The same way that the best cooks cook from the finest ingredients or the cyclists at the Tour de France ride top bikes, quality jeans can not be made without quality material. In addition to working with a skilled tailor, having the right denim is the foundation of success. And when it comes to the fabrics from which my jeans are being sewed, I’d like to tell you something.
A quick visit abroad
At the beginning of my denim journey, I assumed that the fabrics could be conveniently bought at home in Prague or in the nearby cities. A wrong assumption! I found out very soon what the limitations of buying in the Czech Republic are. Denim can be bought here, yes, but unfortunately it very much lags in quality. So I had a quick look abroad and where else would I search for fabrics than in Italy, which is famous for its fashion, or in the USA, where it all started almost 150 years ago, and then also in Japan, a promised country of denim?
When it comes to Italy, every one of us usually thinks of a strong espresso, a quick Ferrarri or a crispy pizza. But we also most probably think of fashion, the way the Italians dress and wear their clothes with style, for which they are world famous. On one hand not only can they dress up well and wear fashion, they can also produce high quality fabrics which are used by more than one fashion house. In Italy, I chose the manufacturer called Candiani, which has been a family business for more than four generations, and is considered to be a leader in innovation in the world of jeans. Especially in the area of stretch denim, which the father of the current director began to think of already in the 1990s, at a time when no one even imagined this material. That’s why the vast majority of my stretch fabrics comes from Candiani.
Why the USA? That’s where it all started more than 143 years ago. In 1873, Levi Strauss patented his jeans, and a few years later, in 1891, the legendary denim maker White Oak appeared, becoming the exclusive supplier of fabric to Levi’s. White Oak is my second supplier of quality denim. And just as old Levi’s jeans were made out of a very strong material, White Oak also supplies me the most powerful fabrics that I offer.
“Material is a key factor to jeans.”
Finally, we get to Japan. You may not believe it, but in today’s world the Japanese are considered to be the masters of denim fabric processing. And that would not do without a nice story. Read on. Today you know Toyota as one of the world’s largest automobiles. Interestingly, however, Toyota (back then still called Toyoda after its founder) did not produce cars in their early years, but they produced looms and sewing machines. Some high quality machines. This refers to the early years after the First World War, during which the Japanese had laid the groundwork for what happened after World War II. In the world, the interest in jeans was growing as they were transforming from workers’ work trousers into a fashion article. So the Japanese became obsessed trying to achieve the same quality of fabric processing as it was already mastered by the famous White Oak weaving mill and Levi’s jeans. It has to be said that their work has paid off and today they are considered to be champions in this field. My suppliers are Kaihara and Kurabo weavers. Kaihara is known for its processing of selvedge denim on old machines, but it produces one of the most popular fabrics in the world, and Kurabo has become famous as a supplier of fabrics for the first Japanese jeans brand and selvedge denim. Therefore the last part of this article is dedicated just to selvedge denim.
Because I want to offer you something that is not worn very much in the Czech Republic (literally), I have included the so called selvedge denim in my portfolio. Selvedge denim is generally considered to be the peak of craftsmanship. It is woven on traditional pendulum looms some of which are 100 years old and it uses much more yarn (threads). The threads are, however, weaker and at the same time they are closer to each other, therefore the final product is more solid. This guarantees higher quality and durability. Selvedge is also characterized by the fact that the edge of the fabric ends naturally, and therefore it is called selvedge (which is made up of “self” and “edge”). This method of weaving the fabric prevents the possibility of fringing and has another interesting feature, namely that its colour is different from the rest of the fabric. And in case you fold the ends of the pants, it looks really good.
Due to its quality and the smaller quantity of fabric produced, selvedge denim is more expensive. At my store, I sell selvedge denim pants for 470 EUR, while jeans from classic denim are 390 EUR. It’s up to you which material you’ll like the most. Some are thinner, so they are better suited for summer, stronger fabrics will last longer. Of course you can also choose from different colour combinations.
So choose wisely!