Denim HQ – To Clarify

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A couple of days ago I made a post about fake jeans based on high end Japanese brands being sold in Malaysia and Thailand mainly ( https://denimhq.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/denim-hq-denim-pirates/ ), since this post there has been a lot of discussion around this subject on forums and social media so I thought that it is worth clarifying a couple of points.

I do not dislike the denim scene in South East Asia

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I have heard this said and it is just crazy. I love the denim scene everywhere and I have seen and handled denim from Malaysia and Thailand, not to mention that I am involved in retailing some Indonesian brands. In particular in Malaysia I was impressed with the denim from Cheese and Ceremony, Cheese have a great humour, quality denim and some innovative thinking whereas Ceremony make a very nice detailed pair of jeans in some great cuts.

The pirates and their customers are a minority of the scene

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Nobody should get the impression that the denim scene in ANY country is dominated by pirates selling crap quality, fake jeans. The pirates stealing other peoples hard work and their deluded customers are a minority, I personally know a lot of real denim heads from South East Asia who work hard and save hard to afford the real thing, and I have nothing but love and respect for these guys. Their dedication to their denim in such a hot climate is impressive.

The jeans are probably not made in Malaysia

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From what I am told the jeans are actually produced in sweat shops in China for export to the South East Asian market. The pirates have identified a consumer need in the market there and have spotted that some of the consumers cannot afford the market price, this is where the demand is created for fakes, but there are other ways….

There are other ways…..

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Apart from the obvious ways of saving money and waiting for longer to buy the real thing there are also alternative ways to get great denim. Most western online forums have “Buying and selling” sections where some nice denim can be bought for sometimes not a great deal of money, keep checking these sections out on places like the Iron Heart forum and Superfuture, links below..

http://www.ironheart.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=5.0

http://supertalk.superfuture.com/index.php/forum/21-supermarket/

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Also, there are some great brands who are local to South East Asia, many of them using locally produced denim of high quality, some of them even sourcing Japanese denim. Why not invest into local brands and then spread the word about how good the denim scene is in your country/ region by joining in the global denim community on forums like the ones I mention above, and showing off your jeans. Trust me, you will find nothing but respect coming from the majority of the wider denim scene for supporting your local brands. In the HWDC2 we had a lot of guys from Indonesia and Malaysia wearing local brands with some incredible results. I know that some people worry about the ethics of local brands and how their jeans are produced but just do your research, ask questions, and visit the brands if you can, there are some good guys out there.

By buying the fakes you are missing the whole point of denim

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The point being that we buy from brands like Samurai, Iron Heart, Evisu and Momotaro for their great denim, quality and cuts. By buying these fake jeans you are buying cheap mass produced denim, often chemical treated in cuts that the real brands don’t make and at sweatshop level quality, not sewn by small businesses in Kojima with generations of experience. The thing you buy might say Samurai on it, but that is the only similarity.

In conclusion

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The denim scene in South East Asia is one of the biggest in the world, it is a customer base which brands cannot afford to ignore but unfortunately neither can the pirates and criminals making these terrible fakes. The responsibility for stopping this does rest with the consumer unfortunately, because without demand there is no business for these thieves. All that needs to happen is for people to make a simple choice, stop buying this rubbish and either save your money, buy used jeans or invest in local brands.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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6 thoughts on “Denim HQ – To Clarify”

  1. Unfortunately you will never stop these pirates in a million years & you will never stop the consumer buying them. You have to take it as a form of flattery to be copied, however, the annoying part about it is that these pirates probably make more money than the the brands themselves. If your buying into top end denim or anything else, as mentioned in the above article, then it’s not rocket science that you get them from a certified dealer.
    If you paying, for arguments sake £60 for a pair of Iron Heart denim off the net, then they are certainly going to be fake. We have an entry level denim at a£65 & made in Turkey & to be honest you find it very hard to get a better pair for the price . The fabric is from the renound Turkish mill, Isko . We also have Selvedge denim from Candiani in Italy & made in England for £100. Next we will have denim from one of the best mills in Japan (Nihon Menpu) and the USA (White Oak from Cone Denim) and also made in England for around £150. £175.00 . The pricing reflects the shipping & duties & the amounts we actually manufacture, as they are all on a micro productions runs of 100 pieces per style & become more expensive to make…… 🙂

    1. Isko make some really nice denim, for £60 that is a great pair of jeans, and as you say you cannot pick up high end Japanese denim for the kind of money these copies are sold for.

      I’m hoping that by publicising the issue of fake denim that we can at least make a sizeable dent in the pocket of these pirates, and make consumers think twice about where and how they spend their hard earned money.

  2. I loved the original article, and this follow-up is just as good. I’ve been to South East Asia this year. I can tell you through my own personal research and experience that the denim scene is not only alive and well there, it’s exploding. In my opinion, it wasn’t the foreign brands or fakes making that happen. The denim heads that I met were most interested in the local brands, although they could only get them in limited quantitates. Cheese and Ceremony Fine Wear are just two of those brands. Old Blue Co, Fifthrequisite, and Indigoskin were also very sought after and very much talked about in every denim shop I visited. None the less, the locals also have a lot of respect and interest in brands from America, Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.

    Fakes are just an easy way out no matter how you slice it. One of the hardest things to do when starting a business is coming up with concepts, designs, and ideas that are original and make your product stand out from the competition. Recreating copies (fakes) and cutting corners on the quality is the easy way out. People knowingly buying fakes (and I believe a lot people do) are also taking the easy way out by attempting to be stylish, without spending the money. There are plenty of companies out there doing it the right way. Support your local brand, or find a brand in your price range before buying fakes.

    1. Totally agree, it’s all about education and promotion with brands who are new to the global market (as I have learned in recent months). People all over the world will rely on the old staples as they have built a reputation and trust with their customer base.

      High end denim is expensive, so by introducing new brands you are asking consumers to trust your judgement and trust these new brands to deliver a level of quality equal to or surpassing what the consumer is used to. Add to that the point new brands will have to offer something slightly different in terms of either fit or materials and you appreciate the challenge which new brands and retailers face.

      Customers need to keep an open mind but they also have to have a reason to take a chance, that is the challenge. Otherwise they will always stick with what they know, or if they want to emulate (in their own minds) what they perceive to be the top brands for less money then they will buy fakes rather than trust in a lesser known brand. The logic is crazy to me, but it does exist or the pirates would have no market.

  3. I’m taking the pirates on at their own game by making fakes of their fakes and undercutting them in the process. I’m convinced that I’m doing nothing wrong here and that two negatives make a positive. Everything is made from discarded pairs of jeans – I call it ‘salvage’ denim. I’ll keep you updated…

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