Gavin Smith

Garage Denim - Kibata, the oldest of old school, where authenticity is taught as standard

Variety and choice are not things that a customer lacks when looking for a new pair of jeans these days, it seems that every week a company is coming out with a new or innovative denim that has features even more special than the last, as many of us denim lovers are a bit geeky about our denim (I know this because I am one of the worst), this is a dream scenario, but what if you want to go back to basics?

In a denim sense back to basics means a number of things but at the beginning it means starting with unbleached cotton. Most raw cotton used to make denim is bleached as white as possibly to allow the fibres to more easily take up the indigo, this gives us the rich deep blue that so many jeans are when new, jeans were not always made this way though. The first denims were made with a raw unbleached cotton, this cotton has a slightly cream coloured look about it which effects the shade and take up of indigo, which in turn effects how it wears.

Another feature of original denim was that it was loom state, or as the Japanese call it "Kibata". This is denim that it totally untreated after the weaving process, no wash, no sanforising, no physical or chemical treatments at all. This denim shrinks to the wearers body and forms like no other, it is made over-sized to compensate for this.

It is after the first hot soak or wash of Trophy's "Kibata" Garage denim that its true magic is revealed, what begins as a flat, smooth and hard denim suddenly comes to life. Like the formation of the volcanic islands upon which modern Japan was built, slubs runs and pulls rise from the once flat denim, texture replaces smoothness, depth of colour variation increases, in short it becomes an entirely different denim.

Now you have a new, rough denim in your hands and it becomes an entirely different wearing experience. The denim takes almost no time to show a thousand different subtle hues of blue, but much longer to fade with contrast. Thanks to the unbleached cotton what begins as electric blue then fades with an almost grey cast, faithful to how vintage jeans would fade.

To make this most authentic of denims into a solid, versatile jean with detailing you would expect from the brand, Trophy have added a few very nice touches. The slant pockets are unbelievable comfortable and functional, I am not exaggerating when I say that I wish all my jeans had slanted pockets now, it makes that so much more comfortable and easy to actually put things in. The Talon zipper is a great detail, I have been brought up on button flies, but the Talon zipper, made by Waldes Japan, is a fantastic differentiator. The cut is a very slightly narrowed standard straight cut, and the silhouette is very much of a "greaser" jean with a subtle hint of modernity.

In summary, when you tire of the new, the latest gleaming innovations, this years model with added glitz and processing, then it is time to retreat to a simpler time, and when you arrive in that simpler time this is the pair of jeans you should be wearing.