The Gap just launched its very own magazine, “The Gap Document“, and one of the denim gurus featured in there is Donwan Harrell, founder and creator of cult brand PRPS.

Ever since Levi’s developed the original jean in the late 19th century, originally aimed at hard-working cowboys and miners, the fabric has been part of every single generation. Young and old, rich and poor, men or women, we all wear denim. There aren’t many garments that are so democratic; everyone’s got a pair. Secondly, what makes denim unique is how easy it is to shape your own, to make your pair of jeans specific to you and your life. Due to your personal wear and tear the jean becomes like a sartorial finger print. Donwan Harrell started PRPS, his niche American denim brand, in 2002 having worked for Donna Karan, before being snapped up by Nike. As none of those brands are very denim-focused, Harrell channels his own personal point of view on denim as an avid collector into PRPS.

“In the development process of PRPS jeans, I didn’t want to stray too far from Levi’s original 5-pocket Big “E” offering from the 70s. It was time-tested and reputable. I knew I needed to make it my own without the gimmicky stitching patterns that are so common today. Consequently, I added the extra fold in the back pocket. What’s great about our trademarked back pocket is that over time once the denim wears down, you see this beautiful impression of the fold from behind the top layer of the pocket. Fabrication is key, and from inception I have only used the best Japanese denim suppliers. Once the denim has been chosen I use the traditional methods of laying out the patterns of the denim changing the direction of the vertical and horizontal grain before cutting. This is true PRPS.

I purchased the original Gap 1969 jeans Adriano Goldschmied designed jean back in 2000. This was an incredible item, packaged in a natural muslin bag and made in Italy with premium Italian selvedge fabrication. A remarkable attempt at re-teaching the American consumer and exposing them to premium jeans the way they should be made and sold.



  1. Donwan must be a really classy guy based on what I have read.

    Other denim brands should take notes on how to gain respect in the marketplace and also with consumers.

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