Indigo Veins collab jeans

Indigo Veins GBG001 collab jeans – update 1

Fade update: Two years later, here’s an update of the Indigo Veins GBG001 collab jeans I made together with Göteborg Manufaktur and Shingo-san from Denim-Base.

It was a lot of fun to do this collab with my good friends Jonas, Olof and Shingo. But also to see how the jeans turned out.

Indigo Veins GBG001 front 1 year of wear
Indigo Veins GBG001 back 1 year of wear

Wearing the Indigo Veins GBG001 collab jeans

I wasn’t all gung-ho for the full time period with the GBG001 jeans but they’ve seen plenty of wear. At least a full year by now. And there’s so much life left in them, they’re just about to hit my personal sweet spot. Another year and they’ll be nothing short of amazing.

The marbling is just great, much like I had hoped when we were in Saitama, checking washed and worn samples, at Shingo’s workshop.

Another favorite is the button fades from the doughnut buttons we used. The shape of the buttons edges helped getting that neat, sharp fade.

Next up I’m waiting to see the patch fall apart a little more. Leather patches are nice and all that, but a crumbling paper patch is pretty great.

GBG001 coinpocket 1 year of wear
button fades after 1 year of wear
Indigo Veins GBG001 tag 1 year of wear
Indigo Veins GBG001 backpockets 1 year of wear
Indigo Veins GBG001 patch 1 year of wear
GBG001 roping 1 year of wear

If you want to see more of how these jeans faded, you can always head to the contest thread on Superfuture. Lots of great samples there.

The Flat Head The Flat Head 7012W

The Flat Head 7012W wabash shirt – update 2

Time for an update on The Flat Head 7012W wabash shirt, six years in the making.

I’ve had this shirt for a long time now. It truly is one of my grail pieces of clothing that I continue to cherish. The weave of the denim fabric on its own is something special, but that is not what I love the most about it these days.

Looking at the pictures you might think I’ve worn it sparsely. That is definitely not the case. It’s seen plenty of wear, loads of washes. Still it has so much indigo left and no broken threads. Almost like my last update 6 years ago.

It’s almost hard to wrap my head around how it’s possible. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out many years from now when it’s worn in and faded.

When I got the shirt 6 years ago I had in mind that this would be a shirt that I would keep with me for many, many years. I’m so happy to see that is likely the case. Not just for 10 years, more like 30 years of wear could probably be squeezed out of this one with fairly regular wear. That sure is something, isn’t it.

Currently I have four denim shirts of different types. This one, my hickory Fargo shirt from Indigofera, a western shirt from Warehouse and a CPO from Mister Freedom (yes, I will have to post them someday soon!). It feels great to know that these will be the shirts I’ll keep with me through out my life, there’s no need what so ever to look at anything new. They’ve already hit it out of the ballpark.

The Flat Head 7012W front
The Flat Head 7012W tag
The Flat Head 7012W roping

Go with The Flat Head wabash shirt

If you’re considering getting a wabash shirt I can’t recommend this enough. The Flat Head really hit it out of the park with the 7012W shirt. Googling around a bit it seems like it will be hard to find one like this.

Warehouse Warehouse 1003XX

Warehouse 1003XX

Say hello to Warehouse 1003XX – Warehouse WWII model.

Yep, another pair of Warehouse jeans got added to the collection some years ago. If you follow my Instagram account you will already have seen them for some time now (and the other Warehouse jeans yet to be posted here on the blog).

Warehouse 1003XX – a perfect straight

Of course it’s very subjective, and also ever changing even on a personal level, but I’ve been very fond of WWII-cuts for some time. The straight cut is just right for me and Warehouse hits it off.

Warehouse 1003XX front
Warehouse 1003XX back

They’ve made the 1003XX for many years now, and to my knowledge pretty much always in their 14,5 oz denim. Not the banner denim used for the Warehouse 1001.

Warehouse 1003XX denim

It’s a little more irregular, rough and rugged compared to the banner denim. Not off the charts irregular, it’s still a pretty even weave. But it definitely differs from the softness of the banner denim, even though the weight doesn’t differ that much.

Warehouse 1003XX coinpocket
Warehouse 1003XX button

Since it’s a WWII pair there are of course some special details:

  • No rivets on the coinpocket
  • this model has flannel pocketbags (which I failed to take a picture of)
  • some difference in the sewing (which I also failed to photograph).

It does however have Warehouse regular buttons, not the laurel wreath buttons we often see on WWII-jeans.

Warehouse bull horn patch
Don’t mind the crappy repair work.

I’ve always loved the bull horn patches Warehouse used back in the days. Man I was very happy when I got my hands on these from a friend.

Warehouse 1003XX backpockets

The pair has been my go to-pair of jeans together with the GBG001 collab jeans for a while and now they’re really taking shape. No clue about the number of washes or how long they’ve been worn though.

All I know is that I will continue to wear them and once they’re done maybe I’ll have a go at my second pair that is stored away.

Resolute Resolute 710

Resolute 710

Resolute 710 – a 60’s cut from the denim hero Hayashi-san of Denime fame.

Hayashi-sans new endevour Resolute that he started after leaving Denime can hardly be called a new player on the denim scene these days.

There’s plenty of good reads out there if you want to know more about Resolute, Hayashi-san and his view on jeans. For instance this lovely interview on Japanalogue.

Resolute 710 front 3 months of wear
Resolute 710 back 3 months of wear

The Resolute 710 model

Some years ago I got my hands on an ever so slightly used pair of 710’s, a model based on Levi’s classic version of 501’s from 1966. If you’ve read the interview I linked to above you’ll know that Hayashi-san has tweaked the cut of the Levi’s 66 to better fit the body types that are more common in Japan.

Of course that effects how it fits for western body types. Still though, a bloody great fit that I enjoy a lot.

The denim they use weights in at 13,75 oz when raw, a perfect midweight denim to go use all year.

Part of what I enjoy the most about Hayashi-san and his over 30 years in the denim game is his strive to perfect the fades of late 60’s 501’s. Resolute sure is close.

Resolute 710 backpockets 3 months of wear

It might seem almost dull at first with the lighter hue and pretty flat weave. After some wear though, it really shines. Doesn’t matter if you opt for high contrast or wash them a lot for less contrast like Hayashi-san himself does.

I have no clue how much I’ve worn these. For a long time they only got a day of wear every now and again when I felt like wearing something different. Lately though, I’ve started wearing them more and will probably continue to do so. It’s the perfect pair for a little more dressed style.

Warehouse Warehouse 800 C/L

Warehouse 800 C/L – update 1

One year of wearing Warehouse 800 C/L – the cotton/linen mix.

It’s been five years since I bought these Warehouse 800 C/L jeans in Osaka. Since then I’ve been wearing them off and on during the summer months, rotating with my TCB trousers.

The cut is a little slim, but the lighter weight denim (12 oz) still makes it work unless the digits gets too hot. Presumably the mixed in linen also helps with the breathability of the fabric.

Warehouse 800 C/L front 1 year
Warehouse 800 C/L back 1 year

To be fair, I have no idea how much they’ve actually been worn or washed. But then again, just like the advice I always give when asked – just wear and wash your jeans. They’ll turn out great.

Warehouse 800 C/L backpockets 1 year

Short little update on this one, perhaps I’ll shoot more detail shots later on.

Denime Denime 506 Okategoriserade

Denime 506 – update 3

Time for update 3 of my Denime 506 jacket. It’s been a while since the last one.

denime 506 front
denime 506 back

Since the last update, the jacket has seen quite a lot of wear. Though my TCB 30’s jacket has seen most of my denim jacket love for the last year or so.

Anway, the XX-denim Hayashi-san made back in the Orizzonti days of Denime is really starting to shine. It’s almost in peak condition right now. I mean, look at that marbling texture. What’s not to love?

denime 506 fabric
denime 506 pocket
denime 506 collar

From now on it will only see moderate wear, I think. Both the TCB jacket and Warehouse one is calling on me. Plus, have you seen the triple pleat blouse TCB Jeans just released? I might just need to splash some cash for that natural indigo greatness (that will take forever to fade).

That’s it for update 3 of the Denime 506. Talk to you soon!

denime 506 sleeve
denime 506 cinch
denime cinchback
TCB TCB 30's jacket

TCB 30’s jacket – update 1

Another wash for my TCB 30’s jacket means it is time for update 1. The contrasts have settled nicely since I got it, much thanks to the tighter sleeves compared to my other jackets.

tcb 30's jacket front
tcb 30's jacket back

I don’t want it to get out of hand, so from now on it will be treated with more frequent washing. Since the jacket uses the same fabric as my TCB 20’s, I already know that it keeps its indigo quite well. Washing won’t be an issue. It will even thrive from it, showcasing that wonderful marbling texture.

TCB 30's whiskers

Marbling fabric

What made TCB 20’s one of my favorite jeans I’ve come across so far is the fabulous fabric. The marbling you get from frequent washing is a real treat for the eye. Now it is starting to show on the jacket as well. With time it might even challenge the XX-fabric on my Denime 506.

tcb 30's patches
tcb 30's jacket pocket

Patch and button evolution

If I’m not mistaken, I’ve washed the TCB 30’s jacket three times now. The iron buttons have barely begun to rust. But the leather patch is almost a goner. Still somewhat supple but the print is nowhere to be found. Just like it should be!

tcb 30's jacket leather patch
tcb 30's jacket cinch
tcb 30's jacket sleeve

Well, that’s the end for update 1 on my TCB 30’s jacket. More updates to come next spring.

If you are looking for a classic style denim jacket, but want a little longer body length and tighter sleeves I couldn’t recommend this enough. Go fetch yourself one straight from the guys at TCB Jeans. It’s much easier now that they’ve hired an English speaking employee.

TCB TCB 20's

TCB 20’s contest jeans – update 3

Final update for the TCB 20’s contest. It’s been a blast and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that they turned out very, very well. As did so many other pairs. Check out the final submissions thread if you’re looking for more reasons to get a pair of TCB 20’s!

TCB 20's topblock front

Like I have mentioned before, the fabric Inoue-san used for these jeans and the TCB 30’s jacket is so swell. The light weight of it makes it very comfy, but not too light to wear during the winter here in Sweden (at least as an office warrior). But that’s only one of the many good points:

  • The vertical falling is well balanced
  • The indigo holds on well
  • Lots of marbling, even with pretty irregular washing
  • The different fabric used for the beltloops gives a neat contrast
  • The wide white selvedge-ID is probably my favorite one
TCB 20s front
TCB 20s back

End of the contest

So, after 18 months the contest is officially over. Compared to earlier contests I’ve participated in, I’ve probably worn these the hardest. If I had to guess, I’d say these have about 15 months of actual wear in them.

I’ve got no clue anymore about the number of washes. They were a little sparse at the beginning. Waiting about five months for the first one.

But at the end it was a lot more frequent. More like every 2-3 weeks. Don’t be afraid to wash your jeans. They will turn out great any way.

TCB 20's coinpocket
TCB 20's top button

TCB 20’s – signs of wear and tear

At the end of the contest the jeans have to no surprise started to show more wear and tear all over the place. Not as much as I thought, but I suppose that’s not a bad thing. Now I can wear them for a long time still!

tcb 20's topblock back
tcb 20s cinchback
The cinch keeping it in place
Leather patch
Back yoke tearing up

I’ll leave you with TCB’s famous roping and the thick selvedge-ID I love so much.

TCB jeans famous roping
tcb 20s selvedge

Dye for Indigo – interview with Johan Åberg

Dye For Indigo is the brainchild of Johan Åberg. An indigo dyed adventure taking us back to the time of using our own hands to make something great.

Enough is enough. Poor quality, worse working conditions and large quantities pained Johan. After nearly 20 years in the fashion industry he had seen enough of it and opened up the store Göteborg Vintage in 2013. 

“I’ve always been interested in old things that have a soul”

This presented an opportunity for Johan to use all his experience and create a meeting place where the focus was on craftsmanship, quality and unique pieces of clothing. Vintage denim, workwear, army surplus and local brands. In other words: far far away from the fashion industry he left behind.

Arashi shibori and sashiko embroidery
Work in progress: arashi shibori and sashiko embroidery

With his roots in Swedish textile territory

Growing up in Dalsjöfors outside Borås, Johan had a proud long history of Swedish textile industry around the corner. Amongst them Almedahls, that has been around since the 1800’s. This was the place Johan worked at during the summers. 

Since then, textiles has been a part of Johan’s life in some way or another. Working as a designer, buyer, art director, arts craftsman or holding different courses. No wonder Dye For Indigo came to be. But what exactly is Dye For Indigo?

“Dye For Indigo is my reaction to the consumer society”

By shifting focus to the handicraft from the everyday consumerism Johan wants to showcase the joyous way to avoid getting worn out. Studies from the last few years even shows that arts and crafts have a positive effect on our memory. 

In our fast moving, technical and digital society Johan thinks it’s vital not to lose our connection to working with our hands. Bit by bit new innovations takes over what we previously made by hand. And the world keeps on spinning faster, faster, faster.

indigo powder

The start of Dye For Indigo

While working in the store Johan went deeper into the rabbit hole of textile craftsmanship. Here he found his answer to how he could express himself and his lifelong interest: indigo. 

“I wanted to learn everything about indigo”

The history surrounding indigo is nothing short of astounding. From what we know indigo has been used for over 6000 years and across all continents. There’s over 750 species of indigo plants. To dye with, use as a medicinal herb, for trading. 

It has played a big part throughout history with its many qualities: dirt repellent, antibacterial and flame retardant to name a few which made it very valuable for the working class.  

As an example, during the Edo period (1603-1868) of Japan there were laws stating what style, fabrics and colors the different classes could wear. For the common people of Japan, simple indigo dyed clothing were some of what was allowed. As a result, the deep blue of indigo became an integral part of Japan’s history.

During the summer in 2015 Johan went to the Swedish island Öland to attend a course in textile dyeing. For over 50 years Capellagården have held courses in arts and craftsmanship. Here at Capellagården, the interest Johan held for indigo dyeing grew and reached new heights. 

“Every vat of indigo I make is unique. It lives its own life”

Coming home to Gothenburg, Johan felt an itch to share his passion and knowledge. The idea was to keep using the store as an animated and local meeting place, but change its shape into an indigo studio and hold courses in indigo dyeing. There was a booming interest for the courses, the need to meet in a creative environment and make something by hand seemed huge. And it doesn’t stop. The workshops are always filled to the brim with participants.

The opportunity of trying out natural indigo dyeing and shibori have piqued the people of Gothenburg’s interest. Visits from several textile companies and collaboration projects keeps Johan busy.

But the success wasn’t a given. To properly put his mind to it Johan had to take a leap of faith and work less hours at his regular job. Something that obviously comes with a feeling of uncertainty at first. Thankfully it all played out well.

Arashi shibori flags
Arashi shibori flags on Brännö

What’s the trick?

According to Johan, a huge part of succeeding with his voyage into the crafts scene was pushing himself early on. Throwing himself head first into the workshops and running them taught him plenty. 

“Indigo and the different techniques is my big passion. I’m sure it shows during the courses, haha” 

Having a distinct profile, being personal and daring to give a piece of himself has been key. 

Dyeing in itself isn’t an easy task either. You have to be thorough and methodical. In other words, something that is pretty far from what we’re used to these days. Instead of rushing ahead, let it take its time and focus. 

Treat the dyeing with care, it’s not something that you can hit home doing half arsed.

Indigo pigments
Two types of indigo getting ready for use!

Once Johan was trying his hand at a technique called Katazome. If you’re not familiar with Katazome, it is a technique where you use rice paste to cover up the areas you don’t want to take up the indigo dye, creating a pattern.

“I found a traditional recipe that took hours to prepare. When I was dyeing the fabric, all the rice paste dissolved and disappeared down into the vat. I rushed it and the paste hadn’t dried yet. Doing it all over the next day, taking it slowly and methodical, it turned out great.”

Johan’s tips for indigo inspiration on Instagram

Drying fabrics after indigp dyeing
Drying in sun after a workshop on Brännö

Shibori makes it shine

During Johan’s courses you don’t only get to try your hand at dyeing. Part of the fun (and maybe the most fun?) is having a go at shibori – an ancient dye resist technique from Japan. From what we know shibori have been used for almost 1200 years in Japan to make beautiful patterns.

When I asked Johan about what he finds the most intriguing about shibori he gave me a very fitting answer: 

What really makes shibori interesting for Johan is how there’s so many techniques and ways of doing it. Everyone can do it and sometimes the easiest technique provides the greatest result. That is to say: you cannot fail.

sashiko on Levis 507XX

Mending with sashiko

It might not come as a surprise, a creative soul like Johan doesn’t stop at indigo dyeing and shibori. After that another idea popped up in his head and the mending workshops using sashiko was born. 

Just like shibori, sashiko stems from Japan. Sashiko is a form of decorative reinforcement stitching that has been around since the 1600’s. The embroidery technique was used to strengthen the clothes. Worn out clothes were pieced together to make new garments by using simple running stitches in different patterns. 

Back then it was born from a practical need. But now Johan is using it to further push his idea of sustainability and the joy of using your hands.

Perhaps you remember my vintage Levi’s 507XX? Johan was kind enough to mend it for me with antiques Japanese fabrics and sashiko embroidery. Turned out pretty neat, eh?

Want to learn more about indigo dyeing?

Interested in learning more about indigo dyeing? Maybe even try it yourself? Finding the right ingredients might be a bit tricky but here’s Johans best tips to get started:

  • attend a course!
  • there are plenty of blogs to devour
  • Google is your friend
  • Youtube is also your friend
  • read some of the many book on the subject

If you want to attend a course with Johan, keep an eye out on @dyeforindigo where he posts upcoming dates. And lots of gorgeous indigo dyed photos of course!

Books about indigo

What’s next for Dye for Indigo?

Today Johan is working part time with his indigo dyed business. Meanwhile, the workshops keep on running and commissions are rolling in from exciting partners. 

In the midst of it all Johan leaves for Japan in a few weeks time. Going to browse vintage shops in Tokyo? Nah, it’s an indigo dyeing trip of course! During the trip Johan will be bouncing across Japan, attending dyeing workshops and deepening his knowledge about shibori. After a trip like that, it will be very interesting to see how much he has grown.

All the fun stuff isn’t happening in Japan though. Back home in Gothenburg there are a couple of big projects coming up in the following months. Challenging in more than one way, according to Johan. Very secretive so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what’s in store!

Lee 81-LJ Lee jackets

Vintage Lee 81-LJ jacket

Lee 81-LJ is in my opinion one of the sweetest lined chore coats that have been made. Some time ago I came across this one from the 1960’s. It’s bruised and battered. But what the hell, it’s real nice any way.

How to date the Lee 81-LJ?

There’s three key features that helped discerning what decade the jacket is from. The neck label design got “Made in USA” added to it in the 1970’s.

Lee 81-LJ collar and tag

The label on the front pocket also changed in the 1970’s. On that one Lee added the MR and R-tag. Finally, the lining was changed to one that doesn’t the red and rust colors in it.

Lee 81-LJ chest pocket

Lee and the Jelt denim

As much as I love Levi’s old XX-fabrics, Lee’s Jelt denim intrigues me as well. The feel is more smooth and it’s almost like a lighter shade of indigo compared to Levi’s denim. Yes, of course all denim gets lighter with wear but this one fades more towards white than gray if you catch my drift.

Lee 81-LJ bottom pocket

L for Lining

You have probably already figured it out by now – the LJ in the model name stands for Lined Jacket.

The lining Lee used for their jackets caught my eye a long time ago before I really liked chore coats. Back then I saw it on a Storm Rider jacket in a vintage shop in Copenhagen.

The colors have changed over the years but this is probably my favorite combination. It works really well both with this well worn denim and when the jackets are new.

Lee's classic lining

Hardware that is easy to like

Another top feature on the Lee 81-LJ is the hardware. The large buttons with the Lee logo works like a charm in combination with the big pockets of a chore coat. It all fits so very well together.

Lee branded buttons
Chore coat cuff fades

The Rite stuff – Interview with Bryan Shettig

The Rite Stuff, the brand run by Bryan Shettig, has turned quite a few heads since he released the Heracles shirt in 2017. I felt an urge to dig a little deeper and had a chat with Bryan about the 1930’s, running your own show and what sets The Rite Stuff apart.

Introducing Bryan Shettig

Before we dive into The Rite Stuff, who’s the man behind the brand?

Bryan was born in 1984 in Scotland to an American dad and Mexican mother. Thanks to his father’s work, he’s moved around a lot. Egypt. Singapore. Venezuela. Different parts of the US. Studying journalism in Texas. And now, living in Taiwan.

Asian art and pop culture has always had a good pull on Bryan since childhood. Lots of rosewood furniture, wooden screens, and other antique Chinese furniture was in his house from the time his family lived in Singapore. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan flicks.

The clothing interest didn’t really show up until later. Being 12 and a metalhead was the first spark. But then it was in that particular world with its own uniform and clothing style. Coveting Vans checkered slip-ons, and snap bracelets was a part of the game.

A job assignment for a magazine in 2013 was the selvedge spark. A somewhat unusual one. The assignment was an article about the blog Menswear Dog. Back then the owner included a line in his bio that said something like, “and never washing my selvage denim”.

A quick Google session and Bryan was hooked. Not just the look of it compared to an overlock stitch, but alos the entire mythos and history behind it.

“In high school my major was history, so I’d always been interested in things from the past, especially things that were once better or more interestingly made.”

Pherrow's 441 jeans
Bryan’s old pair of Pherrow’s when they were pretty much new

A pair of Pherrow’s 441 jeans and one of their polka dot short-sleeve work shirts was the start. Although the Medium shirt was too small and the Large was too big, so they both had to be sold.

Pretty fitting for a man four years later starting a brand to set that problem right.

Early 1900’s – the years of innovation

The Rite Stuff takes a lot of inspiration from 1910-1930’s. These were the decades where we could see many innovative ways taking form. Something that came to shape much of the workwear clothing that followed.

Chinstraps (of various lengths and widths), triple-stitching, cigarette pockets, pencil pockets, gussets, interesting back yokes, pullovers, sleeve facing styles, buttons and tags are just a few of the details that have piqued Bryan’s interest. Details that you’ll find in The Rite Stuff line.

Sears Roebuck ad
From the Sears Roebuck catalogue in 1912
Workshirt photo from 1930's
1930’s working man. Notice the chest pockets and chinstrap.

Everything The Rite Stuff makes is influenced by these three decades in one way, shape or form. Both The Atlas and Heracles shirts are meant to fit into the 1930’s, but with a difference to it – the fabrics are better modern ones and the quality control is more rigorous.

For Bryan it’s not about making modernized versions of classic workwear per se, nor introduce intentional flaws into pieces to recreate an era. Details are included in his products, but not just for the sake of including lots of details. The fine line to walk is to capture that aesthetic without feeling too costumey.

Reliance Manufacturing Co. box
Photo: e-Workers

Reliance Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, Illinois has a special place in the heart of Bryan.

Reliance focused almost entirely on workshirts during the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, with some forays into underwear, and then into jackets with their Yankshire line in the 1940s. So from about 1912 until the 1940s their main product line was work shirts, and were the biggest brand in the US to focus almost entirely on work shirts.

They made some of his favorite shirts and have been a big inspiration:

Overall they made more hits than misses in their design department. Many of their designs continue to be copied by workwear brands to this day, such as the Milton F. Goodman’s triple-stitched scalloped yoke and vent holes design, the Big Yank Flyer and its cigarette pockets, both the 1930 version and the ’40s version with the “gachapoke” pocket.”

Big Yank ad

The Rite Stuff, taking off

The Rite Stuff Heracles label

Like with so many great ideas, The Rite Stuff was born from seeing a gap in the market. There were of course great shirts being made on the Japanese denim scene, but they were made for a different body type than the western one. Sometimes too short sleeves, other times too narrow shoulder width.

Cold Summer/Kyle over on Superfuture posted the idea that someone should make custom, made-to-order workwear shirts out of Japanese fabrics but for Western guys. I liked the idea a lot and did a lot of mulling about it.

Liking the idea is one thing. Bringing it to fruition is another thing entirely. One of the first questions Bryan faced was whether to do it as a one-man operation or have them made with the help of someone else. It was a possibility, but in the end the one-man routine was thrown in the bin for a number of reasons.

The Atlas shirt. Salt and pepper chambray shirt
The Atlas shirt. Salt & Pepper chambray greatness!

Bryan’s short list of why not to do it yourself

  • I’d need a bigger place with more room for a workshop.
  • Then I’d have to get various sewing machines and learn how to use/fix them.
  • I’d need to learn how to make work shirts, but there’s no one here for me to apprentice under.
  • Then, I’d have to practice for who-knows-how-long before my shirts are any good.
  • If I were to make it, creating shirts would probably take up all my spare time.

There’s also the intricate problem of what the customers expect of a one-man brand. We all love it. The story of how our favorite gear is made by one man alone. It’s very difficult to keep that allure while bringing someone else on for the show and handle production. Something that’s pretty much a necessity if you want to make an entire line of shirts, tees, pants, jackets and even footwear like Bryan aspires to do.

“We’ve seen various one-man brands now in the denim, leather jacket and other worlds recently just sort of unravel or their wait lists get crazy long and I just didn’t want to end up letting people down in the end.”

Drawing of the Heracles shirt design
Drawings of the Heracles shirt design

Instead of burning out in all his glory, Bryan decided to have his product made for him elsewhere. But where? The US or Japan? Japan was the choice in the end. You can read more of why on Bryan’s blog. It wasn’t that easy though. Even getting replies from the companies was difficult.

Generally in those cases one needs to be introduced by a third party, such as a kind of agent, who vouches for you. Plus, fluent Japanese is usually a given in these cases.

The Japanese take their reputation very seriously and might not want to make products for just any guy off the street who turns out not to be trustworthy.

John Lofgren enters the scene

For The Rite Stuff, John Lofgren was the game changer in that regard. Previously John had done collaborations with Bandanna Almanac, ELMC and Papa Nui. A message to John, a positive reply and a flight to John’s headquarter in Sendai, Japan later and the ball had started to roll.

Sendai, Japan
Sendai, from Bryans first visit to meet John Lofgren.

“When I visit them in Sendai, we’ll spend hours and hours talking about clothing and going over fabrics, buttons, and ideas for what to do next.”

John and his team are full of experience and advice. Although the decision ultimately rests with Bryan, having John and his team around and helping by bringing up new ideas plays a big role for The Rite Stuff, according to Bryan. In a sense almost like a collaboration at times.

With John and his team entering the scene Bryan never had to learn pattern making and all the other steps of the craft. Having access to masters of the craft has its perks. Draw the design and let them do their thing!

“I simply draw my designs and then our master pattern makers in Japan turn those into a pattern to make into a sample.”

Bryan Shettig, The Rite Stuff founder
Bryan in the green version of the Atlas shirt

Fast forward two years and The Rite Stuff has grown its line of business since the Heracles shirt first entered the race. The Atlas shirt, pocket tees, the Harvester henley, an undershirt, scarfs and a bandana have joined the fray.

Stockists carry the word of The Rite Stuff in ten countries across four continents. Surely that’s only the first yards of the start.

Keep on trucking

I want you to wear my garments, not for my garments to wear you.”

Classic, ethically made, fairly priced. The goal of The Rite Stuff is to make the best workwear repro-style clothes in the world right now. That comes from experience with vintage, and seeing what others have done right and wrong, what was done to chase a trend and what was done to make something classic, and discerning what’s better now than in the past.

Wabash and hickory stripe scarves
Wabash and hickory stripes scarves

That of course doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing. Just because the aim is high or something sold well once doesn’t mean you have the luck of the Irish.

“The big challenge now is trying to read the market and price things correctly. I see brands selling competing products for a fair bit less, and in some cases much more, and it makes me think: am I pricing this correctly?”

Bryan is a fairly quiet guy for the most part. Always one to just sit back and observe the world and people around instead of being the center of attention. Observation, taking it in and thinking it through. Something that’s pretty apparent when you hear about how he takes care of his customers.

Listening closely to the customers have become an integral part in how Bryan handles his Rite Stuff. Chatting with people, getting their feedback and taking it into account. To me that is a very sound way of doing business that will help it grow stronger over time.

Bryan Shettig, The Rite Stuff founder
Bryan in the Heracles shirt

The Rite balance

While running The Rite Stuff, Bryan still keeps on trucking his daytime job. It’s not an easy task getting everything booming, especially in the saturated workwear-fashion market we see today.

It’s not to the point where the daytime job and The Rite Stuff interfere with each other yet. Photos can be taken on the weekends. Posting on Instagram done on the commute or later at night.

“I figured when I started I wouldn’t be a hit out of the gate (I was right) so The Rite Stuff wasn’t going to pay the bills alone. It still doesn’t, actually, but every day it grows a little more and with enough support I think I’ll get there.“

Albeit having your own brand doesn’t take a lot of time most days, says Bryan. Samples takes months to be made, photoshoots a day or two, opening up for pre-orders and again waiting for several months for the product to arrive.

Getting help along the way is of course important in other areas than the help of John Lofgren and his team. The small loan Bryan got from his dad to kick it all off, a wife that supports and helps with inventory, bookkeeping and shipping. And of course everyone from customers to stockists who’s believed in The Rite Stuff products.

If it weren’t for them we might not get to see the Heracles shirt 2.0 in new colours or the selvedge denim chinos Bryan is thinking about.

“To those reading, I hope The Rite Stuff interests you, and if not, send me a message and let me know what you think!”

Make sure to check out The Rite Stuff. You can find his work on his website and Instagram. I know for sure that I will!

Conner's Sewing Factory Conner's Sewing Factory S409XXX

Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX

I like reproduction models, I think we’ve already established that right? Possibly making the most detailed repro jeans out there, Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX is something else. So when I got the chance to scoop up a lightly used pair from my friend Mr.T I pounced on it.

I’m not gonna dwell too much into the ethos of Conner’s Sewing Factory, Konaka-san and the S409XXX. Head on over to Denimbro and you’ll find pretty much all you need to know and a lot more. Definitely worth the internet trip!

Quite some time ago I also posted a video from Conner’s in which Konaka-san talks about his work. He really is meticulous about it.

Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX front
Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX back

Sorry about the crappy quality, but at least you get an idea of the cut!

CSF S409XXX M-WW2 Santa Cruz

Pretty long model number, eh? Well like you might have guessed, this is one of Conner Sewing Factory’s WW2-models, named Santa Cruz. I’ve failed to find why the models are named Santa Cruz, San José and San Francisco. But since Konaka-san is known for using a vintage pair to replicate, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to guess it is named after where the original Levi’s jeans were made. Perhaps you know? Leave a comment below.

Much of the hype of Conner’s originally stem from the fact that Konaka-san went so far to reproduce every aspect, even the wonky stitch work you find on some jeans from that era. The Santa Cruz however is one of the most neatly sewn models he makes, but of course there’s a reason for that too.

As they state on their website the original Santa Cruz-model was made for factory workers during the war. Because of the line of work it was necessary that the seams had extra strength to be up for the task, hence the shorter stitch count per inch.

Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX topblock back
Pocket shapes on point for these S409XXX

But what about that paper patch?

If you know your little Levi’s denim history, the paper patch showed up during the 60’s. And this is a WW2-model, from the 40’s. Doesn’t make any sense?

Well, we also know that there was a shortage of material during the war. One of the most noticable details that shows this is the use of different pocketbag material you can find on vintage jeans from the WW2-era. Like the flannel fabric on this pair (sorry, no pics except on Instagram!), or the olive herringbone we used for my collab jeans.

WW2-era coinpocket style
WW2-style coinpocket without rivets
Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX hardware
I don’t know what’s best, the V-stitch or the hardware?

Details and denim stuff

The fabric used for the WW2-models weighs in on 13,5 oz. Pretty much the ideal thickness for me, not too hefty but still substantial. It has a soft feeling to it with some vertical falling, much like the vintage stuff.

Although it’s very nice I wouldn’t say that the fabric is what makes Conners Sewing Factory jeans shine. I’d put Ooe Yofukuten, Warehouse and TCB Jeans up on the same level if not even better with a few others too.

Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX fabric
The vertical falling really pops in sunlight

But the small details, that’s where it’s at! Like the wickedly shallow V-stitch, iron buttons, shape of the backpockets and ,like I’ve already mentioned, the patch and stitch work.

Pink selvedge-ID
Pink selvedge-ID
Curled red tab
Curled red tab

Want a pair of Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX?

I see why there’s so much love for Konaka-sans work. It’s thrilling to support and buy jeans that you know is a one man-show, supernerdy with all the quirky details that we like. These will surely get the wear that they deserve now that the TCB 20’s contest is coming to an end.

If you do want to get yourself a pair of Conners Sewing Factory S409XXX, do mind that the measurements differ between the models and lots. People that have ordered multiple models have had to go for different sizes (without a procured beerbelly to blame on). Don’t wanna fuck up an order for jeans at 42 000 yen, haha. So be adviced.