The Trapper jeans go back a long way: they witnessed Socialism, the regime change and now they compete with today’s fast fashion brands. We visited the store of Sándor Nádasi to explore the history of the cult Hungarian jeans brand.
If you are not millennials, you must remember the buzz around Trapper jeans, and if you are, then you are sure to find a pair in the wardrobe of your parents or grandparents.
The Hungarian jeans brand was covered in both written or advertising press a lot in the late seventies and early eighties. Perhaps even the following advertising poster might ring a bell for you, portraying the star of the brand’s advertising campaign, stunt and actor Mihály Kocsis (“Trapper Misi”). The poster was designed by Munkácsy Mihály award-winning Hungarian graphic designer Kálmán Molnár in 1979, and can still be seen in the store, at Fő utca 92, in its original condition.
But let’s review the history of the brand briefly. Sándor Nádasi led Budapest’s only jeans store not as a professional, but as a medical mechanic at Andrássy út (the former Népköztársaság útja) 7, where they sold imported jeans. There was a huge demand for jeans, so they had to do something. One of his window-dressers was related to BUDA-FLAX Lenfonó és Szövőipari Vállalat (BUDA-FLAX Linen-Threading and Weaving Corporation), and connected him with the management of the company. Sándor managed to convince the company to start weaving indigo cotton, the material used for manufacturing jeans, and then later on in 1978, the production of the jeans called Trapper started. The name of the brand was born out of a competition, with a prize of 500 Forints.
The brand flourished until 1982, and then slowly started to fade into oblivion, as Wrangler and Lee Cooper were also made of this Hungarian fabric and the demand for foreign brands was much greater at the time. After the regime change, a new chapter began in the life of the brand. In 1992, Sándor submitted an application for the patent of Trapper, which he managed to obtain finally. Since then, the family business has been on the rise, and Sándor’s sons also do their shares enthusiastically: Sándor Nádasi Jr. is in charge of sales, marketing and communication, while his brothers, Dávid and Csaba are responsible for production and logistics.
To our greatest surprise, the store hasn’t change much over time – perhaps with a few changes in furniture –, and the quality, value and basic concept of the brand also remained the same. We soon realized that this is a good thing: Trapper’s identity should be preserved. Everyone likes it this way, may it be a local patriot, an Italian, a Russian, a Korean, an Australian or a person of any nationality who’s ever been to the store – the guestbook placed on the counter, full of praising entries is a fine proof for that.
“But how is Trapper different from fast fashion pieces?” – we asked. As a response, Sándor handed a pair to us and added succinctly: “It has weight and material!” Then he continued: “Imagine the statue of Justitia: the scale has two pans, which should hold equal weights, but if you put a Trapper jeans on one side and a different kind on the other, Trapper will pull it down for sure.”
Sándor also gave an insight as to the origins of the basic material: it is made of Italian, Brazilian, Sri Lankan and Czech imported products, and in addition to the thick version, they also use a thinner fabric for summer pieces, to meet customer requirements.
Trapper comes in a wide variety: they have indigo, linen, corduroy, duffel jeans, and vests, shirts, T-shirts and other accessories are also available in the store. The jeans generally come in a straight or tapered design, but as we later found out, they also offer slim jeans, to the joy of young customers. Even though the selection primarily favors men, women can also purchase a high-waisted and straight-legged Trapper or a skirt, too.
If you’d like to get your own Trapper, go and visit Fő utca 92! You won’t leave empty handed for sure!
Photos: Balázs Csizik