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)