“Every once in awhile a person surfaces, not by accident but by necessity. Action and vision collide for that person, often with the help of outside influences. Jimmy Hankins is such a person. With a single act of creating American made jeans, the breadth and multifaceted history of Asbury Park is entrenched. His homage to American jean history, mines not for coal, iron ore, nor minerals to inform his talents; it’s the diversity of American culture, the intensity of the East Coast and the cultural depths of Asbury Park.”
”The only downside of these jeans is that now I feel like I have to go
out and buy a motorcycle. I am not sure why, perhaps it is the New
Jersey beach concept behind the brand, but I feel like I would look
badass with my Asbury Park Skinny 1888 Raw denim cruising down on
the streets on a Harley!” – www.Denimology.com
SugarCube, an awesome retail men’s clothing store in Philly, recently interviewed The Man Behind the Brand – Jimmy Hankins – the following is an excerpt from the interview:
Jimmy please tell us about your early years in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
“I‘ve been hanging around Asbury for as long as I can remember, first with my parents back when the old rickety roller coaster and the Swiss Bobs were still on the boardwalk and the Palace Amusements was still up and full of rides. That was a long time ago…
As a teenager, Asbury was a fantastic place to get into all kinds of “teenager trouble.” We would hang out, smoke pot and drink beer in the parking lots across the street from The Stone Pony or the Fast Lane and listen to our favorite bands crushing it on stage until we looked old enough to get in with a fake ID. We would also go and check out the local garage bands at The Hot Dog House.”
Which band performances stand out as pivotal moments?
Some of the greatest Rock and Roll moments of my life were catching bands like Iggy Pop, Dictators, Ramones or the Stranglers at the Fast Lane or Alice Cooper at Convention Hall just to name a few. We were heavily into the Punk Rock scene coming out of C.B.G.B’s and would catch whoever was playing in town that week.
Before my time, you could have seen any and every band in Asbury. In the 60’s and 70’s, you could have seen Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, The Doors!! You name it, they all played in Asbury. I still have a bootleg tape of Black Sabbath playing Convention Hall that my brother gave me from 1975.”
Asbury Park Clothing started during The Great Recession. What lead up to you making jeans?
“It was the end of 2010 and we as a country just got the shit kicked out of us from an economic stand point. I wanted to get back to the fundamentals that made our country great and if you think about it, it all started with some hard work and a pair of dungarees.”
How does the Jersey Shore sound, a mix of R&B and rock become embodied characteristics in your jean design?
“Funny… I never thought of it like that. Asbury jeans just kinda ended up on the asses of a bunch of guys playing kick-ass music.”
Which contemporary musicians wear your jeans?
“The first time I saw them on stage was Skinny Lister at the Nokia Center and main stage at Coachella. Its been the best of times seeing them on Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal, Joey Castillo of E.O.D.M and Bl’ast!, Jon Theodore of Queens of the Stone Age, Phil Caivano of Monster Magnet, Breathe Carolina, The Battery Electric, Young Rising Sons and a shit load more…. They were even on X-Factor and Queen Latifa’s show.”
Tillie is a historic figurehead in Asbury Park. Can you tell us why? Please elaborate on the mythological significance of Tillie.
“Tillie traces its roots back to a man named George Tilyou who was responsible for creating many of the boardwalk attractions of Asbury Park, Coney Island and Atlantic City Boardwalks in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. George came up with all kinds of rides that made the guys and girls bump into each other or fall down on each other. A dude would be like “holy shit I just fell on Sally and saw her ankle!” which was about as close as he was gonna get to getting laid before he was married. He and she where definitely going on that ride again! That’s Genius….
It is rumored that Tilyou pissed off his ex-business partners and they decided to make a bit of a mockery of him. They recreated his image as a clown.. ta dah…. Tillie was born.”
In this post-heritage fashion period, how important is authenticity and personal history for your brand?
“Authenticity and personal history are most important!!! Without it you have no basis for who or what you are creating.
Most brands create a jean and a fit and then go about figuring out who and what it represents. I’d like to say I had that all figured out before I stitched a jean but in actuality it was there all along… Asbury was just waiting for someone to bring it to life as a denim brand.”
‘Made in USA,’ what does it mean to you?
Nothing is more American then an
American made jean!”
– Jimmy Hankins, CEO
Interview by SugarCube, May 2015
Read more about Asbury Park Denim:
As a true vintage style selvage denim jean company, Asbury Park Clothing Company pays homage to the originality and quality of the American craftsman from the early 20th century. We handcraft traditional 5-Pocket premium denim with emphasis on comfort, fit and old-world craftsmanship. Designed and manufactured in the United States, our first styles are created with fabric from antique shuttle looms at the legendary Cone Denim Mills. These old-style mills at the White Oak Plant in North Carolina were used to supply Levis from as far back as 1920s through the 1960s, as well as dungarees worn by likes of James Dean, Marlon Brando and Steve McQueen. These iconic figures epitomize the inspiration of Asbury Park, NJ. The creative grit, the ‘anything goes’ mentality, the rock and roll lifestyle are all elements breathed into every piece of the collection.
Quality is absolutely paramount in the construction of our products. Our mission is to create the best hand-crafted American Made jeans money can buy. No detail in the construction process has been overlooked or disregarded which might compromise our highest standards for quality. Every component of our collection, from the denim to the buttons down to the brand’s identity and logo has a unique story attached to it. The inspiration for the button fly and leather logo came from George Tilyou or “Tillie.” In the 1920’s, Tilyou forever changed the way people enjoyed themselves along the boardwalks of Asbury Park, Atlantic City and Coney Island. The button flies and rivets are inspired by the old steel utility “manhole” covers that dot the streets of the Asbury Park.