When we first started conceiving the idea which would in time become NoKipple these things were at the forefront of our minds. There is a pervasive arrogance about high fashion that is generally not found in the niche of high end work wear, it is replaced with pride in creation and an attention to detail that is not seen in other areas of the clothing industry. You could argue that a major factor in this has been the prevalence of Japan as the manufacturing and design fulcrum, with the famous Japanese attention to detail setting the standard which must now be achieved if you want to succeed or be taken in any way seriously, but that surely cannot be all can it?
When you take a look at the people running some of the top brands in our field you see that they are in many cases not just designers, they have experience in pattern making, or sewing or machining, some kind of manufacturing background which gives them a hands on appreciation of quality and detail. In other cases the brand owners have a long term association with collecting and studying vintage wears, breaking down examples of good sewing, looking for flaws to correct, and implementing design details long abandoned by modern manufacture in favour of the quick fix option offered by increased automation.
It is a well documented fact that Haraki-San, owner of Iron Heart, worked for many years as a pattern maker for one of Japans other leading brands, Egawa-San owner of Trophy Clothing studied design and sewing before making the initial runs of Trophy jeans himself by hand. Over at Jelado Goto-San spent many years working in vintage clothing stores and identifying the good and bad in everything he saw, this experience has allowed him to bring a great wealth of real experience handling original vintage items to Jelado, and it shows, and over in Indonesia Bagus Satrio owner of Sagara is a fully trained boot maker with a wealth of knowledge about vintage footwear from all over the world.
The collective experiences of brand owners give them a level of pride which filters throughout the consumers of their wares, the retailer and the customer know that if they stock or buy items from these brands then they are have something timeless in which they can place confidence for a long time to come, they do not make disposable items. It is a great criticism of the clothing industry that fashion is disposable, but this is not true of the things we love.
Longevity of use is another key feature of premium denim and work wear, whilst it might be true that you could buy an aesthetically pleasing (to some) pair of jeans from high street retailer for much less than from one of the premium brands which are so widely coveted in our scene, it is also true to say that in most cases they will not look as good, or be made to such a high standard and certainly will not last as long. This longevity is possible because the brands truly understand the essence of work wear, the clothing may carry a premium price, but in most circumstance it will fulfil its task better than most other garments, and not only endure the tasks it will evolve through them, this evolution is a much valued commodity amongst enthusiasts, indeed we compete in a friendly manner to see who’s denim evolves the best through wear.
Another key difference between our scene and high fashion is the relationships built between customers, retailers and brands. The level of interaction and input from all sides is unprecedented, in so much as in many cases customers can communicate directly with brands and interact socially with retailers and fellow enthusiasts. This builds relationships, which creates community and breeds loyalty from customer to retailer and brand, and uniquely vice versa. The importance of these relationships is what helps the community grow and welcome new people, that people are so accessible and the social side is so vibrant is what makes this all so much fun. With all the meet ups, competitions, shows and parties hosted by retailers and brands it is a thriving and vibrant international scene where genuine friendships are made.
It is from and because of all this that NoKipple exists, we believe in what we do, who we work with and what we promote and sell. For us this market is getting wider in scope every year, new brands, new ideas and new customers can only make the community stronger, and we feel proud and privileged to be a part of that.