Parasuco with his fave, Mickey Rourke.

When I recently jumped on a call with Salvatore “Sal” Parasuco, Founder and President of Parasuco Jeans, his passion and charisma for denim as a fabric, fashion item, and industry were not just evident in his voice, but the energy was so palpable it jumped through the device. After all, it was never just a fabric for him, but a lifelong fascination.

Parasuco started experimenting with denim at a very young age, opening the doors to his first retail adventure in denim, Pour Les Deux, at just 19 in 1972.

The denim devotee is also credited with starting the first denim laundry in Canada, where he and his family were pioneering washed denim, creating unique and beautiful washes right here in Montreal. Remarkably, washed denim is the standard now, but before then, denim was a workwear item, sold raw. As one of the pioneers to create and sell washed denim, Parasuco contributed to an industry that is not only deeply important to fashion history but also one that employs hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. Pretty impressive!

Portrait of a denim legend, Salvatore “Sal” Parasuco.

What initially drew Parasuco to denim was its versatility—the fabric itself is wrought with so many possibilities. But not just anyone can look at a wad of fabric and imagine brand new and innovative wardrobe staples. Parasuco’s vision is singular. He’s always one step ahead, looking to fill the void in the market that the rest of us mere mortals—not blessed with denim vision—don’t yet know exists. Take stretch denim, for example. It was Parasuco’s idea to combine Lycra with the cotton weave to allow for more flexibility. (Which means he’s also somewhat responsible for the denim bodycon revolution!)

As for the industry itself, the fashion business, Parasuco explains, rather candidly, that it’s not for the faint of heart—since you’re “only as good as your next hit.” In his case, a profound passion to innovate surfaced as the best possible business plan, always driving him to push the envelope and take advances to another level. That’s why decades later, he’s the resident Jeanius to thank for acid-washed, black over-dyed, sandblasted, and the above-mentioned stretch denim.

Khloé Kardashian feeling the Parasuco love.

Not surprisingly, his denim mastery soon made blue (and multihued) waves beyond the confines of his hometown of Montreal, catching the eye of big-deal Hollywood celebs like Parasuco’s favourite actor, Mickey Rourke, who reached out to him for campaigns. For Parasuco, an immigrant from Italy who worked tirelessly to provide for himself and his family, this was the ultimate coup. Direct interest and outreach from such an established actor were a definite sign that he had “arrived somewhere!”

Parasuco and wife, Rosie, with the Backstreet Boys.

In addition to stars like Rourke, Parasuco is also very proud of the mark he’s made on American hip-hop culture. Artists like Snoop Dog and Nelly reference the brand in their songs. Other singers have proudly worn their jeans, including The Backstreet Boys, Beyoncé, Celine Dion, and Justin Bieber, to name a few.

Cross-section of legends: Sal, Rosie, and Celine.

While Parasuco’s impact on the denim industry and the fashion industry as a whole is profound, he’s also made a point of giving back to the community. As is always the case with Parasuco, he did so in very innovative ways.

When Rock Hudson died of AIDS in the 1980s, the disease was still fairly new and stigmatized. At the time, Parasuco Jeans was in the midst of designing a new collection when Parasuco had one of his signature “brain babies.” He decided to include a denim shirt with two front pockets and then resourcefully incorporated a hidden pocket into one of them—a secret spot for a condom. The trailblazing shirts were sold this way, replete with hang tags calling AIDS the “big disease with a small name.”

Once again, Parasuco’s innovation gained massive media attention and coverage, and the denimpreneur found himself doing radio interviews globally.

Certainly, this was good for business; however, it was also good for the world. Fashion is ultimately a marriage between style and culture. It’s not just the clothing that matters, but the cultural moment within which it makes a splash—Parasuco cannonballed.

What’s next for the denim legend, who’s also against overconsumption and thereby takes extra joy in being approached by adults who bought his jeans in their teens and kept them well into adulthood?

Outerwear! He launched the line at Italian trade shows in June 2023 and January 2024, and deliveries are set to roll out next fall. After doing jeans all his life, this expansion is a natural extension that understands the need for “attractive but functional” down jackets that will keep wearers warm without compromising style.

Stay tuned for the next Parasuco profile that will surely boast a title like: PARASUCO, WHY THEY CALL HIM THE OUTERWEAR LEGEND…!

For more Parasuco, the denim legend and the brand, visit

By Jenn Campbell

Montreal-based luxury lifestyle social magazine. for lovers of: parties, solid fashion, fine eats, sexy escapes, the best in fitness and health trends, motivating quotage, good pop and other culture, celebrity fabulousness and the whole luxury lifestyle landscape in general.

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