Denim HQ – Random Updates

photo%201

Over the past few months I have left a few loose ends which need tying off, none of them really warrant their own post so I will round up where I’m at with a few things that I’ve been looking into.

DSC_0004

First World Artefacts (FWA) – I left this with me waxing lyrical about the lightweight tee which I acquired from United Athle, a company with the communication skills of the Mongol horde, and a promise that I would pick up more of their tee’s in different weights before providing final judgement on whether I had indeed found “my perfect tee”. The order for a couple of new tee’s, a 12oz heavy sweatshirt and a 10oz hoody went in today so expect a full United Athle love or hate fest coming in the next few weeks…

photo%203

Sub Division Part 3 (Sportswear) – I must admit laziness here, I need to educate myself a little on this subject before publishing an article on the subject. I have some knowledge but alas not enough to write something worthwhile, so I will educate myself on my way to London on the train this weekend and report back shortly.

20140113_top

Recommend Me Some Jeans – The response to this piece blew me away, it was getting almost like harassment over the comments, social media and email and I checked out every single pair of jeans mentioned, which was a real education. I narrowed it down to four models, being the S710OG which prompted the piece originally, the Ooe Yofukuten, Sugar Cane Okinawa and Red Cloud R400 17oz or 424BE, all of these jeans are great choices and any would make me super happy. I narrowed the choice down to the Samurais and the Red Cloud for no other reason than my own personal taste and I am 99.9% settled on the Red Cloud jeans purely because I have never tried their jeans before and they look amazing. New jeans will come in October and a report will appear here.

Red-Cloud-Co.-R400-back

Attention China, Let’s Make Some Jeans – I’ve spoken to a few people about my concept, got some really nice positive feedback, and I’m checking out some manufacturers to work some samples with. This is going to be a costly endeavour, but I am not deterred as I think it could be really cool.

5401_col

Get Paid Or Dye Trying – This one has really hit the skids, just because I’ve been so busy with everything else. Honestly, I haven’t actively chased down any gainful employment in the denim industry for a while, I will do at some point but I have a few irons in the fire for personal projects which are keeping me super busy if not actually paying me. Build a portfolio of work right?

OB8

Denim Monk – Something comes, something goes, simple yeh? So far I have moved on some footwear and I’m expecting more footwear to come in November. With the advent of new denim I will also look to move on some of my existing denim, that could be a tough call.

welcome-chinese-sign-red

Upcoming Projects – Too many to mention, I’m working with a few new brands in an advisory capacity, we have a the Phase 2 project coming up for NoKipple, the worlds largest denim contest in the works, this site and hopefully a move into getting a small manufacturing project off the ground at some point. I have no interest in becoming a jeans maker, but I think it would be cool to do a small run of something special.

As always, I’m available through here, email, social media and forums should anyone have a project that they would like to discuss.

Advertisements

Denim HQ – Royal Works Malaysia – Back To Basics

photo 1

I should confess to having something of a love/ hate relationship with the Malaysian denim scene. On the one hand I have encountered a couple of shady characters who seem to be only interested in their profits and think nothing of blatantly stealing other peoples designs or using the ideas and work of others for their own gain, this isn’t unique to Malaysia but this is where I personally have seen it. On the other hand the real denim scene there is one of the fastest growing and populated by some of the most genuine people you could possibly hope to meet and the MyDenim community has a fantastic, family feel that is sorely lacking in many of the hollow and hallowed cathedrals of denim elsewhere. If anything, Malaysia (and also Indonesia) are perhaps the next frontier for denim, where enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge, along with an influx of wealth into the region, are driving the market on. As with many other expanding areas of quality denim before them it is no surprise that Malaysia is now starting to see the emergence of a domestic manufacturing scene, I saw this a couple of years ago myself in Indonesia and know that if it is approached in the right way it can yield impressive results. So when my fellow DHQ writer Amir asked me to take a look at some domestic denim with which he is intimately familiar and give my opinion I was honoured to do so.

photo 2

I will start by saying that Royal Works are not a company that I know much about, so far from traditional style I will skip the history lesson and introduction of the brand and stick with the facts that I do know. They are an extremely small scale jeans company based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, their jeans are made hands on by the people who run the brand using vintage machines and their jeans arrive in a rather nice linen bag. The absence of other information is not a negative to me here as it will allow me to concentrate on what is important, the jeans themselves, without being told about the origin and weight of the denim, or the dyeing process, or the brand concept and influences I can get into the details and feel of the product itself without preconceptions or expectations. So without further delay, lets take a look at the jeans.

photo 3

The first thing to notice is that the denim is dry and stiff, heavily starched and very tightly woven giving a uniform finish and smooth surface to the denim, but without the sheen of further post process, this leads me to believe that it is most likely one washed rather than sanforised. I would be amazed if the origin of the denim is anything other than Japanese, probably Kaihara and the weight I would estimate at 12 – 14oz (looking forward to seeing if I got any of that correct when I speak to Amir). The colour depth and variation of the denim is also interesting and distinctly Japanese, coupled with the tight weave it should yield some really nice results with wear, so on the denim side of things I am pleased and they certainly feel like a premium pair of jeans.

photo 1

The stitch quality and build is also done to a good standard, with no more loose ends than I would expect to see on a pair of high end Japanese or American jeans (that is to say that there aren’t many at all). The inseams are double stitched, the hems are chain stitched and reinforcement is provided in all the places which you would expect via the use of constructional stitching and rivets, some hidden and some not. The hems are chain stitched so roping will become a factor of wear which many educated denim enthusiasts expect to see as standard, I have been surprised by the amount of newer brands who seem to neglect this most basic of details. So far so good then, material is great and the stitching likewise, now onto what isn’t so good.

photo 2

I do have a few gripes when it comes to these jeans, chief amongst which is the quality of the hardware, this is a simple thing which so many brands get horribly wrong. The buttons look fine, I really like the fact that they are using plain donut buttons to keep with the plain and basic aesthetic, but they feel cheap and flimsy. I am told that the brand are aware of this and have addressed it for future production runs which I sincerely hope is the case. The other points are really just a matter of personal taste more than anything else, I am not a fan of exposed rivets on back pockets and these jeans have one, I know that some will see it as nothing more than a design differentiator but to me having one exposed rivet just looks a bit….weird I guess. I am also not a fan of exposed selvedge on a coin pocket, and you guessed it these jeans have that too, for me it’s not a deal breaker and I know that some people really like it (and on the fly), I’m also aware that even prestigious brands like Samurai use it on some of their models but it’s just not my thing, I find it too showy. My wife and I spent a good few minutes debating the merits of the visible selvedge (she is a fan and I am not), we did this whilst our 8 year old was giving his new jeans a tub soak upstairs, this is the kind of household that I live in. What I haven’t got to yet though is what is, in my opinion, the hardest thing to get right about a pair of jeans and Royal Works have hit the bulls eye first time around.

photo 4

Many great denims exist, and more are being made by mills all over the world every day and anyone can buy a great denim fabric by contacting one of these mills and placing an order, it is that simple. Making jeans is not a black art either, obviously standards and skills vary as they do with anything but you can learn the skills or find the skills and pay to utilise them, hardware can be sampled and bought from places which are found to be most agreeable in terms of quality and price point and details on a pair of standard five pocket blue jeans are a fairly small list to choose from, so what makes the creation of jeans tough? What separates the well made but average from the jeans that make you want to wear them daily? For me it is unquestionably the cut, how the jeans fit the human body is the hardest thing to get right and probably the most important thing in making a good impression on your customers.

photo 3

To provide an example of my belief I give you the case of the Samurai S710XX and the S110j (Jin model). The Samurai Jin was one of the first jeans I really lusted after, the denim was incredible and the detailing was so different to most other jeans around at the time (they have since changed the denim), that I had to have them. I bought them and a pair of S710’s which I got a good deal in, but wasn’t expecting much from, basically I bought them because they were cheap and seemed to be popular with Samurai fans. When both pairs arrived I quickly learned why so many people wore the 710’s and virtually no-one seemed to have the Jins, the 710 has a totally flattering fit which really makes the wearer enjoy wearing them, they give you a defined shape without being super skinny and maintain a very masculine silhouette. By contrast the amazing denim of the Jins was soon forgotten when I found the cut to be loose, sloppy and shapeless, not loose as in a vintage 50’s cut more like loose and cheap sweat pants. The Jins remain my greatest denim disappointment.

photo 5

Royal Works should not worry about their cut though as it is one of the best I have tried, from anyone. It is fitted in the right places and relaxed in others giving defined shape to the wearer whilst preserving modesty and staying masculine. It is comfortable and just the right mix between contemporary and classic, for the cut alone I would buy these jeans and for the cut alone I will wear these jeans in my regular rotation, not something to be taken lightly as I am extremely particular about what goes on my legs on a regular basis. Again, it is the cut which makes me want to see how these jeans evolve and it is the shape which makes me think that they will turn out really well with wear. I will keep you all updated here through DHQ and hope to provide a little more information about Royal Works in an upcoming piece including whether I was right about the denim, and where you can actually buy a pair of these things. In summary, the jeans are as good as I have tried for a basic five pocket pair, the basic are all there and in place with far more positive points than negative.Good job Royal Works, if you have sorted out the hardware issue then I would have no hesitation in telling folks that these jeans are definitely worth a look.

Denim HQ – Tommy, The Denim Kid

photo 4 photo 2

My son Tommy is a very lucky boy, and not just because his father is such an amazing person (joke). A few weeks ago I was told by my friend Guido that he would be bringing me a pair of his Oyuki Denim jeans for Tommy when he came over to visit London in September, this was great news as I have a firm belief that the children’s denim market is one which has not been fully explored yet, and Oyuki are in a prime position to ride that wave when it finally comes to shore. Shortly afterwards we discovered that the reason why Tommy was hustled into an office by the Iron Heart Japan crew this summer, with them all carrying tape measures, was that they had decided to custom make a pair of their 21oz 634 cut for him, a quite unbelievable gesture from a company who have been close to my family since we were introduced. Indeed Tommy refers to Iron Heart founder Shinichi Haraki as his “granddad in Japan”, and their game of football at this summers Iron Heart party was a joy to watch. Even more amazingly both of these pairs of jeans arrived this week.

photo 5 photo 2
To begin with, I am not going to draw comparison between the jeans, it would not be right to do so. They were gifts for an 8 year old boy and they are both fantastic pairs of jeans. Oyuki specialise in children’s jeans, Iron Heart do not. Iron Heart have years of experience and access to the finest possible materials and jeans makers in the world, Oyuki do not. Oddly for a post on a denim blog about jeans I am not even going to talk about the jeans in any detail or meaningful way, I won’t talk about details, denims, stitching, weight or fit. I will talk at length about Oyuki Denim in an upcoming article and there will be countless upcoming posts from me over forums and social media of my boys life in denim. What I will do is share some simple images of Tommy and his prized jeans, I will tell you that he loves them and that he is very grateful and I will also tell you that he will wear both pairs with the pride of a kid brought up around great denim and the reckless abandon of a boy who loves to play football, climb, skateboard and generally be a kid.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 3 photo 2 photo 1

Thank you Guido and Haraki-San, your denim has found a good home and has made a young lad very happy.

photo 3 photo 1 photo 2 photo 1

DHQ x HWDC – Best Laid Plans

87FE5519-5A30-4319-B196-6020B34D5279-15389-000013B2834181E5

Pretty much since registration closed on the HWDC2 I have been inundated with requests, monthly, for people asking to either join late or “when will the next one begin”? I’m not going to lie, the HWDC2 was as much a pain in the ass as it was fun, and the whole experience had made me rethink my sideline career as a contest organiser. The problems with the HWDC2 stem from me basically not realising how popular it might be, I wasn’t prepared for the sheer amount of time and effort it would take to process so many people’s entries, requests and questions, at the time it really was quite stressful. So why the hell would anyone want to repeat it? Why do it again? Well, because I would challenge any denim head to open up the HWDC2 threads on Superfuture or the Iron Heart Forum and not be blown away by the stunning pictures of the heavily worn denim, sincerely and without an ounce of hubris, I believe that this contest is responsible for some of the most incredible images of worn denim ever created, and for that more than anything else I am proud.

8166428788_2588d6ebd8_z

So anyway, without actually deciding whether to subject myself to the whole thing again, I began the process of bouncing ideas around people in the denim and work wear scene who’s opinion I respect around 5 or 6 months ago. The HWDC2 was only half way through but experience had taught me that failure to prepare was not an option if this was ever to get past the pipe dream stage of planning. Over time the bouncing of ideas became serious conversations about implementation and how much of the pitfalls and stress of HWDC2 could be avoided, solutions were found, experts called in , quotes were given, potential sponsors were contacted and finally all the dominos were in place to make the next contest something really special. A much more immersive experience for the denim community in general whether you were to compete or not, and it would work with brands and retailers who could support a contest on a scale unattainable before. What could possibly go wrong?

photo-1

An extremely popular part of the contest has always been the merchandising, especially the tee shirts which have an iconic association with the contest, as has the Popeye character, and as such we definitely wanted to be able to offer those again through our regular collaborator and partner DoubleXX. The design was fantastic, a play on the old with a nod to the new, the only unfortunate thing was that upon completion the design was prematurely placed in the DoubleXX store for order, not a problem really as it was on its own page, it had not been announced and there it could sit until we were ready to press the go button. Unfortunately trouble was about to find us in the form of a less than ethical retailer in Langkawi.

65155_569949153031536_801766967_n

The retailer in question, and I don’t want to mention their name as I don’t want them to get any free press from this, had previously bought up the last remaining batches of HWDC1 and 2 shirts from DoubleXX and was making a very nice profit by selling them to anyone and everyone, mostly people who were not in the HWDC. I don’t mind that DoubleXX sold them the shirts, contestants had more than ample opportunity to buy them and it wasn’t a lot of shirts, but it did kind of get under my skin just how much this retailer was milking his association with the HWDC and gloating over social media about just how successful his shirt sales were. I saw more and more pictures on social media of people wearing these shirts who were definitely not in the contest, which honestly I found quite amusing and I often commented how much I liked their shirt (I genuinely do), but still the fact that this none associated store was apparently trying to build an association bothered me. The whole thing felt mercenary and cheap, not done with any love and understanding for the contest (the retailer did not once speak to me about the contest even to get an overview), and it occurred that if he treated all of his “brands” like this then any continual association could be damaging for peoples perception of the contest. So imagine just how pissed off I was when this charlatan took it upon himself to announce the HWDC3 over social media using a tee shirt image taken from the DoubleXX web store !

HDC-version-2

Once again, this shady back street denim pedlar was trying to build an association with something that he had no love for. The HWDC was created with the sole purpose of seeing some beautiful well worn denim, to give people a shared experience and make the denim community even stronger. As time has gone by the idea has evolved and been added to in many ways, but the core principles of fun, experience and community remain and I can honestly say that every brand and retailer who we have worked with through this has totally understood and supported that, but I highly doubt that was this guys guiding thought when hocking tee’s and using the HWDC hash tag on social media. To be clear, I don’t mind people making a profit, if you have invested in the contest and enabled it to happen then there perhaps even should be an expectation of return, no matter how slight it might prove to be, however I certainly do mind when, through a tenuous link of some tee shirts, a none associated retailer tries to build association and takes it upon themselves to announce something which they frankly have sod all to do with.

IMG_0204

Many people have worked hard and long on building the next contest, it is going to be great, and to have some greedy merchant try to take some shine away from it to sell a few tee’s is more than irritating, it left us with a decision. All through the build up process to this I have always said that I didn’t want to do it unless it was perfect, zero margin for error and an experience totally unlike any of the previous contests, which I regard as a very fun training ground for what we have built this time, and now we had to decide whether this person had made the contest un-launchable. We have decided that it will go ahead, but there will be changes, chief of which will be availability of merchandise only through DoubleXX and authorised sponsors and retailers. We have to be careful here because for this contest I don’t want to be involved in discussing anything other than the denim, the contest, the format, the fun and the experience for all, in that sense we are very much going back to basics but in another sense we are cranking the whole thing up by several levels. The grand unveiling is a matter of weeks away, preparation will be key for everyone, and when it begins I believe that it will benefit the denim community as a whole.

photo

Denim HQ – Levi’s Is Imitation The Sincerest Form Of Flattery?

OD6

A while ago I wrote a piece about direct copies of jeans by certain popular Japanese brands being produced and sold mainly in Malaysia through internet social groups, this is unacceptable, criminal and direct piracy, but there are grey areas here too. In the area of clothing design it is probably fair to say that just about everything is derivative to one degree or another, if you can think of it then the chances are that someone has already done it, or at least something very similar. Narrow that field to something as simple as jeans and you find yourself even harder pushed to be original, it doesn’t help that the basic five pocket blue jean is pretty much a perfect design in its most basic form, there are tweaks sure, but they are exactly that, tweaks.

OD18

Unarguably the most popular and well known jeans company in the world is Levi’s, their iconic designs details and cuts have formed the basis of just about every denim brand since, with the clear exception of the other American super brands of Lee and Wrangler, but I don’t feel a huge amount of love for Levi’s in the circles of Japanese denim enthusiasts. The reason for the lack of Levi’s love for many is the court case in which the San Francisco brand successfully lobbied to have certain design details removed from Japanese brands who they felt were treading too much on their toes in terms of the jeans which they were producing. The details in question were most notably the “red tab” and stitched arcs on the back pocket, and even as a confirmed fan of Japanese denim I do have to concede that Levi’s may have had a point. The legal victory limited the sale of jeans by other brands carrying these details in the United States, Europe and anywhere else where Levi’s could enforce a copyright ruling, so no effect was felt on Asian domestic markets. Weirdly this had the effect of making Japanese jeans carrying the red tab seem even more original to the denim head, and jeans by Japanese brands who still flaunt this ruling are prized possessions for some, whilst other brands have handled it with a clever twist of their own (such as the red W for “works” on Iron Heart back pockets).

OD66

The case of and for Levi’s is the most famous example in the history of quality denim, and ironically it came at a time when Levi’s themselves had begun to realise that they would perhaps like to step into the quality denim market through their own LVC range, marking and celebrating the heritage of the brand by bringing back some manufacturing to the US, and using domestically produced denim. In typical big business style though it did not last and more recent LVC efforts have seen production once again sourced out to both Mexico and Turkey in the name of cutting costs, the brand has been further diluted by the introduction of the “Made And Crafted” range, which purports to be a quality line of crafted products and is in fact made in factories in more economically challenged lands. I personally find it quite sad that the only aspect of quality denim that Levi’s really seem to understand these days is marketing, they undoubtedly have the financial clout to reinvigorate domestically produced denim, but they seem more intent of maximising profits and using smoke and mirrors to market their wares. It’s also quite ironic that Levi’s in turn have borrowed a design feature first popularised in Japan for the made and crafted range with the internally stitched pockets arcs being revealed through the wear and fade of the denim, and had no problem passing it off as their own original genius.

OD3

In truth, Asian copyright laws (or lack there of) make pretty much anything fair game for both sides unless they want to get really pissy (as Levi’s did) and control their domestic market. I did say earlier that Levi’s had a point in their law suit, and they definitely did, but where I lose sympathy for them is that their lack of ethics and chasing of profit over everything else created the gap in the market which the foreign brands exploited. While Levi’s moved production out on the USA and into Mexico at rapid pace, expanding into manufacturing operations in Turkey and the Philippines to satisfy foreign demand for recognised brands at lower prices they totally ignored their own production heritage in the name of efficiency, profit and progress, failing to recognise that the demand still existed. It wasn’t right what the Japanese denim companies did, and continue to do, but I am glad that they do it as a constant reminder that Levi’s dropped the ball, and spat their dummy out when someone else picked it up.

OD15

Denim HQ – A Bargain For Who?

nikeshite

Way back in the mists of time, back before I was aware of such things as quality high end selvedge denim, vintage production and weaving techniques trained from generation to generation and ethically sourced materials I used to wear jeans from (shock!), high street retailers. To people not involved or aware of the of the aforementioned things there is probably nothing at all wrong with buying jeans from high street retailers, but there is, and not just for the reasons that might be immediately apparent.

men-for-jeans

Firstly let me quantify, I know that many of the ideas, concepts and information here is just as relevant to electronic devices, children’s toys and every other item of clothing, footwear and accessories as it is to denim, but this site isn’t about electronics or toys so we always come back to denim. It is a well trodden path, but one worth exploring again to keep it fresh in our minds, that just about all of the worlds clothing is made in countries where people are exploited to work unfeasibly long hours in unsafe conditions for barely enough money to exist so that we in the first world can fill our wardrobes for an increasingly brief amount of time with the constant rotations of the “latest fashions”.

Nike-sweatshops

It is also slightly less well trodden but still largely known that the decreasing attention span of fashion conscious consumers, and the rapid availability of cheap clothing has lead to many people in more affluent countries operating a revolving door policy on their closets. From sweat shop to high street to wardrobe to land fill in a matter of weeks. The clothing industry is a monster who exploits the vulnerable, deceives the gullible and is slowly but surely choking the life out of our planet by wrapping it in a sheet of polyester and nylon.

abercrombie

The part in all this not often considered is the effect to the humble customer, the average Jo who’s main consideration is the cost of the item. We who make our purchases in the market of quality denim and work wear should always remember that we are privileged to do so, we are in the top 5% of wealth in the world and even when we consider that we are a little short of funds we should certainly be aware that our standard of poverty is insignificant in comparison to most other human beings. However, even those in countries which are traditionally considered to have a relatively affluent populace the effects of the economic crisis are changing spending habits and forcing consumers , in many cases, to regard price as a superior consideration to quality.

file_179921_0_Zara

The effect of this is that many consumers are now operating a false economy, the low quality of their purchases leading to them requiring quick replacement, and at the price of high street jeans it will not take many replacements needed before the cost of a good quality, ethically produced item could have been purchased, whose life cycle is far greater than the hastily assembled, poor quality readily available item. Taking it back a few steps and looking again at the ethics of production and sourcing materials, considering the buying power of the major retail chains and the amount of poor quality material being produced using process’s which damage people and the environment, the containers of low grade clothing being produced by the millions to reach ever expanding markets, add this to the self perpetuating problem of consumers feeling forced into a false economy of cheap purchases and you will appreciate the issue at hand.

primark3

So what is the answer? It is far from easy, but there does need to be a mind set change, people need to consider that a bargain is not solely based on the price on the ticket of the item, the considerations are much wider. If you are the kind of person who can consider the moral implications of their purchase then this will change your mindset and force you to source things which are ethically produced through the supply chain. However, even if you will only consider purchase price as your deciding factor you have to concede that repeatedly purchasing the same disposable items is not a long term answer, buying items which will remain with you for many years has to be the way to go surely?

tesco_jeans-701618

Take the average cost of buying a pair of really Japanese or American jeans in the west, I guess we’re talking about around $325 (£215) right? These jeans should last you and still look great after 4 or 5 years, giving you an actual cost of between $65 (£39) and $81 (£49) per year of their life cycle. Now go and take a look at the cost of a pair of jeans from H&M, Next, JCrew, Forever21, American Eagle, Primark or Topshop and consider how many times you have had a pair of jeans from any of these retailers which has lasted longer than a year with regular wear. These are fashion items, made to be throw away rather than made to last, as is the want of modern consumers, but the implications of living like that have dire consequence today and for years to come. I’m struggling to find who is getting the bargain here outside of the faceless corporations marshalling fashion for the masses.

Fresh Weaves – Joe & Co Denim Part 2 – The Denim

photo 3

Last week on DHQ I wrote a piece about Manchester based brand Joe & Co Denim, owned and operated by experienced clothing pioneer Josef Schindler. Aside from introducing the brand I was also sent two very different pairs of Joe & Co jeans to take a look at, made from very different denim and in totally different styles, they provided me with a good idea of what we can expect from Joe & Co as a jeans maker, which is what I find important around these parts. I must apologise in advance for the iPhone quality images, I have managed to break the screen of my DSLR.

photo 4 photo 1

photo 2 photo 5

The first pair ,on intial inspection, reminded me of a lighter weight version of Pure Blue Japan’s 007 model, with the deep indigo coloured warp and grey tinged weft. The denim is made by Italian manufacturer Candiani and weighs in at around 11.75oz, it has been dyed in a slasher machine using 1 part sulphur to 7 parts indigo, with an indanthene weft, this gives a pronounced roping effect on the hems. The denim has been skewed, sanforised and singed to give it a soft hand and smooth surface with little to none shrinking potential. The denim is a consistent and tight weave with selvedge seams and a good quality feel. An interesting feature to note is the leather donut on the reverse of the buttons to strengthen the rivet from pulling through the denim under stress, a really well thought out feature.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

The second pair are made from Japanese Nihon Menpu denim from Kojima. The denim weighs in at approximately 13oz and is made from the famed and much sought after Zimbabwe long staple cotton which is a soft and pliable cotton able to absorb dye in much the same way as vintage jeans, and therefore leading to strong vertical fade patterns seen in vintage jeans. The weave is relatively loose and has quite a lot of character giving a surface texture which is both soft and at the same time uneven, the quality is as good as you would expect from one of the most lauded Japanese mills around. The cinch back is a nice vintage touch also.

photo 2 photo 3

I was very pleased with the quality and feel of the Joe & Co jeans, there seems to be an acceptance over much of the denim community still that real high quality jeans can only be made in Japan and the USA so it is great for me when I see and handle jeans that disprove this. J&C are a brand who do things the right way, they work hard and they don’t cut corners but most importantly they understand their product on a level that is rare in modern clothing manufacture and you really get a sense from talking to Joe Schindler that he and his brand have earned their stripes the hard way, through experience and tough times. However, you also get a keen sense that this is a brand which has been in the making for a long time, Joe has worked on things lesser to get himself and his brand to a level today where he can begin to present items that he has wanted to make all his life, these aren’t just jeans to Joe they are a realisation of his time served in the business, and they will not disappoint. Make no mistake, this is a brand to keep a close watch on.

photo 1