I rarely buy new jeans these days but when I saw the Warehouse 1221 denim pants I couldn’t pass on them. Since my stance on shorts is that they’re pretty much only for kids, the postman or a visit to the beach I get kind of excited when I find a good pair of summer jeans. I’ve been raving for a few years about TCBs Seamen’s trousers that I enjoy so much. Warehouse 1221 is an excellent successor.
The fit is a loose, high waisted one. All about functionality and the many purposes it had to serve. It works just as well for a modern day home office worker, dabbing in the blogosphere and walking the dog. Comfort is key.
Warehouse 1221 specs
The jeans is made of a lovely light 10 oz “slub-yarn” sanforized denim that is perfect for the Swedish summer. It’s kind of interesting that the fabric is marketed as a slubby denim. It doesn’t look slubby, nor does it feel like it. I’m looking forward to seeing how it shapes up after a few washes when the yarn pops a bit more. I haven’t been able to find out much more about this fabric except that it’s has a yarn count of 8×10. Shoot me a message if you know more about it!
The hardware is very neat, both the US Army buttons and the cinch. True to the original army pants used in the late 1930’s (that this is a reproduction of) there’s no rivets, instead using bar tack stitching.
Let’s talk about pocket shapes
One thing I find intriguing is the front pockets. For one thing that they’re sewn on the outside of the legs but mostly that they’re kind of difficult to use thanks to the shape of the pocket openings.
Most jeans have curved pocket openings to make them easy to access. Then you have the straight but diagonal pocket openings like on TCBs seamean’s trousers. The Warehouse 1221 is also using straight, diagonal openings, but these are almost horisontal, which for me works kinda bad together with the high waisted fit. Still love the jeans, but they’re not the perfect pair.
My Warehouse 800CL has been with me for quite some time now. Think I got them in Osaka back in 2016? Not that many updates of them on the blog so far, just a one year update from 2 years ago. Yet again it will be a rather short update.
2 more years of 800CL
So, what’s happened the last two years? Mostly they have seen wear during the summer, working out great thanks to the cotton/linen mix and lighter fabric. The cut that felt a little tight two years ago have felt better since I lost weight. The 800 is when all comes down to it not meant to be a slim cut.
Now that the jeans have seen some proper wear for a longer time the texture have started to change, smoothing out the rough patches that I liked so much when I got them. It still looks and feels like nothing else I’ve tried from Warehouse, an excellent fabric I hope they use again at some point. You can see the kinda neppy texture that is still there, to some extent, on the pictures.
What jeans to wear this summer
The thing I’m mulling over now is wether to leave them on the shelf for this summer or not. The other day I got a pair of Warehouse 1221, their US army denim pants, that will be even better during the warm summer days. And then there’s the TCB Seamens trousers that I like so much. Stiff competition for sure. We’ll see what happens with the Warehouse 800CL, still a great pair of jeans and much life left in them.
What makes a good belt? Talking with custom belt maker Michael, or Duke as I know him (and will call him in the interview) on the denim forum Superfuture and Instagram, there’s at least two sides of the coin. The sole purpose of holding up our jeans and meeting the crowd’s expectations on one hand, the many layers of craftsmanship that goes into pushing a belt from good to excellent on the other hand.
It has spurred my interest in knowing more about leather and the craft. Maybe this conversation with Duke will stir up something in you too. Let’s dig in!
A custom belt is not necessarily good
So, what does make a good belt? In Duke’s mind there’s no clear answer to it. It can pretty much take on any form, even a piece of string could qualify if that’s what the wearer wants. There’s an arrogance in proclaiming a belt is good simply because it’s cut from the finest leather, hand stitched and adorned with a silver buckle.
“I think a good belt is the one that’s been created specifically to the customer’s requirements and one that he or she will want to wear often.”
To make something joyous for the wearer, that belt that keeps being worn over the years, there are many different skills needed to make it: measuring; cutting, edging, skiving; carving; sewing; painting; adding jewels, studs, ornamentation etc. But not every belt needs every skill.
All parts of the process should be relevant to make something that the customer enjoys, be it an off-the-peg belt or something very specific that the customer is after.
It’s not some boastful arrogant talking, Duke doesn’t want to hear any talk about being called a craftsman, but in the lines I see someone who cares for the craft and details that go into making a good belt.
Twists and turns
But let’s rewind the tape first before diving into the belt making properly. Duke grew up in the United Kingdom in a family of steelworkers, with both his dad and granddad in the profession. It has played a big part in influencing his attitudes with a dislike for bullshit and shallow people (who are fools to themselves, according to Duke).
“My mother always said I don’t suffer fools at all even though I have a lot of patience.”
Speaking with Duke it all makes sense that he likes honesty. It’s a straightforward conversation with a lot of kindness at heart. It doesn’t come as a surprise that it translates into his belt making and customer service, maybe even the very core of what he does, but more on that in a bit.
“Effectively I signed my own death warrant with regards to my career which was made worse because it coincided with the covid pandemic; c’est la vie.”
He was the first person in the family to get a degree and used to work as a consulting engineer. But now the situation is different after his employer wanted him to run the Middle East group while Duke wanted to be close to his daughter. Unemployed and caring for his four year old with multiple disabilities, reality is no longer the same.
Sometimes it just happens
It’s funny how a project that lies close to your heart sometimes can burst through the surface from seemingly out of nowhere.
At first, Duke didn’t have any thoughts about making belts at all. Only trying to find out more about leather in general after feeling that the chatter on social media didn’t even scratch on the surface. He ended up buying pieces of leather, experimenting and reading a lot of how leather is made.
The push that finally sent him down the rabbit hole and road of beltmaking came from two coincidences: one of the most disappointing purchases in years (a Warehouse belt) and a chat with his friend Ryan, founder of kids denim brand Nippers that I interviewed a while back.
“Arrogantly I thought that even I could make a better belt (than the Warehouse one).”
Talking about items they liked but never bought led Duke and Ryan into a discussion of novelty belts, resulting in Duke deciding to try his hands at making a belt. Already knowing the basics and the general process, why not jump into the deep end?
Of course, it wasn’t an instant success. As Duke recalls it, the belt was ok, not as good as he wanted, but definitely wearable. Much like how the interest took off as about learning more about leather, the belt for Ryan gave a lot of insight on the process – how leather responded to cutting, punching and glueing, how different leathers respond to each other and so on.
The itch was there to experiment some more. Starting off making a belt for a friend and then folk who knew Duke from denim forums like Denimbro and Superfuture as well as Instagram. It all kinda just grew from there. There never really was an idea to set it up as a business; no timescale, budgets or business plan.
A quick look into novelty belts
For those of you who are familiar with Duke’s work you’ve probably noticed a certain style of his commissioned work: novelty belts. I guess it could be argued that a ‘novelty’ belt is one of the most complex types of belt you can make – it’s probably also one of the least popular styles. Too fancy for many. But Duke loves the look of those belts, he loves the great atmosphere of the originals from the 30s~50s, the clear history and how they look great with so many styles of clothing.
Striving to improve
From what you’ve read already it might not come as a surprise that Duke sets his bar high. No belt goes off his bench unless he’s happy with it and even then he still looks for ways to learn and improve belt by belt.
“Being essentially a carer for my daughter, I am at home a lot and this means I use spare minutes thinking, designing and making belts.”
The process of making a custom belt probably takes longer for Duke than a lot of other belt makers, but then it is also a deliberate choice of his, not rushing through to completion. Maybe it’s because it’s more of a self sustained hobby for him rather than his source of income but I’d wager the highly set bar and respect for the craft plays a big part as well.
Custom belt freedom
Choices, choices and more choices. Ordering a belt from Duke gives you a lot of freedom, there’s no real fixed menu. Any buckle, any leather, any style in any combination – a truly bespoke approach. A lot of his inspiration comes from historical styles that he adapts, but he also invents styles from the customer’s brief. It almost sounds nuts to have so many choices, hard to wrap your head around.
“I’m happy to source materials from all over the world – it’s not efficient in business terms but I think it allows the customer to create something unique.”
Of course an intricately made belt is built from the same foundation as a basic one, so all is possible and Duke helps with advice, design the customer’s idea and even create realistic visuals before the actual work even starts. As Duke puts it, it all comes down to listen to their needs and translate it in a straightforward way.
A more difficult part of the custom belt process is the know-how of how leather works. There’s a difference between looking at a belt from what you think looks good and taking the view on the characteristics of different leathers, what qualities a belt needs. For instance the leather one enjoys in a pair of boots isn’t always the best to use for a belt due to the leathers characteristics. Duke need to cross that difference in knowledge to help the customers realize their vision and make the best possible belt.
We went into a long discussion about leather myths, misunderstandings and what goes into making a good belt. This will have to be a separate piece since we talked so much about it (something to look forward to!) but just to give you a little snippet:
There are lots of different leathers for different reasons, some leathers are great for one aspect but less so for other purposes. As an example: bridle leather, harness leather or stirrup leather were leathers specifically designed for horse tack – they are strong, durable and even comfortable to the horse – so they are perfectly suited to making belts. These leathers are always made from cowhide because horsehide in comparison is extremely inconsistent in its thickness and strength.
There are some interesting things in the pipeline for Duke that we can look forward to. Back when we did the interview he was investigating the ideas of different styles of bags, using both good leathers and unique cotton, linen and wool fabrics.
“Much like with belts I get frustrated looking at some styles.”
Potentially we’ll see a small tool bag, the ubiquitous tote bag and maybe even some larger bags.
Talking about whether he’ll try to scale up his neat work or keep it more like a hobby Duke comes back to saying that this has never been about trying to make money. To use his own words he’ll probably plodd along, creating belts we can’t get anywhere else.
I hope this long read has piqued your interest in what makes a good belt as much as it did mine. And maybe you want to get a custom made belt yourself. Or maybe you have a decent name for his brand, Duke promises a belt in return for a name he could use. Give him a holler on Instagram @duke_mantee.
Most denim interested people have probably at least at some point come across the name Osaka Five, the five now classic Japanese denim brands that propelled the denim industry in Japan to what we know today. Consisting of household brands Denime, Evisu, Full Count, Studio D’Artisan and Warehouse there’s a shitload of heritage (if one can consider 30 years enough time) amongst them. But then again there is Evisu with its slightly, if one puts it nicely, tarnished reputation after the brands venture into pop culture from the heritage wear.
It’s bugging me aswell, but I still have no qualms whatsoever to state that Evisu makes some of the very best jeans there is. The No.1 denim used for my 2001 jeans is one of my favorites, in tough competition with Warehouse banner denim and TCB’s fabric for the 20’s jeans.
Evisu 2001 No.1 excellence
Eight years ago I finally managed to find a pair of Evisu 2001 No.1’s in my size with the longer inseam they had earlier. Back then they didn’t get that much wear, they were borderline too tight, no way I could tuck shirts or tees.
Fast forward a few years, about 2,5 years prior to today I picked the Evisu 2001 No.1 out of the denim pile again. I had lost some weight and suddenly they fit me well, into the rotation they went, together with my Warehouse 1003xx, Resolute 710’s and the collab jeans I made with Denimbridge.
It’s a nice loose straight cut but what I really really love about the jeans is the fabric. Stubborn faders to say the least but now they’re slowly coming alive. A soft fabric with just enough character to it, some vertical falling but not so exaggerated as we see some other brands go for. Vintagesque to its core. My pair isn’t that far gone yet, but google a bit if you haven’t seen a pair of faded No.1’s and see for yourself.
This to me is the heart of Evisu. The part that harks back to where they came from, what started it all. And it’s done so very proudly. I get that one finds favorite brands and models but I also feel like Evisu deserves more time in the limelight. You won’t be sorry if you decide to get a pair.
It’s been almost 10 years since I last wore my SDA-101’s regularly. Back then I found other pairs I liked more and once I felt like wearing them again, they no longer fit. Fast forward to the present, past many different pairs of jeans, some sales and a curious weightloss on my diet of beer, no workout and a homeoffice, the Studio D’Artisan SD-101 fits just right again.
Studio D’Artisan – underappreciated
When it comes to the classic Osaka Five brands it is at least my thinking that Warehouse, Full Count and to some extent Denime has pushed ahead of Studio D’Artisan and Evisu in the denim community. You only have to take a quick look at my old blog posts and you’ll see I not wholly disagree, plenty of Warehouse jeans as well as Denime.
But I also think that Evisu’s No.1 denim might be the best there is. And to keep this post somewhat related to the topic – Studio D’Artisans banner denim that they use on the 10x-line is marvelous as well. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t given them ago so far.
The fit of SD-101
The only thing that has bugged me about the Studio D’Artisan SD-101 jeans is the rise of the cut. It might sound a little odd, but the fact that they the ratio between the front and backrise is less than on many other cuts I’ve worn over the years makes a big difference. It used to feel a little odd, much like my Flat Head 3005xx which feels the same way, albeit the 3005xx having a lower rise.
I’ve been thinking about that every now and then since I started wearing the jeans again. Truth be told I feel a little surprised that it doesn’t bother me anymore. Now they fit me just fine and the rise works well with my bodytype. It will be interesting to see both how much I will wear them now and how the great fabric develops.
Oh, and an excuse might be in place for the somewhat shoddy images. The lighting isn’t the best. Colourwise, the backpocket shot is probably the closest to how they look.
In one of the last posts I did before going in (another) hiatus I had just started wearing my Resolute 710 more regularly. The regular wear have continued since then, off and on.
Resolute 710 – smart, comfy jeans
Often when I hear or read about the 710’s it’s part of the ivy league style or at least about dressing “smart”. For me though, what I’ve come to enjoy the most is how damn comfortable they are. Some say Fullcount’s denim is almost like wearing sweatpants from the get go, that’s probably the closest description I can give about Resolute. Kind of funny isn’t it, a pair of jeans that feels like wearing sweatpants at home while you look smartly dressed. They definitely deserve more time in the limelight from the western part of the denim community.
60’s blue is spot on
The comfortable feel might be the best part of the jeans but the 60’s shade of the indigo is so damn nice too. The colour is a little off in the photos, thanks to crappy indoor lighting but it’s there alright. I love how Hayashi-san has been on almost like a crusade since the beginning of his career at Denime to perfect the Levi’s 501xx 60’s repro, and how close he is to it. If that’s what your looking for, then I don’t think you should look at anything else (if you enjoy the tweaked cut, that is).
If you’re wondering how long I’ve worn them or how many washes, I honestly have no clue. Plently of jeans in rotation and they all get a go in the washer as soon as they feel dirty.
Not too long ago I picked up a pair of Pallet Life Story standard jeans and I couldn’t be happier.
A few times I have had the pleasure of meeting Yoshi-san, the founder of Pallet Life Story. He’s such a great guy, all smiles and laughs. I had seen some of his work before that but it had yet to pull me in. That was before I tried on Pallet Life Story’s standard jeans.
Later on my good friends at the store Göteborg Manufaktur picked up Pallet Life Story and part of it was the standard jeans. I had a chat with Olof about them since he picked up a pair himself straight away. We talked about how comfortable the cut was and the fabric being easy to wear from the get go.
Of course I know lots of people enjoy the rigidness of raw denim when you get a new pair. I do too every now and then. But that comfortable feeling right at the start is one thing that I have come to enjoy a lot in a pair of jeans. Take the Ooe Yofukuten jeans for example, they’re amazing in so many ways, but the fact that it almost feels like sweatpants from the first day gives you the feeling that you can live in the jeans.
That Pallet Life Story had managed to tick the same box was a nice selling point for me. When I finally tried them on at the shop there was no way I would leave without a pair with me. It’s such a damn comfortable pair of jeans thanks to the combination of cut and fabric.
The Pallet Life Story Standard jeans
If you’re not familiar with Pallet Life Story they are not part of the reproduction scene. As Yoshi-san stated himself in an interview with Heddels they strive to put their own twist on the proud manufacturing tradition in Kojima. If you haven’t read the interview already, I recommend you give it a go.
[…]we are committed to weave a new concept of colors into our products.
The standard jeans comes with a straight legged fit. The fit we often simply put under the tag 50’s inspired jeans. Like I previously said it’s damn comfortable although the silhouette still looks sleek thanks to a slight taper below the knee.
Fabricwise they use a soft 15 oz denim. I can’t say for sure that this particular fabric is woven at the Yamaashi mill in Okayama (the very same we used for the GBG001 jeans). But I do know it’s always Yoshi-sans first choice thanks to their unique and high quality work.
Of course there are some nice details on the jeans as well. Particularly I like the button design, the white selvedge-ID and the damn thick natural leather patch. But to be fair, when it comes to details I’d say there are better choices out there if that’s important to you. For me, what makes Pallet Life Story’s jeans great is how well made they are when it comes to the cut and the fabric they use. When you get down to it, isn’t that just the two most important parts when looking for a new pair of jeans?
Some brands shapes one’s interest in this denim game. For me, Warehouse is without a doubt one of them. Many years ago (2014?), when I got my first pair of 1001’s, turned my head thoroughly into the repro part of the denim scene. And after that I have never really looked back. In one way, you could say Warehouse ended up as a sort of measuring stick for any other jeans I came across after that. Looking for similar characteristics or brand ethos.
They might not have the charm of small brands like Ooe Yofukuten, Roy or Denimbridge but for a big player like Warehouse is, their insatiable desire to get every little detail right has earned them a place in my heart that will probably last a lifetime.
Clutch Café – bringing back the love
It wouldn’t sit right to write about this particular release of Warehouse’s 700 model without a brief stray into Clutch Café that houses the jeans.
There’s a neat interview over at Robin Denim with Taka Okabe, the managing director of Clutch Café that tells a bit of the story. The interview is definitely worth a read with Okabe-san also working as an editor for Men’s file, founder of the clothing brand Allevol and as a photographer and writer for Lightning Magazine and 2nd.
Back in 2018 Clutch Magazine decided to open a store in London. The editor in chief Atsu-san wanted a concept showcasing of what Clutch stands for. Clutch Magazine focuses on the core value of what was in the past (mostly pre-1940’S) and how they can bring that value back to the modern world. With the love of vintage jeans, old cars, bikes it’s kind of a vintage lifestyle magazine, as Okabe-san mentions in the interview.
That vision of Atsu-san materialized in an aim to bring Japanese brands and street style to the UK.
In the same year as they opened the doors to the public, Clutch Café made a collaboration with Warehouse, making 50 pairs of the 700 model.
Warehouse 700C – the jeans
The 700 model has been a part of Warehouse’s lineup for some time now, a reproduction of Levi’s 501xx from 1937. I’m no mastermind when it comes to all the timeperiod correct details of the 1937’s but they do come with the cinchback and crotch rivet that should be there. Alas no red tab or arcs due to Levi’s trademarks.
The cut itself is a regular straight, albeit with a slight taper.
The denim used for the 700C is one of Warehouse’s classic ones. The 14,5 oz 6×6 using Memphis cotton, often refered to as the 1000xx one. The touch of it is rougher then the banner denim, which is also a bit lighter weight wise. At first it’s even feels a little slubby from the protruding neps, but that characteristic only plays it’s part for a while before getting worn down.
My Warehouse 1003xx uses this very denim, and now, after perhaps a year of wear, has more of a grainy feel to it than that rough feel it had at first.
The leather patch is from soft deerskin, something we often see used by Warehouse for their patches.
Before rounding off, let’s give an honourable mention to the backpocket shape of Warehouse 700C. Boy do I love the curved style of them. A more square design sure works well, but the curved pockets breaks up the silhouette in a nice way.
I think that’s as far as we need to ramble on about the jeans themselves, this is not really a review kind of blog after all. It’s a bloody fantastic pair of 37’s and if you do come across a pair of 700’s, give them a go. You won’t regret it.
Catch an eye on these old Evis 2504xx in natural indigo.
One look at the arcs and everyone instantly knows it’s a pair of Evisu jeans. What started out as a fun little thing to do when Hidehiko Yamane made his first jeans, painting arcs on some of his run of jeans, has become one of the biggest trademarks in the denim industry (after all, it was the painted pairs that sold out first).
As Yamane san said himself in the great book Ametora:
“The paint was half joke. I never thought anyone would buy them.”
Yes, I know, some of it is hideous crap. A quick trip on Google will show you as much if you need a quick reminder. But then, there’s the good stuff. I’ve already mention it speaking of my Evisu No.1 jeans, but there’s a reason Evisu is one of the legendary Osaka 5 and not a gimmick brand that showed up later on. Yamane-san knew his stuff.
From Evis 2504xx to Evisu 2001
Yamane and his Evisu crew knows how to make an incredible pair of jeans. There’s plenty of pairs out there that tells the true story. This natural indigo pair of 2504xx, made before the brand changed its name from Evis to Evisu, after the lawsuit by Levi’s that went into effect in 1999, is a pair that I hold dearly.
I’m not really that fussed about natural indigo when it comes to jeans. Not that I’m completely here for the fades but it sure is fun to see how the fabric evolves over time. Natural indigo though takes forever to shine. This pair is to be honest nothing other than a collection piece. Still, I’d say it’s worth the time to have a closer look at it.
The model 2504xx was the cinchback version of the 2501 model, the cut that these days is called 2001 – Evisu’s straight 50’s cut. This pair however had been tapered before I got them.
Hand painted Evis arcs
The arcs were hand painted at the Evisu shop on Savile Row in London by Kanji Kohanda. Kanji was Evisu International’s in-house painter for a few years after moving from Japan to work for Evisu.
I’m loving the fact that I got to know this little part of the jeans’ history for the previous owner Ben. When he got them the jeans were without arcs.
The natural indigo fabric
I’ve failed completely trying to find out more about the fabric except that it’s natural indigo. The feel is a little heavier than the usual 14-15 oz range, so possible a 17 oz fabric was used. Evis did use a 17 oz special fabric back then with the same selvedge-ID, but not in natural indigo, so it sounds plausible.
Like Ben said when we were talking about the jeans it’s part of the allure with old Evis jeans that the info is so scarce. It is very hard to find out anything about special releases, even browsing through old Japanese denim blogs.
Part of what I like the most with these jeans are the hardware used for it. The brass cinch gives a nice contrast to the hue of the fabric. And then there’s the Scovill rivets used for the hidden rivets, just lovely stuff. Scovill rivets all around, I might add.
Overall it’s a wonderful pair of jeans. Truly a part of the Japanese denim history and one of the favourites in my collection.
An interview with Ryan Darragh, owner of kids denim brand Nippers.
The term ‘Coolest kid on the block’ have a new face and his name is Jack. Jack is the boy of Ryan Darragh – vintage fascinado out of Belfast and owner of the new kids denim brand Nippers. I had the privilege to chat with Ryan about his new endeavour. It’s a bit of a long read, stay with me.
Nippers is replicating vintage clothing from a time when kid’s clothing was sturdier. Like many of its beloved menswear peers, Nippers are made in Okayama, Japan.
“As far as I know, ‘Nipper’ originated in the 1800’s and referred to a young child who ran errands for a group of working men so I thought it fit in quite nice to the whole workwear/amekaji style.”
Ryan hopes people will ditch the fast fashion world of kids clothing, and instead give a chance to the idea of vintage and quality clothing that’s made to last.
His vision for the jeans is for them to become vintage. The jeans are going to last way beyond the length of time your kid wears them so they can be passed on to a friend’s kid or neighbour.
A vintage seed is planted
The idea to start a denim brand for kids came when Ryan bought the first vintage pieces for his son Jack. The first pair Jack got to actually wear was a pair of 50’s 503zxx Levis bought from Marvins in Tokyo.
As cool as it is with kiddos rocking vintage jeans it doesn’t come without troubles.
“When he was wearing them I was always worried about him taking a fall as all kids do and ripping a knee (and obviously him hurting himself) or spilling a milkshake all over himself. There would definitely have been tears, from me at least.”
Having a brand new pair of reproduction 503zxx that Jack could take the tumbles in and climb trees made perfect sense.
A working man from Belfast
Ryan was born in the late 80’s Belfast. His dad was a truck driver, and his mother had different small jobs when he was a kid before she had to quit to take care of his grandmother when Ryan was still young. It was a pretty happy childhood, not exactly well off but they were happy with what they had.
Belfast has a long going industrial history and straight out of school Ryan went down the same path as many of his relatives working in metal fabrication and welding, continuing to do so for 15 years.
“The imagery on the patch is of the cranes at the Harland and Wolff shipyard here in Belfast. It’s the same yard that built the Titanic and represents a big part of the industrial history of Belfast.”
A plan takes shape
Once Covid hit, like many others Ryan was put on furlough from his welder job and then made redundant. It wasn’t all bad though according to Ryan, a lot of time to think materialized more and more into an eagerness to give the idea of Nippers a go.
“If this gives me the option of maybe going part time at a regular gig and spending more time with the family then I’ll be stoked.”
With zero experience from the clothing industry it has been all about learning on the job for Ryan. It wasn’t all that easy to get it running though. A couple of manufacturers declined to work with Nippers.
The jeans are made exactly the same as adult sized pairs so the way a factory looks at them is that the same amount of work is involved. Hence the manufacturing cost is the same.
An email to the lovable Shingo-san of Denimbridge fame changed everything. Although Shingo himself had his hands full making his own jeans he still helped out. Shingo set up Ryan with a friend of his that runs El Canek’s factory in Okayama, the denim heartland of Japan.
The denimhead community also played its part in the budding Nippers brand. Helping hands aided Ryan with basics of photography, design work and what you need to think about when starting your own brand.
The Nippers jeans named NO1
For Ryan it is very important that the Nippers jeans are made the right way. No cut corners, no half-hearted attempt at a pair of selvedge jeans. Simply put he set out to make the best and most true to the originals one can find out there.
“I want these to feel like the real thing, like the vintage Levi’s they’re based on.”
The jeans Ryan set out to make are a reproduction of a mid 50’s 503zxx. Basically the kids version of Levi’s 501zxx, the zip version of the 501xx.
Since it’s jeans for kids, the choice of denim was an important one. Not too heavy, not too slubby. After all, comfort is king for the kiddos. It can’t feel uncomfortable to the skin nor restrict the movements of playtime.
The original denim used by Levi’s in the 50’s was perfect for what Ryan was looking for. The hunt began to find one that included the pink selvedge-ID used on vintage 503zxx.
After looking at samples Ryan settled on a 13,5 oz denim woven in Okayama at the famed Shinya Mills for his Nippers jeans. The same mill that supplies Full Count and TCB just to name two of the big guns.
“The jeans are also made in Okayama so I like to think of the jeans as being born in Belfast and made in Okayama.”
Nippers is more than repro denim
Offering vintage is a key part of the brand. Vintage is the basis of the whole amekaji/workwear style so it makes sense to Ryan that it should be a part of the brand. For the site launch there is deadstock 60-70’s sneakers and deadstock (made in the USA) 60’s Hanes t-shirts available.
“Vintage is the heart of Nippers and it’s so important to the overall identity of the brand.”
The t-shirt design is loosely based on a 1930’s champion tag. The running man was changed to a young boy to be more fitting with Nippers and to make it a little more playful.
“I really have to give credit to Paul for the design. I gave the outline of what I wanted and he ran with it putting his own spin on my ideas and I love the outcome.”
What’s next for Nippers?
It’s all about one step at a time, but Ryan isn’t short of ideas for what he will do next. Continuing on the current path of the brand we can hopefully see a type 2 507xx jacket. And more deadstock vintage as well. Sounds perfect to me!
But there’s also other intriguing heritage based ideas in Ryan’s mind:
“I would like to use linen in maybe an indigo dyed work jacket or trousers. Northern Ireland has a rich history in linen production so it’s definitely something I’d like to explore.”
Where can one buy Nippers jeans?
Head over to nipperspw.myshopify.com. In the shop you’ll find the full range of deadstock vintage and of course also the Nippers NO1 jeans.
Did you get more questions after the read? Want to chat about the product or just geek out about denim and vintage workwear? You can always contact Ryan on his instagram handle @nipperspw.
I hope you all enjoyed the read. Now go spoil your kiddos! Can’t deny them the same denim pleasantries we all love, can we?
For a long time I have wanted to get my hands on a pair of Warehouse 1939, their Montgomery Ward repro model from the 20th’s anniversary.
Soon after the jeans were released I travelled to Japan and had plans to bring a pair back with me. But no luck. Not in Tokyo, not in Osaka. They were all gone in my size. At least I got my Warehouse 800 C/L which I love dearly.
Anyway, back to the jeans! I won’t dwell too much around the history of Montgomery Ward, there’s plenty to read about it out there. But even if you don’t feel like Googling you should educate yourself enough to know a little. It’s an American chain store that was founded all the way back in 1872 in Chicago. They were one of the big ones together with Sears and JC Penney.
The original model that Warehouse has replicated was as far as I’ve read made to commemorate the 100th year jubilee of Texas independence from Mexico back in 1936. In the three following years the national rodeo champions designed these anniversary jeans. And this model, I guess, is the 1939 version. I haven’t found more detailed desciptions on the different versions.
The “Lone star” stitch on the backpockets that many blogs and stores have named it is possible just that, a nod to the Lone Star state Texas.
Warehouse 1939 – Montgomery Ward jeans
But what about the Warehouse jeans then?
It is a 1930’s cut and like you might imagine it’s a loose straight cut with a pretty high rise. (Warehouse did a slimmed version of this model as well named 1939S if you’re on the hunt but want something more modern). I got these second hand so they’ve been used a little. But I imagine they were comfy straight out of the box. Works like a charm with engineer boots.
Funny enough I had a vague memory that they had used the classic banner denim used on the 1001 jeans. It was a surprise to see that these are a left hand twill. And yes, the banner denim is a right hand twill.
It is however the same cotton blend used for the banner denim, in a 7×7 twill weighing in at 13.7 oz. The feel of it is also pretty similar, very soft to the touch. Not at all like the 1000xx denim used for the Warehouse 700C or Warehouse 1003XX for example.
The hardware is part of what I love the most with these jeans. You have clean doughnut buttons, a neat style of copper rivets that I’ve never seen used by other brands (feel free to vintage school me on this one!), a time correct crotch rivet and a lovely designed cinchback.
The leather used for the patch is made from deerhide.
We’ll see when I find the time to break these in. It should be something gorgeous going by how the regular banner denim shapes up.
Fade update: Time for a TCB Seamens trousers update, the perfect summer denim, after some wear.
I don’t like shorts. I really don’t. A friend of mine used to say it’s for kids, postmen or hanging at the beach. I pretty much agree and barely ever put on shorts in the city.
Breathable TCB Seamens trousers
So instead there’s a need for breathable pants and you know, I do like denim so why not get both in the same pair of pants? The TCB Seamens trousers is an integral part of my summer wardrobe ever since I got them back in 2018 from Göteborg Manufaktur.
The loose cut takes its time to fade but I don’t really mind. The neppy fabric is gorgeous so I’m enjoying that part of the journey while I can.
The images are a tad old when this post hits, shot late in July after a recent wash. At least it will give you a hint of what’s happening for the last two years.
If I have to guess they probably have around 6 months of wear by now. Maybe more, maybe less. Who’s counting?
Soon they will be stored away again, paving way for the fall rotation. But I’ll definitely jump back into them next year when the summer hits.