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Jomon ... Great denim ... But - Page 2

post #16 of 62
Good points Geowu, and I'll add that while they do value the imperfections, they value the natural, historical and traditional imperfections. 45rpm Jomons are hand-made, and are hand rope-dyed with indigo many times (this is why the price is so high, basically). So while they accept , and appreciate hte imperfections that the vintage machinery causes, the attention to detail in the hardware, the hand-felled inseams, and the stylistic intricacies (even the stitching on the back pockets is seriously unique, as simple as it may be) is second to none. Consider this: Rag&Bone and 5EP jeans, which are American brands and their first market is domestic, are sold around $275-$325 per pair. They are made with synthetic (although a wonderful color) indigo. Consider Jomons on that same level - perfection in workmanship, but with hand, rope-dyed natural indigo. Does the process warrant a premium of $300? Truthfully, I cannot answer that. But most natural indigo jeans that are dyed with such care and so many dips cost at least $500.
post #17 of 62
Well, this topic had been brought up before.
Quote:
This is exactly the problem that I have with a lot of posts on the Men's Clothing forum that I always end up arguing with - screw durability and stitching quality. All upscale unwashed jeans are going to be durable to a higher degree, so just go with what looks best.
post #18 of 62
The peculiar cycles of life shall never fail to amuse me. Once upon a time white bread was the most expensive, since refined flour was harder to make. With the advent of industrial-agricultural complexes, it is now cheaper, and 'Organic', usually darker bread is the most expensive and 'elite' type eaten by those who shop at Whole Foods(myself included).

I suppose everything is priced at what the market will bear.
post #19 of 62
Thread Starter 
Brian and Geowu - Thanks a lot. I can accept the Japanese philosophy you describe as regards reproduction of even imperfections. But ... I couldn't live with it. I guess you could say that trimming loose threads has become somewhat of my cross to bear. Since I do so much of it it really stands out to me when others don't. Thank you again for your comprehensive explanation.
post #20 of 62
You've got a nice business! I like all the zimmerli variety you have.
post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geowu
Haha...
But, here's a concept for you to think about: Japanese and orientals value imperfection more than perfection, or, in better words, for them imperfection is perfection. Their aesthetic is about imperfection. As Lao Tzu said, "to be perfect, be imperfect".

I think it might be a wee bit of a generalization to suggest that all Japanese value imperfection more than perfection, and suggest that this aesthetic is limited to certain subcultures, such as the denim heads.

Of course the wabi/sabi aesthetic values the imperfect or incomplete as beauty, but I suspect that if you were to ask 100 random Japanese people today whether they would prefer the Mercedes Benz with the scratch on the drivers' side door or the one whose tires had never touched the pavement, the necktie with the pulled thread or the one with no obvious irregularities, the newly built house or the one that has had former owners, the vast majority would prefer the former.

There is a reason why sales staff at most upscale "second hand" shops and at the John Lobb shop in Marunouchi both wear white cotton gloves when handling merchandise. It is because they want the items they sell to be as pristine as possible.

Bic
post #22 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
It's really not that simple. Also consider that the price for them is $600 or less in Japan, so that would be a better point for comparison.

Anyone know if there is a Japan store online to get Jomon's for $600? Thanks
post #23 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgroup
Anyone know if there is a Japan store online to get Jomon's for $600? Thanks
Nope. Theyre sold out on 45rpms site. I dont know where else they are sold, but I doubt you'll save any money by trying to find a middle man to ship them to you.
post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bic Pentameter
Of course the wabi/sabi aesthetic values the imperfect or incomplete as beauty, but I suspect that if you were to ask 100 random Japanese people today whether they would prefer the Mercedes Benz with the scratch on the drivers' side door or the one whose tires had never touched the pavement, the necktie with the pulled thread or the one with no obvious irregularities, the newly built house or the one that has had former owners, the vast majority would prefer the former.
Those aren't really imperfections though, they're 'breaks,' for lack of a better term. Compare the new Mercedes to a hand-built Rolls, or the perfect Hermes tie to a slubby Mulberrywood. There's a parallel in the ME, with a religious element (only God can be perfect). Also, the individual isn't always a representative of the culture as a whole

I'm not going to make a claim to expertise here, just throwing in my anthropological $.02. This is a great thread, by the way.
post #25 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiger02
Those aren't really imperfections though, they're 'breaks,' for lack of a better term. Compare the new Mercedes to a hand-built Rolls, or the perfect Hermes tie to a slubby Mulberrywood. There's a parallel in the ME, with a religious element (only God can be perfect). Also, the individual isn't always a representative of the culture as a whole

I'm not going to make a claim to expertise here, just throwing in my anthropological $.02. This is a great thread, by the way.

Fair enough. My examples are post-manufacture flaws, whereas slubs could be seen as part of the "coolness of the manfuacturing process." I think the handbuilt Rolls would be more sought after than the new Mercedes, but still imagine some (many?) Japanese people complaining if the colors of the pieces of the leather seats were not 100% uniform, or if there was a difference in the width of the joint seams.

Samurai jeans have a tag in which it is explained (in Japanese) that the slubs are a product of manufacture and should not be seen as defects. I submit that this type of disclaimer wouldn't be needed if the culture of seeing imperfection as perfection is as pervasive as some suggest.

Anthropology classes at Western universities often point to purposefully miss-shapen tea cups to support the notion that "imperfect is perfect." Those same classes ignore the prices Japanese housewives pay for boxes of 8 perfect apples or strawberries, each of which to the naked eye is identical to the other, and none of which has the smallest blemish of any sort.

I have two Mulberrywood ties, and love them both. Still, I think that the average Japanese salary man would probably prefer a perfect Hermes-like tie to a slubby Mulberrywood one. (No offense, David.)


Bic
post #26 of 62
"tradition aside, chainstitched seams don't hold a candle to lockstitched ones, for chainstitches unravel whereas lockstitches do not. Appearance you might claim ... but the exterior appearance of a lockstitch is the same as that of a chainstitch. It is merely a matter of longevity and strength which makes the lockstitch a better choice."

The chainstitching used on jeans is called a 'Double lockstitch' and it certainly does 'hold a candle' to single lockstitching.

It is strong, flexible and doesn't unravel that easily. Jeans are probably the most well tested working garments in human history, and chainstitching commonly features on the seams that take the brunt of the stress: the front & back rise, yoke and waistband. It's no coincidence that in the places that require the most longevity and strength - it's chainstitching that's the stitch of choice.

If chainstitching was indeed inferior, it would have been weeded out in the evolution of jeans making - especially as the consumption of sewing thread is far higher than single lockstitching.

Additionally, there were the untrimmed raw edges on the insides of the patch (rear) pockets. These pockets are attached by turning under the fabric edge and sewing them atop the denim. A better maker would either overcast these hidden raw edges with what is called an overlock (or serge) stitch to prevent the cloth from unravelling ...

Back patch pockets are never overlocked in jeansmaking - it's deemed unecessary due to the twin stitching that holds the pockets in place. Also, apart from the cost (which in 45's case is no object), overlocking the patch pocket may add some more room for error in the pocket shape.
Some makers line or half-line the patch pockets. I agree that the loose threads could have been trimmed off though.

But none of those considerations justify dumping an $800 garment on the counter completely creased, wrinkled, and virtually rolled up into a ball. If ironing is mistreatment of the denim, so be it. That does not prevent the maker from drying their prewashed jeans by laying them flat on a table rather than permitting them to dry in this jumbled state and calling it, as I was told, "character".

I like 'em crinkly

Aside from that, for $817, you have the perfect right to expect the apogee of jeans. There's always a market for things simply because they are the most expensive.

I guess it's all about choice. Shucking a plate of oysters straight out of the sea maybe cheaper and better than tucking into a lavishly prepared dish of them in Michelin starred restaurant, but having the choice is good.

And with 800 bucks there's a lot of denim out there
post #27 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian SD
Heh. Standards for creating denim have gotten worse over time. The old machinery and standards are much higher than the newer stuff. It's not like making wool, where technology just keeps getting better and wool from one year ago thats the same quality as 10 years ago is much cheaper.

Traditional/older style denim is getting more expensive, not less.

Not sure about that. If you're comparing mills in the last 10 years, then I think things have got better. A lot better.

Modern mills and laundries are at least cleaning up their waste products and removing them - instead of dumping them in rivers as was the common practice until recently.

Working conditions, from cotton picking, to dyeing, to weaving are much improved also. Mills are no longer 'dark, satanic'

I'm not sure that denim made 100 years ago was better than the denim of today either. They just wanted a cheap, hard wearing, colourfast textile for work garments.
post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by ringring
I'm not sure that denim made 100 years ago was better than the denim of today either. They just wanted a cheap, hard wearing, colourfast textile for work garments.

It's hard to express agreement or disagreement in this regard, because I understand what you're saying, but at the same time disagree to some extent.

What I was referring to in usage of vintage machinery, etc. is that as time goes by, a lot of the old traditions that are there to hold up the jeans and keep them the hard wearing, colorfast workwear that they are, were set aside to lower production costs. Why else would Open-ended denim - which is obviously inferior in both texture, durability and simple aesthetic - even exist? If they had open-ended denim in the early 1900s, do you think people would buy jeans? I would not think so.. they'd fray and rip in a week down in the mineshafts.

Also, referring to selvage jeans, it is more labor intensive to sew selvage jeans because it requires that the denim be cut on the edge and in a straight line, making quality control more difficult. This is just speculation however, I really can't be sure and I'm not claiming infallability on this one.

I'm not saying that *all* denim nowadays is inferior to *all* denim of the 50s and 60s, and I'd wager that modern day premium denim is worlds better than that from the past. However, comparing the common jeans (Lee, Levi's Wrangler) from the earlier days with the same common jeans of modern times, would you not think that production standards have been seriously lowered? Why else would stitch-for-stitch reproductions of the classics cost upwards of $150?

I'm glad that working conditions in mills have improved, and of course I'm always excited to read your posts ringring.
post #29 of 62
"What I was referring to in usage of vintage machinery, etc. is that as time goes by, a lot of the old traditions that are there to hold up the jeans and keep them the hard wearing, colorfast workwear that they are, were set aside to lower production costs."

Inefficiency, doesn't always equate to high quality. Anyway, unless one has been privvy to both old and new ways of making denim, or exposed to a lot of vintage and new denim, then it's hard to judge one above the other. You'd have to be pretty old for a start.

For example, even if you were familiar with denim production during the 50s, you'd have to be in your 70's now to be able to compare it with modern mills.

"If they had open-ended denim in the early 1900s, do you think people would buy jeans? I would not think so.. they'd fray and rip in a week down in the mineshafts."

I think you're underestimating Open End denim. When it was at it's peak, people were still buying it as workwear. I've seen many OE jeans that have been worn and washed every week for years (like 10 years), and have seen many expensive, modern ring-ring jeans that have holes after 6 months of wear (nowhere near a mineshaft either).

Besides, OE is still a part of denim history and the evolution of jeans. I know an elderly gentleman, who I would consider a true denim expert, who told me that OE machinery should be preserved, in time, he speculated it may come back, just as selvedge has.

"referring to selvage jeans, it is more labor intensive to sew selvage jeans because it requires that the denim be cut on the edge and in a straight line, making quality control more difficult. "

No it's not more labour intensive at all, and has no effect on QC. Selvedge was made in those narrow widths because it was simply the must efficient use of fabric for mens jeans. You laid the legs at the selvedge sides and the waistband and pockets in the middle of the fabric. Not much wastage.

However, denim isn't only about straight legged pants these days - so what is effecient in terms of pattern laying for straight-leg jeans, isn't for skirts, flares and the plethora of denim styles on the modern market.

"However, comparing the common jeans (Lee, Levi's Wrangler) from the earlier days with the same common jeans of modern times, would you not think that production standards have been seriously lowered? Why else would stitch-for-stitch reproductions of the classics cost upwards of $150?"

Well many don't cost that much (Uniqlo), and the price that people are prepared to pay retail, does not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the jeans.

Some of the good repros cost a lot due to:

Small quantities made, both in terms of fabric and the actual jeans - nowhere on the scale of Levi's & Lee etc.
People are prepared to pay more.
Some may really be far better quality than vintage jeans (eg. I seriously doubt old Levi's were dipped 24 times).
Cleaning up mills and laundries cost. Dumping dirty water into rivers cost nothing.
In previous eras, there may have been use of slave/child/abusive labour.
post #30 of 62
Sorry Brian, but I've got to agree with all of ringring's points here, especially the highlighted part at the end of the quote (my highlighting). There is really nothing particularly special about ringspun yarn compared to open ended yarn, for the most part. What makes denim durable has much more to do with the quality of the fibers used to make the yarn.

My friggin' 5EPs and Nudies are so damn expensive primarily because the market can bear it. A one rinse wash is a $1 wash. Any laundry can do it. And yes, in some cases, the good repros are probably better than the originals... But in general, increased cost due to limited production, and more importantly, because idiots like ourselves are willing to pay the prices, are what make a pair of Nudie jeans $265 or $399 (I think that's the current price for the Veggie indigo RRs, right?

Edited: Brian corrected my stupid mistake in the next post already

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringring
"What I was referring to in usage of vintage machinery, etc. is that as time goes by, a lot of the old traditions that are there to hold up the jeans and keep them the hard wearing, colorfast workwear that they are, were set aside to lower production costs."

Inefficiency, doesn't always equate to high quality. Anyway, unless one has been privvy to both old and new ways of making denim, or exposed to a lot of vintage and new denim, then it's hard to judge one above the other. You'd have to be pretty old for a start.

For example, even if you were familiar with denim production during the 50s, you'd have to be in your 70's now to be able to compare it with modern mills.

"If they had open-ended denim in the early 1900s, do you think people would buy jeans? I would not think so.. they'd fray and rip in a week down in the mineshafts."

I think you're underestimating Open End denim. When it was at it's peak, people were still buying it as workwear. I've seen many OE jeans that have been worn and washed every week for years (like 10 years), and have seen many expensive, modern ring-ring jeans that have holes after 6 months of wear (nowhere near a mineshaft either).

Besides, OE is still a part of denim history and the evolution of jeans. I know an elderly gentleman, who I would consider a true denim expert, who told me that OE machinery should be preserved, in time, he speculated it may come back, just as selvedge has.

"referring to selvage jeans, it is more labor intensive to sew selvage jeans because it requires that the denim be cut on the edge and in a straight line, making quality control more difficult. "

No it's not more labour intensive at all, and has no effect on QC. Selvedge was made in those narrow widths because it was simply the must efficient use of fabric for mens jeans. You laid the legs at the selvedge sides and the waistband and pockets in the middle of the fabric. Not much wastage.

However, denim isn't only about straight legged pants these days - so what is effecient in terms of pattern laying for straight-leg jeans, isn't for skirts, flares and the plethora of denim styles on the modern market.

"However, comparing the common jeans (Lee, Levi's Wrangler) from the earlier days with the same common jeans of modern times, would you not think that production standards have been seriously lowered? Why else would stitch-for-stitch reproductions of the classics cost upwards of $150?"

Well many don't cost that much (Uniqlo), and the price that people are prepared to pay retail, does not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the jeans.

Some of the good repros cost a lot due to:

Small quantities made, both in terms of fabric and the actual jeans - nowhere on the scale of Levi's & Lee etc.
People are prepared to pay more.

Some may really be far better quality than vintage jeans (eg. I seriously doubt old Levi's were dipped 24 times).
Cleaning up mills and laundries cost. Dumping dirty water into rivers cost nothing.
In previous eras, there may have been use of slave/child/abusive labour.

.
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