The consumers’ brand awareness of Edwin arguably exceeds the sales figures. It’s still a niche brand but with a huge potential that speaks to denim connoisseurs and fashion trendsetters as well as family dads. Vintage (also frequently mistakenly referred to as Overworks Factory) is Edwin’s top tier heritage denim line and it’s strictly aimed at hardcore denimheads. Launched last year to celebrate the 50 years mark of Edwin’s denim production, it demonstrates that Edwin is still one of the best denim brands in the world. Everything is produced in Japan and the vintage Rainbow selvage denim is made exclusively for Edwin by the Nihonmenpu mill using artisan techniques and machinery. Superdenim describe it as, “the best denim we have ever seen. The fit, cloth and detailing is second to none.” But have a closer look and decide for yourself.
Taken from the press release from Edwin (Europe), for the spring season of 2013 the designers have found inspiration in “the life, work and road-tripping lifestyle of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’-author, Ken Kesey.” Premium Japanese fabrics are used to create a strong, solid and adaptable line-up that supports the classic styling or a counter-cultural aesthetics. Still, the classic indigo dyed five-pocket jeans that Edwin is famous for form the foundation for the collection, yet a strong palet of colours of innovative and improvised sensibility synonymous with the beat generation is added.
Being the first to do something will always have some kind of special value. First-mover advantages are well-known selling propositions in the denim industry, and almost every brand with just the slightest bit a history have marketed themselves on their contribution to the evolution of denim. In Japan it’s almost a dead heat about who was first, but it seems Big John has got the long end of it. Here is why.
The Japanese premium denim brand Momotaro was founded in Kojima in Okayama, a place where time still passes slowly. The small coastal town moves at an unhurried pace from the rest of the world and simply being there can allegedly make you feel relaxed. It is a place where tradition lives on and artisans continue to weave their textiles meticulously using techniques passed down through generations. These jeans are ”made by hand without compromise” as the slogan reads.
Edwin has recently opened a new shop in London, and if you don’t have the opportunity to visit it yourself physically you can watch this short promotional video that they made to celebrate the opening of the shop.
The debate of Japanese denim quickly becomes heated among denim enthusiasts. In my opinion, the subject ought to be seen in a broader perspective. “Japanese denim” has become the finest endorsement a pair of jeans can have, but the general consensus that Japanese denim automatically is of the highest quality is a misinterpretation. With this article I will attempt to demystify Japanese denim and the of legend of what today is an industry like so much else.
Japanese denim is often associated with high quality and equivalently high prices. Edwin is an exception, and the company has managed to combine high quality with affordable prices by creating a unique and recognizable design that stand out among the other Japanese brands, meticulously copying old Levi’s and Lee models.