For those who missed the first instalment earlier last week, we’re doing a series of reports from the expansive and denim-loving Bread & Butter tradeshow in Berlin. This second piece takes a look at some of the Japanese brands who made their presence felt with excellent showcases, as well as looking at one of the American brands on show. With over 500 brands, it was a challenge to choose just a few to highlight, but we think those included have held up their end with excellent and unique offerings.
We had the chance to talk with Tony Patella, one of the founders of Tellason at his booth briefly about his denim line. Through our conversation, his conviction and enthusiasm are contagious, as is the emphasis he places over and over on quality when talking about durable goods.
The philosophy behind the brand points to his beliefs that for a product to be worth purchasing it should be conceived and designed to last a long period of time. Consumerism is taking the quality standards to a lower level in the modern market place and they believe people tend to buy products that will be cheaper even if they last last short periods of time.
Tellason looks to the revival of the attitude of earlier days, when products were bought to last. At Bread & Butter they were presenting the mainline Tellason collection alongside a few novelties including a 10.5 oz. denim shirt, a jacket made together with the New York based store Palmer Trading Co, Japanese corduroys on their Ladbroke Grove fit and a surprise for the ladies that will be emerging into shops this coming August.
Momotaro and Japan Blue Jeans
Katsu Manabe from the Overseas Division of Japan Blue Group showed us around the current and the forthcoming collections from Momotaro and Japan Blue Jeans. Like every new collection, there were many interesting additions to the traditional offerings for both brands there to be seen. Interestingly for two brands based strongly in denim, the additions included a wide variety of non-denim pieces including t-shirts, button downs, pants and jackets.
In their more familiar denim realm, Momotaro is busy preparing a few new cuts that are designed meet the demands of modern denim fans. While these cuts are mostly still on the design table, not quite yet ready to be sent to the sewing floors yet, we do know that most will be using the high quality Rampuya denim that Momotaro is well known for. These will keep the traditional ability of the brand’s denim to resist fading for a strikingly long time, producing exceptional fades when at long last the contrast does show through.
Pure Blue Japan
Stepping into the booth of Pure Blue Japan was a unique experience. Sui generis as a brand, PBJ focussed heavily around their low-tension shuttle loomed, imperfect, one of a kind rough and slubby denims in their booth. For many Japanese denim purists, this fabric is the holy grail of denim and is a real speciality of PBJ. That said, slubbiness isn’t everything they have to offer, as there were some examples on show of the dyeing done on the denim with pure, natural indigo.
Also on exhibition were a few 3D washings, showing the potential this naturally dyed fabric has. Beyond the denim, there were many indigo dyed t-shirts and long sleeve button downs as part of the exclusive garment selection. This booth also held one of the highlights of Bread and Butter, the AI-001, a 17 oz denim which Ken-Ichi Iwaya, PBJ‘s CEO describes with pleasure as one of a kind, having been hand dyed with natural indigo in Tokushima, Japan.
Dry Bones haven’t been a traditional presenter at Bread & Butter, in fact this was one of the first appearances by the Japanese brand in a European exhibition. This may surprise some, as they’ve been a stalwart in the field of Japanese Americana reproduction for the last 20 years, taking influence not just from traditioanl Americana sources but also a strong 40’s and 50’s rock influence.
They’d brought with them a striking collection of Hawaiian shirts, denim overalls, 40’s cuts and Type I and II denim jackets to show, giving viewers a glimpse into their take on the rockabilly era. If the collection and the response of show-goers to it was any indication, this will not be the last time we see them in Europe.