The Weathered Project: Utility Chapter Three

The more we learn about Char Kennedy, the more we realize that few challenges can intimidate this ambitious designer. When she agreed to be our Weathered Project subject last year (a 16-month experiment that tracks the evolution of premium raw denim on precocious and adventurous individuals), we could tell that she was the type of person who would surrender herself to the process, meditate on her journey and use these lessons to complement her craft.

It’s incredible (but hardly surprising) to find out that since our last conversation, Char traversed up BC’s glorious peaks, joined the interior design firm Cutler as an industrial designer and put the finishing touches on ingenious products for the Interior Design Show (IDS) West showcase this month – all while wearing her Nudie Pipe LEDs. Read our conversation below (and scroll through the photo gallery) to learn about her jeans’ unique fades, her insightful take on denim’s transformative qualities and how this all ties in with her creative approach.

You’ve been wearing your Nudie Pipe Leds for close to a year now – how much more have they evolved?
They have transformed by getting more visible and defined lines behind the knees and in areas that frequently fold. The knees and backside have faded nicely and the blue is a slightly lighter tone throughout.

Has wearing raw denim changed the way you look at this fabric?
It makes me appreciate the fabric for its natural abilities to wear and change over time. You let go of the expectation that the garment will remain exactly the same for its entire life cycle, which is an important and beautiful process. A lot of the time when we buy clothes, we view wear and aging of the fabric as negatives – we think that once something is worn-in, it must be thrown out. Raw denim changes that way we interact and appreciate our garments.


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What were some of the most memorable moments of your summer?
One of my most memorable experiences was doing the Wedgemount Lake hike. It was a challenging and steep hike and one of the most beautiful landscapes for camping at the top. We stayed one night and swam (or quickly dipped) in the ice-cold lake before heading back down the steep descent.

Can you talk about some of the projects you currently have on rotation?
I am working as an industrial designer for a company called Cutler here in Gastown, doing many interesting design projects, mostly in interior retail design. I am also designing a booth and showing some of the products I designed for IDS West coming up in September at the Vancouver Convention Center.


What types of projects challenge you?
I am challenged by projects that push boundaries – this includes exploring new materials and using design to create spaces for interactions that are unique and interesting. The most interesting projects involve diverse groups working together with strong goals and visions to really push each other to create something amazing!

Do you have any plans for the winter?
I look forward to snowboarding this year! I didn’t get to go up the mountain as much as I would have liked last year and I really want to make that a priority! I also look forward to as many small weekend adventures as I can squeeze in!

Nudie’s Pipe LEDs are available at Dutil's Vancouver and Toronto locations and our online store. Next month on the Weathered Project, we’ll check in with internationally acclaimed bartender Shaun Layton and his Imogene+Willie Barton Slims. Watch this space for updates.

Photos by Jacquie Shaw