Friday, 6 December 2013

Schooling up on denim: natural indigo

While most jeans (including most pairs at DC4) are dyed with synthetic indigo, this wasn't always the case. Back in the days natural indigo, harvested from plants like the classic 'Indigofera Tinctoria' or woad ('Isatis Tinctoria'), was the only available option. Natural indigo was widely used countries like Japan, China and India.

Different results
When jeans are dyed with natural indigo, they usually don't fade the way you're used to. Don't expect high contrast lines and noticeable results after just a couple months of wear. Natural dye takes years and years to fade, and the result will be a lot more subtle. A proper dye can hold its colour very well.

Indigo plants
Natural indigo dye can be harvested from different plants, resulting in different shades of indigo. The amount of dips also has influence on the hue. Also notice that natural indigo is usually more 'green cast' instead of the 'red cast' you've seen on synthetic indigo. Sometimes sulphur is added to the dye to make the result a bit darker. Synthetic indigo has been around since the late 19th century, first released by German company BASF.

Jeans dyed with natural indigo at DC4
We just got a pair of 24oz (and a brutal 27oz after soak!) Samurai S5000AI hand-dyed with 100% natural indigo. 'Ai' is Japanese for indigo (藍), but also for love (愛). The S5000AI is a straight cut with a medium rise, and made in a very limited batch.

These Samurai jeans are also hand-dyed. A very time consuming process, but the indigo is able to penetrate deeper into the fibers. Also, the fibers are less agitated because fewer chemicals are involved in the dyeing process.

Natural indigo doesn't come cheap, but you'll have a very special pair of jeans that will take years and years to fade. Samurai Jeans isn't the only brand that makes outstanding jeans with a natural dye though. Studio D'artisan, Momotaro, The Flat Head and Pure Blue Japan are known for their natural indigo jeans too.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Introducing: the DC4 Forum!

We're proud to show you our latest addition: the DC4 Japanese Denim Forum. Discuss anything related to denim, and show off your worn in pairs and collections! Tell us what you think which brands we need to add to our portfolio and share tips 'n tricks about sizing and washing. Of course joining the forum is free. Start posting today!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Denim jackets - a look at the evolution of style

Denim jackets have been around since the late 19th century. The most iconic denim brands have put out several types of denim jackets over the past decades. And just like a classic pair of jeans, like the Levi's 501 or the Lee 101, those jackets have evolved over time. Let's have a look at the archetypes of jean jackets.

Type I
The jacket where it all started. Pleated fronts, one pocket on the left side, and a very typical boxy fit. The earliest models came without a pocket flap, and Levi's iconic red tab wasn't added until 1936. At the back you'll find a cinch to give the jacket a bit of a taper. The model number of these jackets at Levi's is 506XX.

Type II
The successor is called, surprisingly, the 507XX. A pocket was added on the other side and the cinch was replaced with two flaps to adjust the waist. This classic makes up for our personal favourite.

Type III
Now for the most well-known denim jacket style we'll take a look at the Type III, or 557XX. The boxy fit is replaced by a more flattering cut, with two pointed flaps. The Type III is also known as the 'trucker jacket'. It came out in the 1950's for the first time, and it's still made today.

Naturally, DC4 Berlin carries some jackets as well. The Japanese have taken these all-time classics and made their own versions of it. Expect wear and tear like you get on your Japanese jeans - high contrasts, crazy fades and that feeling that every single detail has really been thought through. For instance, check out this Type II jacket by Dry Bones or super-heavy Type III by, who else, Iron Heart. They'll accompany your life for many years to come.

In the coming weeks we're expecting more denim jackets to arrive from Japan by The Flat Head and Samurai Jeans.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

A close look at Pure Blue Japan's 'Cobalt Blue' denim

Pure Blue Japan is always innovating and working on new fabrics. They create denim with amazing texture and colour: the cobalt blue denim is no exception. The warp is dyed in a dark indigo, the weft has a breath-taking bright blue colour. The exact hue is hard to capture on camera, but we tried our best.

The 14 oz cobalt blue denim is available in two cuts: the XX-017, which is tapered, and the XX-018, which is a classic slim straight fit. The denim is unsanforized (shrink-to-fit), so keep this in mind when choosing your size.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Toys McCoy: available exclusively at DC4 Berlin

We are very proud to carry Toys McCoy exclusively for Europe at DC4 Berlin. The first batch has arrived at the store and is now available in our online store!

Toys McCoy is well known in Japan for reproducing vintage items with an immaculate amount of detail. The brand has been founded by Okamoto Hiroshi in 1987, and Okamoto-san has been responsible for the vintage flight jacket craze that hit Japan in 1996. They also like to create modern takes on vintage clothing, by doing rather unconventional collaborations with brands like A Bathing Ape. Hell, Toys McCoy even makes Steve McQueen action figures, motor cycle helmets by Buco and they have the license for The Greatful Dead, Mopar, Shelby Cobra, Felix the Cat, Bugs Bunny and Warner Brothers!

The clothing made by Toys McCoy that we carry at DC4 lives up to the highest standards you'll ever find. For instance, take a close look at the Toys McCoy Engineer Denim. The 13,5 oz jeans are reproductions of jeans that were made during World War II for American engineers working on airplanes and are absolutely stunning. The denim of these jeans is amongst the best we ever laid our hands on. We know we're not subtle with superlatives, but Toys McCoy deserves that kind of recognition.

Please note that not everything is available from our online shop. Due to copyright issues we're not able to sell everything online. If you would like to enquire about other Toys McCoy products (t-shirts, sweaters, jackets, other boxer shorts) at DC4, please send an e-mail to or leave us a message on Facebook.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Exclusive at DC4: personalize your Japanese denim with a custom leather patch

If wearing in your own pair of raw denim isn't personal enough, you can now order a special leather patch to make your pair stand out. Choose from one of the templates or contact us if you'd like your own design featured on your pair of Japanese denim!

The leather patch can replace the one already on your new jeans, or you can add it elsewhere. You can also just order a patch in case you'd want to place it on a pair you already own.

We're using heavy grade, high-quality leather that'll age beautifully with your favourite denim. Of course we'll stitch the patch firmly onto your pair in-store. You'll only find this service at DC4 Berlin. Please contact us at for more details. Check out some examples:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

DC4's Denim Wear & Care Guide

Among denim lovers, many people have a different point of view when it comes to washing and caring for your pair of jeans. This is how we at DC4 Berlin think you should treat your Japanese denim.

Soaking your new pair
When you're getting a fresh pair of raw denim at DC4, chances are they the jeans are 'unsanforized', or shrink-to-fit. This means you have to soak the jeans before you wear them in order to get them to the right size. Unsanforized denim usually shrinks about 1 or 2 inches in the waist, and 2 inches in length – please keep this in mind when choosing your size. Are the jeans sanforized? Then don't bother: wear them as soon as you can.

When you get home with your jeans, lay them down in your bathtub, sink or a bucket. Pour in the hottest tap water you can get (don't pour boiling hot water on the jeans, this will cause the leather patch to shrink to oblivion) and submerge your jeans for an hour or so. Take them out, and let them hang until they are dry. Never use a tumble dryer to speed things up: this will only cause the denim to become soft and mushy, and the legs might twist.

If you're not sure if the jeans you want are sanforized, never hesitate to contact us (in-store, via e-mail, Facebook or Tumblr) and ask. Also, if you don't want to go through the trouble of soaking, DC4 will happily soak the jeans for you in our Soaking Room – free of charge.

How long should I wait before washing my denim? 
Many folks are sure they need to wait at least six months before letting their jeans touch even a drop of rainwater, but please: don't worry about washing your jeans 'too early'. All jeans sold at DC4 Berlin are of the highest quality you can find, and will hold their indigo just fine. It will not matter if you decide to wash your jeans every two weeks or every three months. Only hold out on washing your pair if you're looking for high-contrast fading. If you want your jeans to last, make sure to wash them every now and then. The cotton will thank you.

Washing in the machine 
Turn your jeans inside out to avoid white lines running down the legs, and use a small amount of detergent. We recommend to use a special denim detergent, like Samurai's Thunder Soap. Wash at 30 or 40 degrees Celsius for a normal wash, and 60 if they are really filthy and/or you're looking for high contrast.

Washing without a machine 
For the least aggressive way of cleaning denim, wash your jeans by hand with a small amount of detergent in lukewarm water. Let them hang-dry. Alternatively, washing your jeans in the ocean is an option too – this was a popular method in the 1960's. Travel to a tropical island, wear your jeans and take them for a swim. You can rub a bit of sand on the greasy parts to clean more thoroughly. Rinse them in fresh water, and again, hang until dry.

Dry-cleaning is something we don't recommend. Cotton that has been suffocated with grease and dirt for months, needs to be washed with water. Remember: your heavy duty pair of denim isn't a fancy wool suit.

This guide is not a way to tell you how to live your life. Enjoy your pair of Japanese denim the way you want to, and show off your worn-in pairs to your friends and us.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

DC4 visits The Flat Head's Super Weekend 2013

Earlier this month we were happy to visit the famous Super Weekend, organised by The Flat Head in Nagano, Japan. This is an amazing show that combines some of the most awesome things the world has to offer: cars, bikes and Japanese denim. The craziest styles were on display, including some rare bikes. Check out all the pictures after the break!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Samurai Jeans Restocked!

A fresh batch of some of our favourite Samurai Jeans have arrived at DC4. The Samurai S003JP, S710XX and S5000VX have been restocked. All of them are the special 15th anniversary edition, which will only be produced in 2013! This means you'll get a special pocket flasher and an alternative leather patch and red tab on your pair.

Also, we have two new Samurai jeans in (both 15th Anniversary-editions): the Samurai S0500XX, which is a slim, slightly tapered fit with a medium rise, made of 15 oz denim. A true classic. For those of you wanting something more extreme, there's the S5000VX in 25oz. This super-heavy pair comes with golden buttons! Both pairs are unsanforized, so keep this in mind when choosing your size.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The evolution of Pure Blue Japan's 007 denim

The only denim carrying James Bond's codename sure is something special. Pure Blue Japan created a gorgeous fabric where both the warp and weft are dyed with indigo - the Pure Blue Japan XX-007 is the result. It comes in two flavours: a 14oz and a very heavy 24oz version. The core remains white though, so you'll get a high-contrast fade over time.

How do these pairs age, you ask? See for yourself. The good folks at Pure Blue Japan captured some stunning pairs for you to drool over. First, the 24 oz version, worn for a year:

Second, the most worn-down pair of XX-007 we've ever seen. According to Pure Blue Japan the owner put about three years of hard work in this pair:

More pictures can be found at PBJ's blog. Currently we're a little low on stock on these pairs, but follow us on Facebook to get a reminder when we'll be restocking both versions.

Monday, 8 July 2013

European Distribution of The Flat Head at the Bread & Butter Tradeshow

One more Bread & Butter Tradeshow exhibition in our backs, and we can't be more happy. This edition of BBB brought us not just gorgeous weather, but also great results after the three days of showcasing our products by The Flat Head and R.J.B. We were lucky to have met many new great people and have seen old friends.

In our new collection we feature three different boots made from a stunning cowhide leather from Horween. An appealing range of middle weight leather jackets, made with horsehide leather from the famous Japanese Shinki Tannery, which is considered by many the best in the world - and using the words of Himel Brothers: "the most revered and expensive horsehide in the world". The Shinki leather has the properties to develop amazing fading and patina over time.

To complete the tops collection, we have an attractive line of shirts with patterns that resemble tear drops, featuring shades of indigo and dark colours. Super strong and heavy loop wheeled t-shirts, coveted chambray shirts, 50's and 60's bikers belts and a new wallet collection made from a very flat horse leather with a good structure, adorned with metal rivets. Absolutely gorgeous.

 Check out some impressions of our booth:

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Iron Heart x DC4 Berlin Party

Bam! It happened, the Iron Heart x DC4 party held during the fashion week in Berlin was a great success. Many recognized people from the denim scene, friends and fans attended the event the last day of the Bread & Butter Fashion Trade show. Manufacturers, retailers, designers, bloggers, bikers and many denim freaks were there to enjoy the nice weather, rockabilly beats, the delicious Japanese catering that we prepared for all our guests and of course to share the love for a great brand.

The president of Iron Heart, Haraki-san and the IH Japan crew Tomoko-chan, Sarina-chan, Ono-san together with Giles and Paula Padmore were there to share with all the people and Iron Heart fans. The evening started with a warm feeling, bikers showed up and parked their machines, guests started to come up slowly and a relaxed atmosphere began to encircle everybody.

Many pictures were taken, a Haraki-san signature berserk of Iron Heart products, chats about denim and overall an absolute feeling of camaraderie and love for that beautiful fabric. As everybody knows, we at DC4 stock the bigger Japanese brands selection in Europe and to confirm that, we had between our guests representatives from many premium Japanese denim brands, retailers and publications.

Events like this one shows that we are still on top of the wave in what refers to Japanese denim and garments. We are so happy and thankful to each person who helped to make from this evening a truly favorable outcome.

Here some  friends who joined us that evening - David Himel (Himel Brothers Leather Co.)Yamada Shunsuke, Masake Horiuchi, Takeshi Kojima (The Flat Head), Uwe van Afferden, Ronny Schroder (Heritage Post), Katsu Manabe, Rob Driessen (Momotaro), Ken-ichi Iwaya (Pure Blue Japan), Atsushi Matsushima (Clutch, Lightning, 2nd Magazines), Mikel Erentxun (musician), Steven Toohey, Will Lauder and Brendan Lauder (Alexander Leathers), Lewis Hull (Superdenim UK), Matt Wilson (Denimhunters), Sascha Kampmeyer (Vater und Sohn), Marlon Putzke, Joachim Pianka and Aljoscha Augustin (Fein und Ripp)- , among others.

Thank you Iron Heart Japan and UK crew, and also to our DC4 crew for making this event a reality. As many people must know, a photo describes more than 1,000 words, so here you go. Click and enjoy!

 Japan all stars