth named moleskin comes from Brisbane Moss, a cloth manufacturer in the UK. Moleskin products can hardly be found on the market nowadays, but occasionally you’ll see French chore jackets and even trousers made from moleskin in vintage clothing stores. The extinction of moleskin is due to its long production time for it is slowly woven by ancient, yet powerful weaving machines (producing 500 meters per week). Moleskin is so densely woven that the weaving pattern can hardly be seen. Modern clothing material that is so sparsely woven is nothing comparable to this thin, but hard-wearing fabric, which is ideal for making trousers. If moleskin, instead of denim, is used to make jeans, I wonder if I would still dislike jeans that much.

Afterall, choices out there are always fewer than we expected.