Rivet & Hide - Recognising Mastery in Japanese Denim - Sponsored by Mazda
I was recently invited to visit London's Rivet & Hide to find out more about Japanese craftsmanship in the production of quality denim from the store's founder and owner, Danny Hodgson. One of London's leading shops for denim and other Japanese and British-made goods, Rivet & Hide is a treasure trove of high quality casual wear selling names such as Iron Heart, Pure Blue Japan and The Flat Head from Japan, Hiut Denim from Wales and Dawson Denim from England (links below).
The Japanese denim industry is in general small scale, the cloth being woven in small workshops on vintage Japanese-made looms which weave narrow lengths of cloth 80cm wide with a selvedge that's used in the construction of the jeans, the contrasting edge giving interest to the seams. The workers in the denim workshops often have years of experience, bringing long-acquired skills to the production process, making it a craft rather than mass production.
Woven generally with an indigo warp and undyed weft, the denim acquires a highly textured and irregular finish, much prized by denim aficionados who prefer the interest this gives over the more regular finish of denim woven on more modern and sophisticated looms.
Rivet & Hide's roots lie in Danny Hodgson's passion for denim and the skills that lie behind its manufacture. He obviously loves the appearance of the cloth, how it ages with use and talks knowledgeably and in detail about its manufacture in the UK and Japan.
The Japanese love affair with denim started with vintage US clothing taken back to Japan where the manufacture of denim was adapted and made into a skilled art by Japanese crafts people who appreciated the unique creative properties of the cloth.
Most denim lovers prefer their cloth 'raw', that is unwashed. In its loom state it is neither washed nor steamed or stretched, as 'sanforized' it is stretched and steamed, but the subsequent changes to the appearance of the cloth occur during wear and are down to the owner. Often owners won't wash their jeans until a patina of use has appeared. This may sound unpleasant, but a quick blast in a freezer or airing them in the fresh air keeps them sanitised until the first wash once they're broken in. The effort is worthwhile and highly valued jeans will have the marks of mobile phones on the pockets and every crease will reflect the owner's shape and the history of his or her wear of the jeans.
This feature is sponsored by Japanese car company, Mazda who, like me, are inspired by the craftsmanship that goes into making any product, whether it be a Japanese car or a length of denim cloth.
Here on the blog I often draw parallels between the craftsmanship required in industries like cloth, leather and knitwear production with the manufacture of items like watches, cars and jewellery. The products may be diverse, but the skills, years of experience and pride in making things are the same in each factory.
It doesn't matter what products are being made; skills, pride and experience are the same and this is recognised by Mazda who are launching an all-new Mazda3 which embodies these elements of Japanese production from the sleek design to the SKYACTIV engines and technology. In the image below a Mazda worker shows some of the skills and experience required to prepare the clay model that will form the shape of a new model.
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April 17, 2019 at 06:09PM