ANTONIO DI BATTISTA ARCHIVE BIB OVERALL

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WHAT DOES THE OVERALL REPRESENT  THE DENIM ICONOGRAPHY?

Now-a-days it represents almost only something old, while for collectors it’s a proper cult-item, especially the ones from the ’50s and back – which are both rare to find given their massive use and really beautiful given their consequent usury.

WHAT DOES OVERALL MEAN TO YOU?

To me as a collector they’re a source of pride because I own many of them – they remind me about the American workers who used ’em intensely working during the old times.

WHICH ARE THE MOST REMARKABLE BRANDS THAT HISTORICALLY PRODUCED THE MOST VALUABLE OVERALLS?

There have been many of them and often they’re not so well-known, brands such as Stronghold, Boss Of The Road, Can’t Bust’em, Sweet Orr, Key, Big Yank, Carters etc…

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT OVERALL OF YOUR PERSONAL ARCHIVE AND WHY?

The most important is a 1910’s Stronghold, both because it’s an old Californian brand which had a brief activity – therefore it’s very rare – and because they used really cool and resistant fabrics, with very rough and particular weaves.

AND WHICH IS THE OVERALL YOU PREFER?

For sure my favourite is a babies’ OshKosh B’Gosh from the ’50s, it’s absolutely the littlest piece I have in my archive.

WHICH ARE THE MOST NOTABLE FABRICS THAT HAVE BEEN USED IN THE OVERALLS’ HISTORY?

The first ones (1700) were made of ecru-coloured raw cotton and the bib was separated from the pants; around 1838 they got a unique piece, then in 1850 they started to use different fabrics depending on the type of work they were destined to. For instance for painters they were white, for railwaymen had with little blue lines and finally they were in denim for all the working class.

WHILE WHAT ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF A BIB OVERALL WORTHY OF ITS NAME?

They don’t have to be missing the tool-pocket, hammer-loop, pocket and buttonhole for the pocket-watch and copper clips for the suspenders.

WHY SUCH AN ICONIC AND HISTORICALLY VALUABLE GARMENT IS SO HARD TO BE WORN ALL THE WHILE?

It’s like that nowadays because usually overalls are heavy and very large; once it was really different, they had to be worn over civilian clothes (that’s why over all) to keep them new, that’s why they were very large.

CAN YOU FINISH OFF TELLING US AN INTERESTING ANECDOTE REGARDING THE OVERALL?

Yes sure, in the ‘Modern Times’ movie of the 1936 Charlie Chaplin wears a Stronghold overall, just like the one I got in my archive!