Thursday 20 May 2021

A closer look at work shirt fabrics

Work shirts: no wardrobe is complete without at least one or two quality pieces that will last years and years. Most of the work shirts we carry are made out of cotton and dyed with indigo, but what exactly are the different types of fabric you see listed in the online shop? Let's zoom in on denim, chambray, wabash, and hickory.

Starting out with the most obvious of choices: straight-up denim. Usually a lighter weight than your jeans (it would qualify as a jacket, otherwise) at about 8 to 10oz. Many denim shirts are created in a western style pattern, with pearl snap buttons and a tapered yoke on the back. The chest pockets have different styles: the Barstow (a single point on the flap) and the Sawtooth (two points on the flap) are the most popular styles. We carry (western) style denim shirts from several brands like Full Count, The Flat Head and Samurai Jeans.

A fabric that has already been around for centuries. This fabric is usually easier to wear than a denim shirt, due to the light plain-weave invented by weavers from Cambric, a city in the north of France. They originally named the fabric after their city, but the name 'chambray' replaced 'cambric' in the early 19th century in the United States. You'll often see chambray shirts in grey and light blue tones. This indigo-dyed version by Trophy Clothing is a fine example. Chambray used to be popular in the working class for a long time before the US Navy also included it in their uniform options, offering trousers and shirts out of chambray.

In the 1830s, a company called Stifel introduced their version of chambray which had a trademark identifier: vertical rows of tightly placed dots, which look like stripes (or even a formal pinstripe) from a distance. The dots were made by adding small drops of starch in continued lines down the fabric which didn't allow the indigo to settle, creating the pattern. Stifel produced work clothes like overalls for railroad workers, but has been out of business since 1957. Luckily, several Japanese companies still offer wabash shirts like UES and The Flat Head.

As wabash, hickory finds its roots in the railroad industry as well. A thick, durable type of fabric that was capable of withstanding hard days of work. The fabric can easily be recognized with the blue and white stripes, and was made by all-American companies like Lee and Pointer. Nowadays we can enjoy propper hickory by UES.

Thursday 13 May 2021

Studio D'artisan and the oldest loom in Japan

Studio D'artisan is a staple name in the world of Japanese denim. Founded in 1979, they've been around in the game when Levi's was still manufacturing every 501 out of selvedge denim. They are responsible for a lot of people falling in love with denim, and of course, the brand feels right at home at DC4.

The Osaka-based brand has always been able to surprise. This time it's about the loom they're using for the Studio D'artisan SD-903 jeans, which have been woven on a vintage Toyoda (now knows as Toyota) G3 loom. When the loom was first released it was state-of-the-art, but compared to modern looms it's an antique relic. 

And that's precisely why it's special: the slow weaving speeds only let the loom produce about 5 meters of fabric per hour. It's also very hard to operate and as you can imagine, spare parts are hard to come by, if they are available at all. Studio D'artisan has no guarantee the loom will still produce denim in the future, so if you want to get your hands on a piece of Japanese denim history, act fast.

The denim woven by the G3 loom resembles the rugged, uneven denim known from the 1950's and 1960's. Try the SD-903 yourself and find out why this denim is so special. The 14oz denim is made out of 100% cotton and comes with the classic arcuates on the back pockets. The slim straight fit is packed with details, like peek-a-boo selvedge on the coin pocket, beautiful rivets and buttons and a deer skin leather patch. It's been pre-washed, so you don't have to worry about any shrinkage. The price includes free shipping in Europe.

Monday 10 May 2021

Japanese interpretations of antique jeans

Originally jeans were produced purely as an item to use during hard labor. Carpenters, farmers, miners - they all benefited from the riveted quality goods produced by companies like Levi Strauss. Jeans back then didn't look like the stylized versions we know today: even belt loops weren't a thing yet.

To pay homage to that quintessential era of jeans, we offer two pairs that resemble the olden days. Both have a wider, straight cut and are of course hand made in Japan. They are made from approximately 14oz denim, which certainly is heavier than the cloth used over 100 years ago.

Denim Bridge 'S Antique' BR02 SA 02

This is the more modern interpretation of the two. This Denim Bridge jeans is a customized pair of jeans produced only for DC4. The details are based on jeans from several eras, it's a bit of a hotch-potch making it true homage pair. It features suspender buttons, but belt loops too. A cinch back and exposed back pocket rivets (seen on Levi's pre-1937).

Fullcount 'Son of the soil' 1373

Made from hand picked Zimbabwean cotton and hand-sewn in Okayama, the capital of denim in Japan. It features only one back pocket (like Levi's before approximately 1901), a cinch back to adjust the waist size and exposed back pocket rivets.