Known for their high-high quality denim made in America from premium Japanese fabric that retail at very reasonable prices, 3sixteen has in a few years conquered the world with their jeans. The brand has been picked up by leading European denim retailers such as VMC, Burg&Schild and Unionville with many more to come from the fall of 2013. At the last Bread & Butter founders Andrew Chen and Johan Lam had brought along a few news from over there.
Celebrating their 5th anniversary last Saturday, Burg&Schild officially launch their Black Collection comprised by four collaborations with four of their primary suppliers. Basically, the collection is an expression of the guys’ appreciation for black. They had been searching for black jeans and black logger boots without finding any and decided to makes something for themselves. Planning began about 8 months ago when Kay and Shane first got in contact with their suppliers.
For a long time I have dreamt about going to Japan. The fact that Japan is located on the other side of our planet and for me is a very exotic destination is one reason, but ignoring my passion for jeans would be lying for both myself and anybody who knows me. When my friend Henrik called one night and said, “let’s go to Tokyo,” I thought he was joking, but the seriousness in his voice was convincing. So, we booked a flight and on April 4th we landed at Narita, 4 hours delayed, but with high hopes and our pockets filled with yen.
The Danish market for high-end denim is made up of a small community of enthusiasts who often speak an incomprehensible language and dwells on the small and seemingly insignificant details about the products. A fact that is reflected in the number of shops that specialises in this niche. There is nothing wrong with that: Denmark is a small country and the buying criteria of most customers has long been focused around parameters such as price and brand rather than quality and craftsmanship. But this behaviour is currently changing. While we wait the abundant possibilities online in the virtual denim universe must do. This is a selection of some of the best.
When I visited Unionville and Sivletto in January, I actually spent almost four hours talking to Douglas, the younger of the Luhanko brothers. We talked about his shop, the Blue Highway brand, a little about his past, and why he loves denim. But all of that I’ve already covered in previous articles. What I haven’t really touched upon yet is his vast collection of old pieces of denim. More on that here.
This is Sivletto. A little island is a sea of mass consumers that was created for those who would prefer their jeans dry and high, their hair combed back with plenty of pomade, and Elvis on vinyl. Funny thing, try to spell “elvis” backwards and you’ll get “sivle;” that doesn’t really work for a store name, but throw in a double T and an O, and there you go; Sivletto!
In the overcrowded market of vintage denim of the 21st century, it is becoming increasing difficult for brands to make themselves noticeable. Pinpointing an overall tendency of the western consumer culture, many denim brands are downsizing and returning to the roots of the craftsmanship of making jeans. But very few are taking it to the extremes of the Blue Highway brand, where every pair is stitched by the two Luhanko brothers in their workshop located in the backroom of the Unionville store in Stockholm. This is the story of a very unique denim brand that makes every customer personally involved.
Spinning off from the review of Unionville, this little video shows you how the Luhanko boys hem a pair of jeans in their shop (please excuse my poor camera handling). Also, please note that this is a traditional lock stitch, if you want the chain stitch you’ll have to visit Sivletto and ask Big Freddy over there to do it for you. Here’s a picture of the final result:
Within only one single year, Unionville in Stockholm has become one of the most noteworthy denim retailers in Europe, and the shop is without a doubt the denim capital of Scandinavia. In December 2011, Unionville celebrated it’s 1 year birthday, but the road to success has not always been an easy ride. The secret is passion, and a whole lot of it. I’ve waited a long time to visit the store, and it fully met my expectations.
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.