What Will Happen to the King of Jeans Sign?

There could be a deal to save the iconic ("iconic") South Philadelphia landmark.


If you’ve ever been toward the end of East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly, you’ve seen it: The incredible sign for the King of Jeans, the now-closed retailer. It features… well, you can see it above: A woman in hot pants is squatting down, kissing a shirtless man wearing jeans.

The King of Jeans is now closed, and the location has been approved to be turned into a five-story retail, office and apartment space. The King of Jeans sign may be on its last legs.

I’ve always wondered about the sign, which went up in 1994: Is that man in the sign the King of Jeans? How did the King of Jeans get his title, like was it given to him by the Lady of the Lake? What domain does the King of Jeans reign over? And so on.

Fortunately, City Paper‘s Emily Guendelsberger has a long piece today about the King of Jeans sign!

It’s filled with fun facts and good quotes, including this one from Pissed Jeans’s Matt Korvette: “I knew instantly I would have zero interest in shopping in that store, but that I wanted it to remain in business forever.”

Anyway, there’s good news about the sign’s future: It might be saved!

“The person I sold to originally was going to use it in the construction of the [new] building. But he resold it to somebody else” — that being Kaplan — “so now my hands are out of it,” says Farbiarz. Also, he says, “there’s something called the Philadelphia Museum, they were interested in it at one time. … Call the museum, see if they can get it from the new owner!”

We did. “I’m really looking forward to the possibility of the sign coming to the Philadelphia History Museum,” says Kristen Froehlich, director of collections at the recently reopened PHM. “We’re looking at the 20th century and trying to add pieces to our collection — and it really is a 20th-century landmark.”

Hooray! Today is just full of good news.

[City Paper]