For the last three years there has been an oasis for the Australian denim connoisseurs in the dry grasslands down under. The Australian denim culture is growing and it has a European feel into it. Located in Adelaide in South Australia and opened in March 2009, Right Hand Distribution offers a wide selection of denim brands that allows customer to find the right fit, material and colour in any age group – especially if you have a taste for Japanese denim.
Right Hand Distribution is the only stockist for Samurai Jeans, Momotaro Jeans, Flat Head, Sugar Cane, Buzz Rickson and Mister Freedom on the continent. Other than Japanese brands the shop carries Tellason, Nudie Jeans Co., Our Legacy and Natural Selection. We asked owner Andy Watson a few questions about his passion for denim.
You seem to have a passion for the history of clothing, how did it all begin?
Collecting action men as a kid, the whole military functional aspect really intrigued me, everything was built for a purpose and use. Every garment we have today comes from somewhere, we haven’t really invented anything new. It comes from military or industrial uses. I think we need to respect that when making new garments, which is why I love what I do. We can select each piece for the store on its appreciation for the past whilst still being relevant. If you add, say, a zip, to a garment it needs to be functional and nessesary, not just for the sake of being different.
What was your motivation to open RHD?
I had just moved back from Japan and London and didn’t have anywhere to buy clothes, no one is doing it here.
What’s your background?
Motor mechanic by trade, retail, wholesale and product development in denim industry over the past 15 years.
A horrible pair my mum bought me, wow. First decent pair were a pair of Big E’s, no tags no idea of year, second hand from Marvins in Tokyo.
Why do you think denim (especially vintage denim) has become so popular?
Here in Australia it’s still not really that popular, but guys turning back to being guys, changing light bulbs and playing with motors. It’s always been popular maybe just not cool. There’s also been such a saturation of junk.
How do you wear in your (dry) jeans – any special routines?
Wash before wear, wear doing what I do every day and washing when they need it. I’ve never done the years with no wash, especial on the shrink-to-fit stuff – it needs a good wash straight up. I wouldn’t wear the same socks 7 months straight so the same with jeans for me.
Wear, wear, wear there’s no fast or easy way to break them in, my 21 oz. Samurai’s gave me hell, removed hairs the lot. Just keep on wearing.
Do you collect anything?
Bit of a nerd here, anything military and naval, old furniture, work wear especially jackets, nautical signs, flags, and buttons.
How many pairs do you have in your private collection?
Around the 60-70 mark, a mix of old and new.
Which pair are you most proud of?
A pair of Levi’s 1966 originals or my Aika’s that I did the product development on with RLOOM from Osaka.
Are there any up-coming or unknown brands that you think are worth looking into?
At Last & Co and Orslow, neither are new but still relatively unknown.
Words by Andy Watson & Thomas Bojer.