“Viktor switches on the headlamp mounted to his helmet. A flash of light sweeps over the rocks to reveal a foot and a half tall black hole in front of his feet. Having unearthed this small opening, Mike has already disappeared into the tight void. A moment has passed since any noise could be heard from his snake-like crawl inside the earth. Now it’s quiet. Mike’s father-in-law Russ and friend Cory stand by, waiting their turn. Viktor squats down to look through the opening. It’s dark, and he can’t make out any light from Mike’s headlamp.
But there’s no answer.
The first time Viktor traveled to the States, he was filled with an uneasy sense of uncertainty, not knowing what lie ahead. However, this uncertainty quickly vanished as soon as he met Mike. And through the years they’ve gotten to know each other very well, becoming good friends.
Today, Viktor is the proud owner of a pair of jeans well over one hundred years old; one the rarest relics of its kind. He can also rightly be considered one of the premier denim collectors in the world. Not that he owns the largest collection even assembled; he does not. But because he might just have the most unique.
Viktor carefully squeezes himself into the old, derelict mine. It’s so cramped inside that he has to turn his head to the side so that his helmet and headlamp don’t get stuck. He shuffles forward, fearfully knowing he’s beyond the point of no return. The surrounding stone coldly grasps him from all sides. If anything were to happen, he would have to navigate this inner passage in order to slip out the other side. Viktor slithers on, using his elbows, and wedges forward with his toes. Down here the ground is cool and dry, and there is a fine layer of stone dust everywhere. He dispenses any feelings of claustrophobia as best he can…”
This is a book on the History of Jeans, and the story of Viktor Fredbäck’s hunt for the oldest and rarest jeans in the world. He is one of a small group of experts, dedicated to dig for old jeans in century-old mines. It’s a dirty, laborious and not to mention dangerous work. The silver mines that they find are from the 1800s, and in a decaying state. The walls and ceiling are constantly threatening to collapse over the hundred-year-old wooden beams. But when the rewards are higher than the dangers, it’s worth every cut, blister or bruise. True Fit – A Collected History of Denim tells for the first time the story of Viktor’s unique collection of jeans.The book is unique in another, more specific way: never before have vintage jeans been photographed on models in environments, typical for that bygone era. First and foremost, the book is a declaration of love for vintage jeans.
Text: Rickard Eklund