Fresh Weaves Wear Test Part 1 – Simple Living, High Thinking Jeans

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Last week we ran the first in series of posts on upcoming and new denim brands, and that brand was Simple Living, High Thinking Jeans, a company based in and working out of Zhonghsan, China. My initial impressions of SLHT Jeans were that they catered more for a younger and more fashion conscious crowd than I am used to being a part of, and though I appreciated their application it was my opinion that what they offered was more than likely not to my taste, then the samples arrived.

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SLHT sent me samples of two of their raw denim cuts, the SLHTJ906 and the SLHTJ907, both jeans are made from their custom produced Chinese 12.5oz denim, both are reasonably slim tapered cuts. Both jeans feature some details which I am not used to seeing on jeans which I would normally buy for myself, the 906 cut has a waist band and pockets lined with a rather bright Hawaiian style patterned fabric, which is a nice weight and definitely adds to the comfort of the jeans, whether you like it or not is a matter of taste. I will take a look at the jeans individually before giving remarks in conclusion.

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The 906 cut is described as a straight cut, I found it to be quite slim but this may be down to the tolerance between my Western bulk and sizing worked out for the Asian market. The denim is a custom made (for SHLT) 12.5oz denim made from Chinese cotton in Zhongshan province, it has a soft hand for what is quite a tight weave with a clearly visible white weft, the weave is smooth and consistent without runs or slabs and has a surface sheen from the starching process. Details on the jeans include fully lined pockets (all of them!), belt loops and waist band with a fabric which is sure to raise an eyebrow, personally I think it definitely adds to comfort but the colour and pattern will polarise opinion. The constructional stitching is done with what looks to be an olive dyed natural cotton, which is muted and works well with the uniform colour of the denim, all the hardware is brass and bares company logos and the jeans have a nice, wide “jade” selvedge. The highlight of the features for me is the oversized coin pocket which is made to accommodate and iPhone 5S, a real plus for me as I find actual coin pockets to be basically useless in normal wear, something however which is totally not to my taste is the “carpenter” style loop at the side of the right front pocket, this kind of over detailing really rolls my eyes on high street fashion jeans. The jeans also do not have a chain stitched hem, which I think will ultimately turn a few denim heads off.

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The 907 cut is perhaps even slimmer that the 906, but is also described as straight, the cut descriptions are something which SLHT may wish to address for their sales in the west. On the surface this is a much more standard five pocket jean than the 906 with none of the crazy fabric lining or superfluous loops, it is made from the same 12.5oz Zhonghsan denim, features the same jade selvedge, but the detailing is much more subtle. The shape of the front pockets is interesting, almost a slash pocket but with a more scolloped edge, the “coin” pocket maintains its more contemporary use and in place of a pocket arc we find a raised pattern, which should lead to some interesting fades. The lining evident on the 906 cut is still in place and maintains the practical comfort whilst replacing the loud fabric with a much more muted, natural coloured canvas. Again there is no chain stitched hem in evidence.

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In summary I was pleasantly surprised by these jeans from SLHT, they both have elements which are not to my taste in terms of over detailing but the denim is very nice and with minor changes I think they will find a western market. Personally, if it were my company, I would ditch the over detailing of loops etc.., use plain fabrics for lining pockets, loops and waist (I have no issue with coloured fabric, but patterned fabric is a no) and invest in sewing machines which can supply the stitch details that denim enthusiast look out for, particularly on the hem. To me these jeans showed me that clearly the passion and enthusiasm is there, but so is a certain naivety about their customers if they want to break out into the high end denim market, the building blocks are in place, the foundation is solid and there is work to be done to move SLHT up to the next level of quality. If they succeed in making these changes then they have shown me enough here to suggest that they could be a brand to watch in the coming months.

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Denim HQ – Commitment Issues

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It’s not you it’s me, I had to trade you in for younger model with less fades, there’s just so much temptation out there. The reasons which we use to convince ourselves that we NEED a new pair of jeans rather than the ones on our legs are many and varied and mirror those given by a cheating spouse. We all love our jeans, we love the excitement of ordering new ones and anticipating their arrival, we love the pre and post soak fit process and sending them for hemming is part of the charm of them becoming “your” jeans, but like a cute puppy who arrives on Christmas day, or raising a child for most denim heads they feel that a year or so on the reality of their jeans is not what it once was. They need looking after/ repairing more, they are going through that “awkward” teenage phase when the fades are not perhaps what you wanted them to be, but unlike a dog or a child it is all to easy to just start again with jeans, simply buy some new ones and do it all again. Here at DHQ we say NO to that, we say that when you make a commitment to your denim you should stick with it for the long term, if you haven’t worn your jeans for 2 years at least then you haven’t really worn them.

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I see a lot of this in the HWDC contests, what usually happens is that people get really excited about being in the contest, and getting their new jeans, and being a part of this awesome thing…..right up until the next jeans come along and the next reason to buy them leaps into view. Basically, people have the attention span of gnats, we want what we want at that time, at that minute with no regard for what came before or what may come after simply because we can. In the realm of denim I find this particularly sad as so much potential from so many jeans is never truly exploited, and I am sure that I am not alone in saying that seeing well worn jeans is fucking cool, to the point that I do not really like new jeans these days, I actually have started to understand the appeal of pre distressing to some folks, not that I would ever buy any myself.

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It’s been said before in ways and by people far more eloquent than I, but denim is a journey. It is a natural fabric which changes and ages like a second indigo skin. This is the appeal to me, this is why it gathers so much love from so many, more than almost any other item of clothing (leather goods being on an equal footing), it is a willing companion wherever our journey takes us. To simply replace it on a whim is to deny denim its nature and to artificially halt the passing of time, it begs to be worn and so we should wear it as often as possible and wherever practical.

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This is not another of my rants against clothing collectors, I have said all I want to say on that subject more than once, this is me airing my disappointment that people won’t just commit to their denim. It’s something of an open secret in the denim world that I am currently working on a new denim contest, along with this I have begun the process of reviewing the HWDC2 and who is still with us. As a part of these process I find myself wondering why people who spend so much of their time wearing, loving, talking and reading about denim cannot just wear it as it is meant to be worn? Last night I calculated that the drop out rate on HWDC2 is currently about 70%, on HWDC1 at the same stage it was 90% (so I guess we are seeing improvement), but why is this? I don’t care if people decide that they don’t want to compete any more, but when I see these same people in other competitions, wearing different jeans, whilst talking about other jeans they have on order I do sigh a little.

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For the next contest I organise I do have a plan in place to tackle this, and this is not by enforcing strict wearing rules or anything like that, it is to embrace the change, to give yourself a holiday, to allow denim indulgence but to acknowledge that your contest denim should be your first love, your true commitment and be granted the most “leg time”. I just hope I’m not fighting the tide.

Denim HQ – Sub Division Part 3 – Work Wear

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Work wear is a hell of a broad term, it encompasses just about every item of clothing in the whole associated denim scene where the favoured clothing style is by default of utilitarian beauty with vintage inspirations and aspirations, so how to narrow the field? Well, Militaria has been covered so I won’t be discussing anything military here in this piece so I am going to define work wear as clothing and accessories originally or traditionally worn whist performing a manual or skilled task in civilian life, which are still popular within the denim and work wear community to which we all belong, ok? I think that it is a fairly safe bet to say that for the purposes of this piece I will be painting with a fairly wide brush and making some fairly general statements and points, but such is the nature of practical adornments.

Work Boots

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See, I told you that there would be broad strokes here so I thought it best to start with the broadest. When we think about work boots associated with denim we are probably thinking about American work boots, the kind popularised on so many selvedge lined ankles by brands such as Red Wing, for whom I have already stated my lack of regard. The American work boot, when done right, is truly the very image of utilitarian beauty. It is sturdy, substantial, heavy and built to last, but it is also elegant, detailed has beautiful lines as evocative as any Italian super car and depending on your choice of brand and leather it can require just as much maintenance.

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The best American work boots, I mean real work boots, are made by a relatively small collection of companies. To attain the highest level of quality you need to go to a company who offer options and have the experience in the denim market to handle the exacting customers who are perhaps looking for a $400 fire proof, waterproof, none slip boot made from a leather which beautifully evolves with the correct boot grease application, only to be worn on trips to the local supermarket or to the office, I am one of these people and I hate myself for it. We want the quality, the durability and the security of boots which could really take a beating and get back up, if only they were given the opportunity.

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Arguably the “big 3” makers of high end American work boots are White’s, Wesco and Viberg (of Canada), with their level of quality and options being far ahead of just about everyone else, and their popularity outside their more traditional domestic market leading them into making expansions, and even being bought out by a Japanese company in the case of White’s. An point could be made to include Alden in this grouping, but I believe that Alden are more comfortable in the luxury formal shoe and boot market rather than traditional work wear, the Indy and the Tanker boots being notable exceptions.

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Outside of the big 3 there are other options from smaller companies, including Drews and Nicks who also make fantastic quality, hard wearing work boots with perhaps less flowery options in terms of leathers, heels and soles. In all honesty every brand mentioned here makes fantastic quality boots which will last a lifetime with the correct care and attention, there are differences in quality but they are small and down to the individual to ascertain whether they are worth what can be a significant gap in pricing (I’m looking at you Viberg). For my own part I have always been a customer of White’s, well for the last 7 years and saw no reason to stray until recently when a friend of mine introduced me to Wesco boots and showed me a variety of samples. As I have sold my White’s Oxfords I do actually have a space in my footwear wardrobe and I have taken the opportunity to order some boots from Wesco, I look forward to seeing how they compare on the most important stage, my feet.

Work Shirts

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The terms are getting no less general as we move on, but I think that there is an important point to be made here about the work shirt, a point which I feel is being eroded over time by subtle nods to “fashion”. A work shirt varies from a western shirt in a couple of ways, firstly and most obviously it has actual buttons rather than snaps, secondly there is the absence of a front yolk, and thirdly (and here is where things are getting muddy), it should be a much looser cut to allow freedom of movement and comfort for working…..hence work shirt.

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I have a wardrobe containing quite a few of what most would term as vintage work shirts, they are all American made by brands such as 5 Brothers, Frostproof and even Levis and all date from between 1959 and 1981. At the side of these I have a few modern work shirts and I have also been fortunate enough to handle and wear some modern work shirts by amazing brands which were directly inspired by the vintage shirts in my wardrobe, and the modern versions are MUCH more narrow. My firm contention is that this is done consciously as a concession to a more contemporary cut shirt, but it does stray more into Western cut territory than work and makes things considerably more difficult for a more heroically built fellow like myself, hence my foray into the vintage market for something a little more errr…….forgiving and generous.

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Modern work shirts for slimmer men are produced in great number by all our favourite brands, so it really is a matter of finding your favourite material and cut. Of all the modern brands I find that Iron Heart make the most generous cut work shirt, much more like the traditional cut. If money conservation and authentic detailing is your thing then eBay is a great place to pick up vintage American made work shirts for not much money at all.

Work Coat

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Ok, this is getting silly now. Is there really such a thing as general as a work coat? Well….no, but there are a small variety of more traditional designs which remain immensely popular and certainly fall under the “work coat” umbrella, let’s take a look at a few of the most widely loved types, starting with the type 1, type 2 and type 3 denim jacket. These three denim jackets represent the evolution of a Levi’s basic short denim jacket first favoured by actual cowboys and ranchers owing to the comfort afforded by the short length in the riding position, and much beloved still today by truckers and motorcyclists for the exact same reason. The denim jacket is the official partner to jeans in the association of a denim tux, although denim shirts can be acceptable, worn in the right way and contrary to popular belief the denim jacket looks absolutely perfect with jeans, and by the right way I am mainly talking about getting the right colour combination and fit. Of course today every brand makes their own denim jacket, some sticking with tried and tested designs, others treading their own path, much like jeans it is a matter of material preference, practicality and aesthetic which tends to influence consumer choice, and the choice is huge.

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The chore coat is perhaps what most of us think of when picturing a real work coat, chore coats can be made from a variety of materials with denim, duck a cotton cloth being the most common. In design they are made to sit hip length and usually have bigger pockets to accommodate tools, nails or anything else which you may be using to complete your chores. The extra length was added as it was assumed that the chores in question may involve a certain amount of standing, bending, crouching, kneeling and even laying, so additional coverage for the lower back is most likely a bonus in this situation. Chore coats were very popular in the USA through the 1950’s through to the 70’s and still retain a fan base today. You will still find some nice examples made by Pointer, Levis and many of the high end Japanese brands, also vintage versions are not excessively expensive.

Work Caps

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Back in the day it was often the case that a mans profession could be ascertained by the style of his hat, hence the phrase of passing someone the captains hat when they are promoted in the corporate world. In the UK several generations of factory workers were defined by their flat caps, miners by their hard hats with lamp attachment and even postman by their tweed peaked cap. Over in USA the obsession with defining employment by hat was even more rife, with train drivers, rail workers, farm workers, cattle workers, office workers, Dockers and even sportsmen defined by their lid coverage.

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The modern approach to hats is far more clumsy, with baseball caps being de rigueur for a large cross section of society at work or at leisure only to be replaced by a wool hat with an ironic pom pom for the colder months. We hardy breed in the denim and work wear scene however have more than enough time on our hands to thoroughly research which kind of turn of the century work hat we want to display, my personal choice being a short billed “umpire cap” from American brand Ideal Cap Company, who cater for a wide range of vintage styles. Elsewhere notable companies to look into are Ebbets field flannels, Buzz Rickson and most of the other high end Japanese brands who seem to change which style of hat they want to reproduce year after year.

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So that, in the most general terms, is work wear. So what to do next in this series? Well, time to go somewhere unexpected next I think, so next time we will be looking into sports wear and its association with denim. Trust me, it does exist.

DHQ x UOA – A Sit Down With Jeroen De Wal, Union Of Artisans

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Jeroen De Wal is an experienced voice in the world wide denim and work wear scene for innovation and craftsmanship. He is a keen advocate of small scale manufacture and difference through design, which makes our principles somewhat aligned, and as the co founder of Union Of Artisans, a concept to promote new and lesser known brands, it seems that we are chasing the same chicken so to speak.

We thought it would be great to have a sit down with Jeroen and find out what makes him tick by posing a few questions and he was kind enough to return the compliment by posing some questions of his own. Watch out for Jeroen’s interview with me on all things promotional coming very soon to Union Of Artisans ( http://unionofartisans.com ).

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Tell us a little about your history with denim and work wear?

I first became interested in denim and its possibilities when I was around 21. I was managing a store in my hometown at the time, and the owner had a large collection of Marithe + Francois Girbaud.
Research led me to learning about all the innovation Girbaud did in and for the denim industry. From that point on I started following denim development within the high-end brands. However, my passion for raw denim and workwear only became vibrant for a few years. Strangely enough it was none of the iconic brands that triggered it, but a global mass-market brand, Hugo Boss. When I was working for them, they introduced a raw denim style and I became fascinated by the fabric and researched as much as possible, visiting fabric trade shows abroad and look up manufacturers. I got so intrigued by the history and the evolutions raw denim brings that eventually it led me to Japan in 2011 to visit Kurabo and Momotaro. From that point on I never wanted any other product than raw denim as far as it comes to buying jeans.

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I know that we share a great passion for working with smaller brands, single artisans innovative creators, what names should we be looking out for and why?

First, I am a big fan of Red Cloud & Co. from Shenyang, China. When I was living in China, I had the opportunity to meet up with Tuckshop & Sundry Supplies (global distributor Red Cloud) and visit Red Cloud. This guy works in a brick barn in the middle of nowhere and houses an impressive collection of vintage machinery and his fabrics are insane. The fact that everything is done in China, from the growth of the long staple cotton up to the sewing by the master himself, is very fascinating to me. His products are from a level at least equal to the biggest Japanese and USA brands.
Furthermore, I am very much a fan of Endrime from the UK. I met Mohsin Sajid, owner/founder, in Hong Kong last year and this guy is amazing. He has so much knowledge and skill and vision, combined with his exhausting energy level, he makes a great product. What I love about Endrime is that it is very innovative, he pushes the limits and creates insane products and techniques but never lacking in the high quality level.

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Something else which I know we have in common is a belief that high quality is not exclusive to Japan, the USA and Western Europe. What have you seen to reinforce this view which people shouild be aware of?

As I, humbly, represent Red Cloud & Tuckshop in Europe, I frequently get in touch with retailers. What surprises me is how narrow-minded there vision often is. Made in China? Oh no, I don’t want to buy that, my customers won’t like it.
It baffles me. Here you have a great product, made with heart and passion, on a quality level far beyond the general image of Made in China. I feel a retailer should understand his products and recognize quality, see how it is made and understand why it is made. Not where it is made.
I have travelled extensively through Asia, discovering small factories that house vintage shuttle looms, wooden hand looms and work with high level fabrics that they weave locally. It would be ignorance bliss if one thinks that only Japan, USA and Western Europe make top products.
People should be aware of the fact that first of all history tells us that many Asian countries developed most of the common weaving and sewing techniques as well as the natural indigo dying concept. Second, we are humans and we have a nature to develop ourselves. People study sewing techniques, research iconic denim and workwear products. So maybe, there is a guy or girl in Indonesia or Vietnam or wherever that might actually house the skill to make a top-notch product.
It frustrates me that people don’t see this development. I know, within the denim community, there is a growing respect for the odd-market brands. But it would be good if the general public would start understanding that forces are shifting.
Retailers should support this. I am not saying they should stray away from their philosophy or core identity, but they should look at a product from a passion point of view. They are the ones that communicate with their customer, talk about their products. Seeing retailers that refuse to buy Made in China but the next month start selling a commercial brand with poor details really saddens me.

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Union Of Artisans sounds like an interesting project, what is the concept behind it?

UoA first started as a concept that I came up with, together with colleague Jorrit Klunne. I was living in China at the time, Jorrit in fashion-hub Antwerp. We were getting frustrated by the boom of crap retailers and crap clothing that can be found on every meter of the street. We were curious about finding brands and designers, in any industry, that put vision and artisanal quality above all. People that stay away from the masses, people that craft a product with passion and try and build from that point on.
It was not until a few months ago that we finally found a direction in which we want to develop. Our concept now is to source and meet up with artisans in all industries. Understand what they do, look into their branding and publish articles about them. That is our first step. We don’t have funds, so we take our steps slowly but accurate.
What we want to achieve now, is to build a network of people and brands/retailers that we work with. To expand our reach and our name in the various industries.
Our next steps, which we are preparing now, is to consult brands in their branding and develop together. We feel that artisans don’t get the attention they deserve and we hope to contribute to that in any way possible.
The core of our business will always be to connect with artisans and help them grow.
In the future hopefully we can convert it into a physical workspace, combining our services with retail.

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Finally, what currently excites you in the denim and work wear scene?

What excites me, is that there is a growing demand for innovation in the denim/work wear scene. Frankly, I am tired of new brands popping up every day that make the same 5 pocket jeans or N1 deck jacket as the brand that popped up yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, I have huge respect for iconic styles, if it is well-made. But it seems that a lot of new (one-man) brands just want to jump on the trend and buzz that is the raw denim scene. I want to see brands that make something different, something new.
That’s why a guy like Mohsin Sajid with Endrime excites me with his work, or Kevin Seah with his bespoke denim. I hope that their success can be a trigger for those designers that are still doubting if the scene is ready for it.
Nobody will gun you down if you make an innovative product, as long as you make it with passion, believe and vision. And top quality of course 😉

Denim HQ FWA The Hunt – Basic Tee’s – Part 3

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Despite the silence of the last month the hunt has continued, and the first quarry has been recovered. You may recall from the last part of this series that my interest centred on a Japanese brand who had their manufacturing done in China, at Japanese standard, ethical factories and quality checked to Japanese standards. That company was United Athle, part of CAB clothing, who made a huge variety of basics from tee’s of varying cuts and lengths to hoodies, sweatshirts, shorts and track pants, with an impending family break in Barcelona I decided to purchase myself a tee and a pair of shorts to test run in hot climates and report back.

First the bad, and it has nothing to do with the tee, United Athle have possibly the WORST communication of any brand it has ever been my misfortune to talk to, to date I have sent them 17 emails with requests varying from an offer to represent them in the Western market, right down to a simple “can I buy a tee shirt please?”. I have received 2 replies, and neither were particularly verbose or definitive to any of my requests, I just get the feeling that (despite proudly stating on their web site that they can be contacted in Japanese or English), they just don’t want to talk to me.

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Once I recovered my bruised and battered pride I went back to more conventional product acquisition means and tracked down an eBay seller with a large variety of United Athle products at very reasonable prices, I selected a 4.7oz cotton tri blend pocket tee for which the cost including shipping was less than £10, very reasonable. The package arrived in less than 2 weeks (I should point out that the total cost was slightly over £20 including the shorts and shipping cost), they were well packaged and each individually sealed inside its own plastic bag, so far so good. For the purposes of this article I will be focussing on the tee, which I was pleasantly surprised to find really felt like a quality item, at 4.7oz it was very light, soft and exactly what I felt I needed for the 34 degree heat of the Barcelona summer. The material was, and I cannot emphasise this enough, extremely soft on a level I have not felt from a tee before, some might argue that the 4.7oz tee does not feel like a substantial item of clothing but I would say that at this weight it is exactly what you pay for, a light tee for hot weather.

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The stitch pattern is consistent, the seams are tight, it isn’t loop wheeled or tube constructed but it costs less than £10 so I can get over that fairly quickly. The material has a surprising amount of character for a tee, almost heathered and slightly loosely woven it does feel very nice on, and drapes extremely well, the key component to the long term love of any tee I find. Upon arriving in Barcelona I was greeted with a day time temperature of 32 degrees on the first day, a perfect testing ground I believed so I reached for the UA tee and was not disappointed. The tee felt great in the heat, in no way restrictive or sweat inducing it was a pure joy to wear, which is why I made an elementary error, I went to the beach.

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I am a pasty and pale man, in fact to use those words is perhaps understating the translucence of my complexion, I am Casper the Friendly Ghost kind of pale, not ideal in hot weather and exactly the reason that there is a snowballs chance in hell of me walking around with no shirt on in hot weather, I kept the tee on whilst on the beach. The thing about thin cotton blend tees which I didn’t realise is that they apparently offer close to zero protection against UV, which is precisely why despite the presence of my comfortable, dry and nicely fitting tee I got sun burn all over my back and shoulders. It should be pointed out here that this is an error on my part based on an assumption, I assumed that if you kept covered up with a shirt then you did not burn, this has always been the case before but no this time, I should also say that United Athle make no assertions as to the UV protection (or not) or their garments.

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All in all this is a great tee, especially for the unbelievably low price. United Athle make their tee’s in 6 different weights and over the next few months I am going to slowly build up a stock of various weights an colours to cover me for all seasons. If the quality level of the other weights of tees matches the one I have then I think that I am at the beginning of a beautiful relationship with these cheap and basic tee’s, just so long as I remember to put some sun cream on before hitting the beach.

Fresh Weaves Part 1 – Simple Living, High Thinking Jeans

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Welcome to the first in a series of posts which we will be doing to focus on lesser known, under promoted brands. Some weeks ago I posted an offer on Denim HQ and social media that if any denim or work wear company out there wanted help to expose their products, a platform to introduce themselves, and an honest appraisal of their wares on a public platform then they could get in touch, and we will provide them with this. We will do this by asking them a series of questions which are important to denim enthusiasts, which we will publish in interview format, followed by a review of one or two of their products from a design, fit and quality point of view. 

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Since making this offer we have been contacted by quite a few brands, start ups and even more established brands who are interested in either getting a little more exposure, or supporting DHQ by subjecting their wares to our scrutiny, a sure sign of confidence in what they do. The first brand to actually follow through though, by responding to our questions, providing information and dispatching samples for us to paw over are Simple Living, High Thinking Jeans, a brand with its inspiration taken more modern sources than we are perhaps used to in the denim scene, and who like to do things their own way.

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SLHT Jeans do a few things which are well…..kryptonite to 99% of denim enthusiasts. They offer a wide range of pre washed and pre distressed jeans which are completely not my cup of tea, though I appreciate that there is a market for such things, however they also offer a range of raw denim jeans made with modern details, at a reasonable price and with the focus being totally on the high end denim market, this is what we’re here to look at.

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To give us an introduction to the brand I spoke with owner Aman Behl and posed a series of questions which I think give us a nice introduction to what SLHT are trying to achieve in the raw market. 

DHQ: Where do you source your denim?​

Aman SLHT: All our selvage denim is sourced from a mill in Zhonghsan, China. Please note we do not buy any stock fabric, the mill produces it in smaller lots of 500-100 yards depending on our requirements.

DHQ: Where do you manufacture?

Aman SLHT: We have our own sample room, where we do the all the developments, embroidery’s and do the website orders..we have tied up with a couple of small manufactures who do our orders. We manufacture in China.

DHQ: What weight is your denim?

Aman SLHT: The weight is normally 12 and a half oz.

DHQ: Do you have any special features which make your raw jeans unique or different?

Aman SLHT: We started off in the beginning of last year and after a few months realized that we don’t have any raw denim..for a lot of people its about the wash of the jean, but the real denim enthusiast will always prefer raw denim as it can be worn everyday and becomes second skin. I mean what other garment can you wear regularly, guess raw denim is like wine, it ages with time..we advise people to wash our raw denim with just a rinse wash after a couple of months as it begins to take shape..it took us a sometime to design the line, we try a lot of different embroidery’s on back pocket and the pocketing in front (once you receive the sample, you’ll know) and the front coin pocket can accommodate your iphone etc etc..its little details like that that we like to try out.

DHQ: What are your inspirations?

Aman SLHT: One of the main reasons we started was that we found all the high end jeans were either being made in LA or Japan and ridiculously priced with fabric coming from Cone mills or Kukori mills.. we wanted to start a premium jeans made in China..initially we got a lot of rejections, as no one had heard of us..but then we started sending samples to different stores and now have started receiving small test orders as people liked the designs and our fits. Also, we are extremely passionate about our jeans.

DHQ: Who do you see as your customers/ where is your market?

Aman SLHT: We are just going to ship our test orders to a store in Canada and Malaysia and are in discussion with many many other companies around the world.

DHQ: What are the future plans for your brand?

Aman SLHT: We would like to take one step at a time and grow gradually.

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As many of us realise, in todays denim market “Made In China” does not necessarily mean “Made Without Ethics”, and SLHT Jeans are a company who ensure the ethical nature of their supply chain, just as I have seen first hand from a few other Asian denim companies who manufacture outside of the usual chosen lands of Japan and the USA. If I am totally honest, much of what SLHT jeans manufacture is not to my taste, this is not a bad thing really as I have very distinct tastes as I am sure do many others. I have a huge amount of respect for ANY brand out there who are actually making jeans the right way, whether they are to your taste or not the very fact that these guys have taken the time and made the investment to bring their vision to life is worthy of acknowledgement and respect. I think that SLHT with probably have a more broad appeal to younger guys looking to get into the raw denim scene, but not feeling the repro cuts and vintage details that us older guys seem to love so much.

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I have a couple of sample pairs of SLHT jeans incoming and will be reviewing them in an upcoming piece soon.

SLHT Jeans are available at selected retailers in Canada and Malaysia, and through their own web store at http://www.slhtjeans.com

 

Denim HQ – Sub Division Part 2 – Miltaria

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I must stress here that I am far from an expert on anything military, despite the fact that I work for a military electronics company, this sets me at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to discussing anything involved in military reproduction clothing a market where knowledge and attention to detail is almost a prerequisite, to the uninitiated it can get super confusing. Militaria is one of the big associated niche areas of denim and work wear, with quite a few denim companies also drawing inspiration from vintage military wear, some going so far as to make extremely accurate reproductions, obviously a military uniform and associated garments are very much considered work wear and in the main are extremely tough, utilitarian items, but sometimes they are just a good looking design. Let’s take a look at a few of the more well known and popular examples which are still widely produced today.

G-1 Flight Jacket

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G-1 is US military nomenclature for the fur lined collar leather flight jacket first introduced by the US Navy in 1947, although its official name is the M-422A, which replaced the M-422 (a similar jacket also known by the G-1 tag and used since the 1930’s). Now do you see what I mean about military wear being super confusing? To take the confusion to the next level there is also an Army version called an A-1 which is also a popularly reproduced garment.

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The G-1 has enduring popularity amongst a whole variety of denim enthusiasts owing not only to the military connotations, but also as an early biker jacket worn by the motorcycle clubs formed by ex airmen after WWII and the Korean War, the association with work wear and denim is long. Modern reproductions are made by a huge variety of quality leather and clothing companies, with some accentuating the repro element with painted logos or patches reminiscent of the Airborne combat units who first made them famous. Some of the best examples are made by Goodwear, Real McCoys, Buzz Rickson and Eastman leathers, whereas a vintage G-1 can be picked up still on eBay for less than $200, but beware of the condition of such jackets.

M-65 Field Coat

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The M-65 is a field jacket named after the year of its introduction, 1965, and was introduced to replace the M-51, can you guess which year that jacket was introduced? This particular style of field jacket began with the WWII issue M-43 and was improved upon with each itineration which followed. The M-65 was made from a more water resistant but still breathable fabric, and featured a hood which could be rolled up and zipped into the hood. The M-65 saw most of its service during the Vietnam conflict where it became a favorite of the troops for protecting them against the cooler weather of central Vietnam and the monsoon rain conditions often encountered during jungle warfare.

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The M-65 was only originally available in Olive but has since been pressed into service in a variety of situations and environments such as desert (sand colour) and urban (black) conflicts, it has even been made for snow duty with a button in liner and detachable fur lined hood. During military service the jacket was almost exclusively made via contract by Alpha Industries, who still produce an excellent version today for less than $200. In more recent times the M-65 has been reproduced and tinkered with by Iron Heart, Buzz Rickson and Real McCoys.

CPO Shirt/ Jacket

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Even though the CPO stands for Chief Petty Officer, a high ranking none commissioned officer in the US Navy, the CPO shirt/ jacket (there is confusion as it is a thick woolen shirt with hand warmer pockets), it actually bears little resemblance to any part of a CPO’s uniform. The CPO jacket worn by the Naval officer is much more formal, whereas what we know as the CPO jacket is quite a casual item available in a variety of cuts, lengths and colours or patterns.

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First made popular in the 1960’s it has become a staple of the work wear scene with many brands making a variation of the CPO design a part of their winter collection year on year. Some great versions are made by Iron Heart, Trophy, and Buzz Rickson, whereas vintage versions can be picked up on eBay for less than $50 if you’re fortunate to find a good one.

Boondocker Boots

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The iconic Boondocker boot began life as the less glamorously named Type III service shoe, which was ubiquitous to most branches of the US Armed forces from 1940. In fact the nick name Boondocker was given exclusively to the Marines version of the Type III, a rough out service boot, ankle high with a rubber composition sole.

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The modern interpretation of the Boondocker strays away from the original russet colour and rough out leather, although as always accurate reproductions are made available by brands who specialize in such things. Good quality Boondocker style boots are available from Viberg and Sagara, under the name Combatant.

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The next niche which I’ll be looking into in real work wear, clothes made to fulfill a working purpose which have become associated with the denim scene in some way or another.