The third generation in his family to work with denim, Rob Crews began his indoctrination into the industry at the age of sixteen, working along with his father in a Mississippi-based laundry. Experimenting early on as a teenager with cultivating the worn-in beauty of denim, Crews recalls his throwback technique to achieving the fabric’s rugged appeal was tying pairs of jeans to a pick up truck and going for a spin. Crew quips, “They were not stonewashed, but we dragged them over a lot of stones.”
Crews continues to experiment with the treatment of denim as an integral member of the Gap 1969 team, helping to select fabric, dye, colors and the wash effects for each piece. Well-versed in the an incredible variety of denim processing techniques Crews enthusiastically stresses the importance of getting every detail just right every time. “Every garment goes through the same process. There are no shortcuts.” It’s no surprise that he’s earned the unofficial title of ‘the Google of denim’ around the office.
Working from 1969’s Los Angeles headquarters, Crews imbues California culture into the craftsmanship of every garment’s distinct, edgy look. Crews states, “To me the style of California is one word – freedom. Wear whatever you want, wherever you want. You can walk down the street in a wedding dress; people may turn their heads but no one is going to stop you and say you can’t. It’s just what California is”. Also inspired by trends abroad, Crews says that he shops mostly overseas for vintage items in Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. Crews also turns to his teenage children, explaining, “They feed me information of what’s hot, what’s not, and what styles they like.”
Highlighting the distinction of Gap 1969, is the personal philosophy that Crews infuses into his designs. Crews states, “Every jean has its own story of who lived in it. Authenticity is the goal.”