It’s no secret that I like Pike Brothers; the brand is not about fashion or the latest trends but instead it focuses on creating authentic and honest workwear without making any compromises. An appealing philosophy that is worth striving for. Recently I had a closer look at what the proud Germans will shipping out shortly. Exhibiting for the first time in the Fire Dept. at Bread & Butter, the response from both buyers and media was overwhelming for Fabian Jedlitschka and his crew, but the fact is that they have earned their popularity.
One of the main attractions at the small booth was the heavyweight 23 oz. denim jeans. They’re made of Japanese denim and sewn in Poland. The Turkish manufacturer that produces the rest of the Pike Brothers denim refused to sew these jeans base solely on the fact that it’s such a “pain in the rear,” and it seriously ruins their sewing machines. At some seams, like in the crotch, 3 workers are required to sew the fabric together, 2 to fold and hold the denim in place and 1 to sew. Productionwise it’s an absolute nightmare, but based on the positive response that the jeans have received Fabian wouldn’t hesitate to do it again. Also, not many European brands offer such heavy denim, actually Pike Brothers is the only German company to do so.
For a long time I’ve been wanting to ask Fabian why Pike Brothers jeans don’t feature chain stitched hems, and based on his argumentation it’s no coincidence. Actually, the lock stitch was chosen with authenticity in mind. Inspiration for basically all Pike Brothers products are found in lesser known original “workwear denim” brands from the 40s and 50s like Montgomery Ward that didn’t necessarily have access to chain stitching machines. If they didn’t need it then why should we now, seemed to be the answer. I give him points for keeping it authentic, but personally I still prefer the look of a roped up chain stitched hem you get after several washes.
In addition to strength, the lock stitch also comes in handy for Pike Brothers’ customers as the lock stitch gives us the ability to shorten the jeans with any household sewing machine without tampering with the original “design.” The Pike Brothers Bib Overalls are only offered in one length like it was the case with any Bib in the 30s. Take a look at the pictures of workers from that time and notice the huge turn ups.
Another highlight was the new Elephant skin fabric. It’s tightly woven of 100% organic cotton by a vintage German mill and it weighs 520g per square meter, which equals around 18-19 oz., but the thickness of the weave makes it feel like a 12-13 oz. denim. Originally the elephant skin was used in the metal industry by ship builders and welders. Fabian collects European workwear and he has originals 40-50 years old that looks almost like leather, so be patient and he promisses good results.
The first run was recently introduced to the market and it’s available only in black; from the spring season 2013 it will also be available in navy. The chambray shirt is also new and will be available from September.
The selection of heavy outerwear is definitely also something worth mentioning and a Pike Brothers specialty.
You can get your Pike Brothers gear online from their own webshop.
Review by Thomas Bojer.