When we started thinking seriously about our first item – the shirt, Nason #1 – we knew we wanted one of the styles to be made in Japanese denim.
Mel first came across this fabric during a visit to Manchester and saw its potential for a shirt that would be smart without being too stuffy, and which is suitable for a variety of occasions.
Japanese denim has a rich history. It was first created in the early 1970s in the small town of Kojima in the Okayama prefecture, Southern Honshu. The company behind it – Kurabo – produced something starkly different to the US-made denim which had grown in popularity after World War II, using old looms and natural indigo dyes to create a distinctive ‘selvedge’ fabric. Selvedge, or ‘raw’, denim is commonly accepted as the best quality due to the closeness of the weave, which creates a clean edge that doesn’t unravel.
It feels somehow right that a nation which prizes craftsmanship so highly should be home to the best examples of what is an otherwise everyday fabric. Japan is the place to which every discerning denim aficionado heads. It’s the birthplace of world famous denim brands like Momotaro, Evisu, Tanuki and the godfather of Japanese denim, Big John, and there’s even a ‘Jeans Street’ in the small port town of Kojima where 38 specialist denim shops are huddled, and references to the material are everywhere.
So it was the only place we wanted to look when we were sourcing the denim for Nason #1.
We found our denim in the city of Ibara, Okayama, from a producer using antique shuttle looms and traditional indigo dying techniques which we think creates a unique quality and look in the material. Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with the fabric and working towards two styles – fitted and semi-fitted – that we’re happy with, and focusing on details like collar shape, thread colour and buttons. As anyone who has owned a pair of jeans knows, denim changes as it ages. But even after multiple test washes we’ve found that the beautiful indigo hue of our material is maintained.
Our intention is to create garments that are timeless, use the very best material, and where every detail has been considered. Nason #1 does just that. We will also have silk and cotton variations, created with the same commitment and care, and we can’t wait to share them with you soon.