Sunday, August 04, 2013

On the Chinese clothing industry

I've recently published a book on the Chinese clothing industry, available here.

Also, as this blog is now in resting, you can instead follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Himel Brothers Leather Jackets

I think that the equivalent of this blog in the world of leather jackets is this one.

The author of that blog has just started making his own leather jackets and I hope that if I was making jeans, my jeans would be as well-made and researched as his jackets are.

Check out his brand's website at His journey from enthusiast to artisan is very interesting.

Monday, January 11, 2010


This coming Friday, the 15th of January, I'm having an opening party for my photo exhibition at the vintage and second hand shop Tokyo Stop in Stockholm.

All photos are taken with disposable cameras and goes under there nifty name DISPOSABLE TOKYO. The theme is Tokyo youth culture, like street style and club shots.
No denim to be seen really, but it might be of interest anyway.

Those who're around are welcome between 7 and 11. We'll serve beer, wine and tangerines.

See you!!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Rising Sun & Co.

I don't know how I could have missed Rising Sun & Co., considering the level their product seems to be on. Actually, I do recall seeing them in stores in Tokyo, but there isn't enough energy in any person in the world to pay attention to all the small, upcoming reproductional brands in Japan and elsewhere.

I stumbled on again today though, and now I'm marvelled by how nice their jeans look. Apparently they make all pairs themselves in their studio on old vintage machines, giving the jeans a look that can't be had with modern machines. And they really pay attention to details, as shown on their blog:

It also isn't a Japanese brand, but a brand from Pasadena. They really seem to be an American Ooe Yofukuten & Co! (Except I don't think they're all married.)
(Sidenote two: This is really the type of blog that Levi's should have for their LVC line; explaining and comparing reproductions to originals.)

And, while on a roll of referencing brands, they seem to be a lot like what I hope Blue Highway can become, and they show that it's possible to do it in the West, too.

With no personal experience of the brand I don't have much more to say, and won't, but maybe you have? Has anyone tried or bought a rising sun?

All images from

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas! & Blue Highway!

Merry Christmas! My gift to you is a post about the inspiring Blue Highway brothers.

Blue Highway is Sweden's(Europe's) premier jeanmaker. Even having only made five or so pairs so far.

Because what's personal is best. Blue Highway is made from start to finish by the brothers Luhanko in a small basement in the small city of Eskilstuna.
They're completely autodidact, learning as they go along. Currently building a studio with a full setup of vintage machinery to create the very best.

I visited them and their studio a while ago together with friends from Sivletto.

Some of their very first samples.

All vintage machines. Some of the thread and buttons they use are also vintages.

Fredrik(Sivletto) & Hampus

The first two Blue Highway prototypes worn by Douglas and Hampus.

The brothers recently went on their second trip to California and the Nevada desert for denim diggin'. Wonderful scraps of 1880s Levi's, 1900s Levi's lookalikes, 1922 Levi's.

1901 overall, found in the desert on the first trip.

Levi's scraps, also dug up by them themselves.

Assorted scraps.

And then the collection of more 'normal' stuff, from around the '50s mostly. Quite a huge collection for two people.

They say they're very inspired by Ooe Yofukuten. I hope that they could become our local Ooes.
And I am very inspired by them both.
Therefore I just bought a Singer 15K sewing machine to start making things on my own too. Mostly mending, but hopefully also a little creating.

I will admit that saying Blue Highway is Europe's best denim brand is a bit of a stretch. But when I wrote it, I thought of what they have the potential of becoming.
If they could start a custom made to order service like Ooe, I'm sure they'd be turning out the best pants in this part of the world. Because they have the dedication and interest required to produce the very best product.
But there are obstacles to overcome first, and it won't be easy.
First of all, they need to sort out a way to source high quality denim, preferrably from Japan, so that they can guarantee the quality and have a steady supply of materials so that they can take orders continuously.
Ooe buys scraps from the world's best mills in Okayama, but it's hard for someone in Europe to get access to the same rolls. And at the same price.

They also need to figure out a way to make a living out of making the stuff themselves. Outsourcing is great for many things, but not for making the very best.

We can only hope! However, I can tell you that there will be a Blue Highway product out for the fall of 2010. The brothers have collaborated with Pace to make their next limited edition jeans. I've seen the first samples and they looked great. Hopefully I'll get to see the production samples early next year, which would mean you'd see them too.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! (I'll be in Berlin and will make sure to stop by Burg & Schild)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nudie Spring/Summer 2010

A short preview of Nudie's Lab and Dry Selvage collections for the coming spring of 2010.

Many of you are probably familiar with Nudie's Lab line. Up until this coming spring it's been the home of Nudie's premium models. This changes from Spring, when the Dry Selvage line debuts. The 'Dry Selvage' has been around since the early days of Nudie but it will from then on be where all the.. dry.. selvage jeans will be placed.

Notice the denim and denim/suede jackets too?

This includes the regular dry selvages, like the all-time favourite Regular Alf Dry Selvage, but also the premium editions that are premiered next season.
Coming is a cashmeredenim*, a hemp-denim and a 100% natural indigo-denim.

Natural indigo, hemp, silk.

These specials will come in hand-made wooden boxes and together with a denim themed photobook.

The Lab line will house the more worked and distressed models and the selvage jeans that aren't dry or raw. It also offers experimental garments like a leather/denim baseball jacket.

Just a small part of the line. There's also distressed denim shirts and jackets.

My favourite wash is this one:

It's not perfect(no wash can ever be) but some parts of the distressing has been done very well; the holes and repairs on the knees and the tears and repairs at the heal. I hope the pairs that come out of production have as much attention to detail.

The final new change is that Nudie will offer more types of leather wallets from Spring on. There's even the denim/leather hybrid thing, like the one Japanese Samurai has made before.

And while on the subject of Nudie: They have (finally) started their own denim contest. Check it and the results so far out here.

*I made a mistake and told you there would be a silk-mix pair, but it's actually a cashmere-mix instead.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

LVC.JP 506

A few days ago the many boxes of books and clothes I couldn't fit in my luggage when returning home arrived and among the things were a 506 denim jacket from Levi's Vintage Clothing Japan. I looked long and hard for a denim jacket and this one is exactly what I wanted; a simplified Type 1 jacket from the WWII era, a very small size so that I can wear it almost like a shirt and look almost like a cowboy, a great dark and tightly woven denim and stitching that looks like it was done with a vintage machine.

That's not to say it's perfect for it isn't--the red tab has LEVI'S written on both sides when it shouldn't(the tab was single-sided until 1951) and the leather tab is probably not made from the correct type of leather, but it's still the best jacket I've found.
At first I thought that the buttons were off too; I thought they should be of the donut type which was commonly used during this time and that there should be one more of them. That was until I saw an original at Fake Alpha in Harajuku, which is one of the best stores for vintage denim in Tokyo and Japan.
The type and number of buttons is spot on, as is the denim, which is perhaps the most important thing. I'm guessing the reproduced jacket is made with a jacket from the early years of the war, before they hadn't gotten as far as using another type of button, just reduce the number of them and remove the pocket flap.
I'm also guessing this is the reason why the tag only says '506' without the 'S' for Simplified. I do however believe that it should say 'XX' and that it's a mistake that it doesn't.

Another thing that I've been pondering is the relationship between Levi's EU/US and Levi's Japan. It seems to me that there isn't any at all, that the Japanese branch is in fact another company producing clothes under a license from Levi's EU/US.
A funny anecdote I heard, which might just be an untrue rumor, is that when Levi's Japan has first been established, they only had the rights to use the "Levi's" trademark but not the '501' trademark so they called their jeans something else, like 5-01.

Tag shrinkage after three washes

Anyway, the licensing part would help explain why the LVC collection in Japan looks quite different from the collection here. The years and models produced are largely the same, but with a few more odd ones issued as limited editions, but they are certainly based on different originals as the '37, '47, '55 etc. all look different then they do in the EU collection.
They also use a different denim. Except for small percentage of the limited editions that are Cone denim, it's all denim made in Japan. It's funny that they have decided to use Cone denim, because I find that the Japanese denim is usually more true to the original in texture and color. In fact, I avoid the models from 1927 and on, which are made with Cone denim, nowdays and prefer the earlier years that are made with denim from Japan.
I hate to hype Japan because it's not The Promised Land and not everything is better there, but they DO put more effort into many things, including denim, which is why they have the best restaurants, designers, make the best reproductions etc. in the world.
However, it cannot be said to often that while the best denim is from Japan, not all denim from Japan is good.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


So, I'm back in Stockholm after a little less than a year in Tokyo. How does it feel? It feels great actually. I am almost completely free of withdrawal, much to my own surprise. It doesn't mean that I don't miss Tokyo a lot, but the reason is that I now feel that Tokyo is my second home, that we're just spending some time apart and that I could go back any time. That's not exactly true, but I try not to think too much about the facts.

It's also because I'm now in another place that I like very much too. And, for such a small country, Sweden has a very good denim scene. Just these two weeks there are events held by Nudie, Blue Bell Wrangler and the new brand Clash Jeans, the latter two both at SOLO.

After party at 118 Second Leather.

Lukas in excellent '70s Levi's on the right.

I do know that I have been very lacking in updating. I have material from Tokyo to last another year(25 at the current pace) so you'll see more of our favourite city soon. I'm also working on another project so I won't promise anything regarding the frequency of updates though.