Gavin Smith

Vintage reproduction has been a big thing in denim for some years now, the Levis LVC line recreated classic cuts of the 501 model throughout history, Japanese brands like Buzz Rickson and Real McCoys focus on recreating the minute details of period military and work wear, whereas brands such as Trophy focus on the motorcycle culture of a certain period.

I must confess that I have never really been a fan of the traditional 50’s style jean but with no real basis for feeling this way. I think that I, like probably many others, felt that the wide leg and anti fit seat was maybe not the most flattering of looks, after all we have seen the most popular cuts of the last few years are slimmer tapered cuts favoured by younger, less heroically built denim fiends.

I am neither slim nor young so I reasoned that perhaps it was time for me to put away my preconceptions and take a walk of the wild (one) side, with Jelados 55 cut denim.

The first things to tell you about the Jelado 55 jeans are that they are manufactured from an original pattern developed by Yohei Goto at Jelado to evoke the kind of jeans worn by the young people of the period. They are made from unsanforised 14oz denim which is woven at a low tension to create a denim full of character and loom chatter. The jeans are constructed with hidden rivets and stitched together with different coloured thread at different points to add to the overall character of the jeans.

Upon first removing the jeans from their packaging I almost felt as if my worst fears had been confirmed, they were indeed wide, really wide. I tried them on pre-soak and though I was instantly impressed by their quality I was also almost certain that they were completely not my style in the least.

I had been advised by Yohei Goto that the jeans should be machine washed and tumble dried to remove all shrinkage, being the veteran denim head that I am I completely ignored this advice and gave them a good old tub soak and line dry only to find that this did not remove all the shrinkage at all, and I should trust the manufacturer to know their own product, lesson learned.

After finally shrinking them the correct way I tried them on with some apprehension, I still remained to be convinced. My apprehension disappeared as I found that when properly shrunk the denim came alive, from being quite course and rough the denim became beautifully soft, with very subtle colour variation and a clearly visible white weft poking through at regular intervals. The cut remained loose and accurate to jeans you would see from the 1950’s, but no longer ridiculously so, if anything the cut is perhaps more flattering to we staunch fellows than the slim tapered silhouette favoured by today’s youth.

My observations after a couple of days wear are even more positive and surprising, even to me. The cut is very, very comfortable in fact maybe the most comfortable cut of denim I have ever worn, the slightly oversized rear pockets make them feel almost like a hybrid of jeans and work trousers, and I actually find myself really liking the silhouette. If you team this cut up with some substantial boots, a short cut/ boxy fitting work shirt and a slim fitting jacket with reasonably wide shoulders it gives an extremely flattering and slimming aesthetic, which is almost counter-intuitive to the cut.

In summary I find that my prejudices have been without basis and I am a firm convert to the anti-fit cut of the 55 style. They are a jean and a style which I could wear daily and feel very comfortable whilst doing so.