Ullac Denim Review: Two Problems & a Jean
This Ullac Denim review starts with two first world problems. Ctrl + F and find “The Review” if you don’t want to listen to me whine.
First World Problem One
A few weeks ago, maybe two months, I logged into Netflix and saw a new account called “Jorge, Don’t Delete Him Bro” in Spanish. My name is Greg. I was the “him” in this case. So I poked around a bit and found the dummy who’d hacked my account had actually added his phone number to my Netflix. Naturally I called. And called. And called. And called. I found his IP address in the account. I found his internet service provider. I texted him that I was going to call his ISP tomorrow if he didn’t respond.
Or, Jorge’s “friend” did. His “friend” sent me screenshots of where he got my account information. Turns out my email and password, in plain text, were on a Facebook group where kids in Mexico and Central America traded Netflix, Spotify and fucking Napster accounts. Yes, one of the most shocking parts about this was finding out that Napster still exists and accounts for it are illicitly traded on Facebook.
I reported the group and got it shut down. I also freaked the hell out and changed my Gmail password. Which I promptly forgot, locking myself out of the Gmail account I’ve had since 2004. This also killed my phone because I was on Google’s Project Fi at the time. So I called and called and called and Google was supposed to send me a letter that would let me transfer my phone number. My gmail was gone. Forever. But, I could keep my phone number with this letter. I called and called and called and they assured me this letter was coming.
One day I came home to a postal service notice for a piece of registered mail. The letter! Finally! (it had been about two weeks at this point.) I left work early and went to the post officer and I handed my notice eagerly awaiting my letter. A package came back. The package was….a pair of Ullac jeans. Nice.
First World Problem Two
Which brings me to first world problem two. My silhouette lately is definitely the blockiest it’s ever been. I’m kinda over the hyper-masculinity of workwear and heritage and all the working class appropriation (thoughts on this coming soon!) that has dominated menswear for the better part of decade. So I don’t really know what I’m doing now. I just want plain colors, thicker lines, more drapes and something else I haven’t really figured out yet.
That said, I definitely still dress like a coal miner lumberjack aging English professor 90% of the time. It’s a work in progress.
The Ullacs have a pretty sharp taper. But the top block is roomy. It was a silhouette I thought I was probably done with. I’m old yo. But, I gotta say, the roomy top block made me feel OK about a silhouette that felt a little more streetwear than I’m normally into. Which brings me to First World Problem Two: my damn ankle.
I already have big, goofy, dumb feet making a tapered leg a dangerous prospect. This was compounded a couple Fridays ago when I clipped one of said big, dumb feet on a flat rock at the top of a switchback in Forest Hill Park. I heard a pop, went down, swore a lot.
My ankle immediately swelled up to about the size of a baseball. I had a “moderate” sprain. My foot looked like a flesh sausage with five stubby cocktail weiners sticking out of it for days. I was completely unable to shove them through the hole in my Ullacs. I haven’t been able to wear them as much as I’d like, but I still feel ok about reviewing them.
On with the review!
Ullac was formed by three friends, Chris, Gavin and Kyle. “We all grew up together in Preston, a town in in the north of England. It’s the home of Butter Pies, Deepdale Duck, and the Saxo VTR. It’s essentially the land of the free pint with every main course,” Chris said in an email.
They started Ullac to make nice jeans accessible at a reasonable price (they retail for £90.85 which is like that number times 1.4 or 1.3 or something in dollars.) “It was hard to get hold of nice jeans were we grew up. If you lived in the north you ended up paying even more for your jeans because you couldn’t physically get to the stores in London,” Chris said. This was one of the main reasons they went with an online only approach. “By going online we could make dead nice jeans a much more democratic thing. People that buy our jeans are getting them direct from us which means all their money goes on the jeans and not the retail mark up. That’s really important to us.”
Ullac jeans are made in Italy with Candiani denim, one of the greenest mills in the world (according to Chris and Candiani.) “We we operate super ethically. Our denim comes from the greenest mill in the blue world and every bit of each garment comes from an independent producer. Even our mailing bags are from a little independent and made from entirely recyclable stuff.”
Let’s get into it:
The denim was the first thing I noticed about these jeans because, well, the denim is usually the first most people notice about a pair of jeans. Ullac has it listed as 16 oz. on their web site. It doesn’t feel anywhere close to that. It feels closer to a 12 oz, though this may change once some water hits them. The fabric has almost a matte finish. The weave looks super uniform and reminds me of Cone Mills denim in some ways. I think this fabric is going to look great with a lot of wear.
I’ve already talked a little about fit. If you’ve got an American frame, and I do, the taper is going to be pretty serious on these. But, the roomy top block make them feel balanced. If you’re skinny, they’re going to fit more like a straight (see the fits on Ullac’s site). I think Ullac hit a nice medium here. The slims are exactly what they should be: slim without being too slim. I’m a 32 and a 32 fit true to size raw. There was a little room at the waist, but I like a little room at the waist and I coulda snugged ’em right up with some water.
Rear pockets are bar tacked. The rivets and buttons have a nice black grey sheen to them. The pocket bags are substantial without being too thick and you can fit a phone in them easily. The patch is embossed leather and features the only issue I had with these jeans, the text: “freeze to clean”. This method, stuffing your unwashed jeans in a freezer, has always been a bit a pet peeve of mine, but Chris defended the advice. “In super cold places people have been freezing their stuff to clean it forever. In Finland where Gavin lives, as the temperature drops in the autumn (and it REALLY drops) folks bring out their rugs and furniture to freshen them up after summer. There’s these great big communal rails to hang rugs over. It’s a really cool sight,” he said. I still don’t buy it, but to each their own.
Should You Buy?
Ullac jeans are clean and simple. The denim is probably going to fade nicely and they’re super affordable. The cut is aggressive without being too much and they fit into a nice middle ground between heritage and streetwear. I’m excited to break mine in.