Denim HQ – Review – Samurai 710OG

20140113_top IMG_8241 In recent times I have been spoilt by denim, for the last HWDC I was given a pair of the Mega Beatle Buster jeans by Iron Heart and since then I have mainly been wearing them and a couple of pairs of Trophy Clothing jeans which we stock at NoKipple. I have been more than happy with this little rotation for around 18 months now, but with thoughts starting to turn towards the DWC I began to cast an envious eye over much of the new denim on the market. I wanted something different, I wanted something that felt special to my inner denim nerd and I knew that I would have to actually pay for it using real money, so it wouldn’t be a snap decision. That’s when my thoughts, once again, turned to Osaka’s own Samurai Jeans. 20140113_10 20140113_12 Samurai Jeans were founded in in 1998 by Nogami – San, they have always been quite experimental with their denim alchemy and they riff off the traditional Japanese image extremely well with various patch designs showing Samurai warriors of various girth, depending on the weight of the denim. Other great examples of Samurai’s distinctly Japanese quirks are their ladies “Geisha” model and their sakura patterned pocket bags on special edition jeans. Speaking of special editions, Samurai always have some great ideas in this area, from their natural indigo dyed Ai denim to their “Leepro” Jin denim cuts, right down to the silver thread woven into their “sword selvedge”, there is always something a bit special about a pair of Samurai jeans. 20140113_9 And so it was that a Samurai special edition lured me back into paying big bucks for jeans and lured me back to the brand where it all began, my first pair of quality Japanese denim were a pair of 19oz Samurai S710XX, which makes my new purchase of the Samurai S710OG feel kind of like starting again for me. The OG part of the model name refers to the fact that the jeans are made from 16oz organic cotton, with some rather pretty “green grass” selvedge going on too, the patch is (in my opinion) the nicest Samurai patch that I have yet seen, this was always a minor weak point of Samurai for me as even though the images were great, the patches themselves felt flimsy and the print was barely visible after some consistent heavy wear. I actually took a look at a pair of these jeans in the flesh at their London retailer before taking the plunge to buy them, based upon that viewing I almost decided against buying them as the denim did not feel quite as special as I had hoped, too flat, not enough character, a little boring compared to the Trophy Dirt denim that I have been wearing. Then I remembered the magic of Samurai, the denim comes alive with water and wear, and so my mind was set. IMG_8251 Upon first inspection it is clear that this is a special pair of jeans, the organic cotton denim is stiff and course with surface slubs and runs which should make the denim age beautifully. The denim has a wonderfully dark warp, with a trademark feature of Samurai denim of the clearly visible white weft in evidence, it is stitched with 100% organic copper coloured cotton in a flawless manner and complimented by the aforementioned green selvedge being in evidence on the out seam, inside the coin pocket and hidden on the inside of the button fly. The 16oz denim has a substantial feel to it’s weight and thickness and like most Samurai denims could be easily described as “crispy”, this feeling usually takes a good couple of months of wear to totally vanish. IMG_8245 IMG_8243 IMG_8242 The pre soak fit was similar to the fit on my old Samurai S5000VX jeans post soak, this was exactly as I had hoped as I wanted something just a little slimmer, with a slight taper, but definitely not a skinny or overly slim pair of jeans at my age and with my heroic build. Something I really enjoy about the 710 cut is the height of the rise, which is high enough not lead to embarrassment when leaning over, yet low enough not to give discomfort when sitting for long periods, this along with the incredibly deep pockets are nice little features, whether the pocket bags hold up is another matter. I still maintain that the best pocket bags in the industry are done by Trophy, who double layer the vulnerable points on the bag as a matter of course. IMG_8246 IMG_8247 IMG_8248 IMG_8249 To soak the jeans I went old skool, with a hot as I could stand to touch tub soak for 20 minutes with some agitation, after which I towel dried them and draped them over a large radiator for an hour, the last part of the drying I took care of in the tumble drier. I recall that Samurai denim is usually particularly difficult to get all the shrink out of, requiring either two or three soaks and drip dries or a good machine wash and a long turn in the tumble drier if you’re feeling brave. I do not think that all of the shrink potential has been removed from these jeans, but I am sufficiently pleased with the fit to wear them in for a few days and see what I feel about them afterwards. The waist shrank from 40″ down to the tagged 38″ and the inseam came up about 1.5″, all other areas slightly but noticeably tightened and the surface slubs in the denim became much more evident after a soak. Something I have been told anecdotally is that the denim stretches quite a bit, which is a little concerning as the waist is currently spot on. The inseam length is currently 36″, which is about 3″ too long for how I like them, I have considered whether to hem them but I want to let the denim settle for a while first and I do like to rock a monster thick cuff when I can. IMG_8250 IMG_8252 Overall I am super impressed with these jeans, they feel like a special pair should with all the excitement of trying a new denim, seeing how it shrinks and shapes and enjoying all those special little details. Now all that remains to do is wear them, people keep asking me if they will be my contest pair for the DWC and honestly that is not why I got them, doesn’t mean that I won’t wear them for the contest and they will be worn sparingly until that decision is made. These jeans will certainly see wear though, they almost will me to wear them forsaking all others every time I find myself absent mindedly feeling the roughness of the denim with my finger tips, it is time set in motion the Kanji script written on the back of the buttons…..all earthly things fade.

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