Sunday, December 30, 2007

Kato in Sweden

For some, 2008 is the year of the rat. For us Swedes, it's the year of Japanese denim.

SOLO has already been selling Sugarcane jeans for some time, just recently got Studio D'Artisan and for next year they're bringing in Kato.

I've been curious about Kato for quite some time and after meeting Neil at SOLO I like it a lot. Unfortunately I will not be able to convey the Kato concept to you as well as Neil could, but I hope that you will still get some feeling of the brand.

Kato is not your average amekaji or work wear brand but is strongly influenced by both of these styles. You could say that Kato is more of a casual brand.
This might sound funny because nothing can be more dressed down than work wear, but what I mean is that it's easier to wear than straight reproductions because of its updated cuts.
I would describe Kato as a, design-wise, cross between a reproductional brand and Levi's Engineered - curved arms and legs, loose, comfy cuts and distinctly different pocketshapes.
The patterns are actually updated yearly according to customers' requirements and likings.

Quality-wise Kato is every bit as good as the more traditional brands. One thing that you should note, though, is that the denim used is not ring dyed/rope dyed but hank dyed, meaning the threads of the denim are dyed to the core and take much longer to fade.

Attention to detail is very high and the threads used to sew the garments are usually of the same material as the cloth of the garment. For example, the thread used to sew the jeans is made from the same Zimbabwe cotton as the denim.
This means that you will get a similar ageing on the seams as on the denim. Polyester thread, that does not shrink much nor fade, would not look good matched with worn-in, unsanforized denim. It would be a clash of modern and old.

One of the most interesting things is that almost all colors used to color Kato's fabrics come from nature. This because they simply found that these colors yielded the best results and not because of some environmentalist fad.

Buttons, buttonholes and probably a whole lot of other things that I'm forgetting are handsewn.
I feel that there is a lot of thought and spirit put into these garments and some of them make me a little.. happy.

Neil J. Christopher of Kato. Passionate, to say the least.

Logg-dyed chinos. The bark from a tree is left in a pot for 18-24 months to ferment and then used to make the dye for these pants. The outer and inner bark give different colors.

"We want the inside of our garments to be as beautiful as the outside."(mis-quoted, but something along these lines.)

At the red dots, the core of the thread is dyed with indigo and then topped with red. It will fade to give off a slight hint of indigo.

Rivets are set by hand and covered with a citric acid, so as not to bother your skin(?).

Workpants inspired by those used in 1930's Japan. I think those were in turn inspired by Brittish or American workwear.

Jacket cut shorter in the back, pants higher. They make a great couple.

Freddie trying on another Kato jacket. I didn't get a picture of it, but the corduroy that's on the inside of the collar is dyed with the color from a plum husk.

These seams are actually singlestitched.


The tags are attached to the garments with a certain type of chainstitch that is used in rice bags. It will unravel if you pull the loose ends.

Comparing Kato denim to.. something else.

Checked and striped herringbone.. ooh.

Slightly faded Kato jeans. Stubborn.

The showing wasn't centered around jeans so I don't have much to say about them, unfortunately.
Instead I offer you snaps from the Kato booklet to try and make up for it.


neil said...


thank you

love what you have done here, sad about the hairy man, do they not have anyone pretty at Kato that could have come and talk to much about stuff....

please if there is anything else, information wise you need please ask, thank you so much for all your support, next time I'll try to talk more about denim for you


the MVMNT said...

Great look at some wonderful product,...


tweeds said...


great to put a face to neil's name...

i loved what i saw in hongkong when i tried on some kato denim jackets and touched the shirting and denim jeans lines, styling-wise it's great, i love that kato and 45rpm have incorporated traditional production methods with cuts and shapes that push the fold [exactly as the old levi's RED products would do]. their pricepoints are immense but i would love to see their stuff when i drop by tokyo, likewise 45rpm. kind of a denim mecca ;)

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