There are still some yet to be discovered brands hidden in Japan. The reasons are various: patent related issues, no sales force, the language barrier or just the genuine effort to keep it local.
In the case of Burgus+, Hinoya’s very own label, it’s the will to make sure every single aspect of the brand, including its growth, is taken care of properly. Osamu Taniguchi, in charge of Product Planning & Development, sat down with us and explained what that means.
Heddels: Could you introduce the brand to us?
Osamu Taniguchi: Burgus+ started in 1997. We’ve been mostly making bottoms, with a strong focus on jeans. Our goal is to make the ultimate basics. We’re not a replica brand: we do keep the high standards that can be found in yesterday’s clothes but we propose more contemporary fits that we genuinely find cool. Since the beginnings the brand has progressed a lot and we’re now making shirts, T-shirts, and outerwear as well.
RD: Tell us more about your denim line.
OT: We carry around 10 different models. They’re divided into two lines: a high-end vintage inspired line, and a basic line. The vintage inspired line proposes only a straight cut, while the basic line carries all fits.
RD: What differentiates you guys from other makers?
OT: Well we are all about the details, with absolutely no compromise. At first sight our products might look like any other 5 pocket jeans, but when you wear them you’ll realize that not only are they very comfortable, but also durable, and they fade amazingly. So really, we don’t have models that each individually have one particular twist that stands out. They’re all made with the same attention paid to every single aspect of the product.
RD: Can you explain us more about the creative process behind the brand?
OT: We conceive our jeans with two different approaches at the same time. Meaning we keep a sort of vintage eye in terms of overall aspect, fabric and fading quality; but we also keep a realistic, contemporary eye in terms of fits. For instance, aspects such as the button rivets or the back patch keep a vintage authentic feel while the pattern work or the sizing is conceived according to current standards.
RD: Can you briefly explain the production process?
OT: It varies depending on the model, but for instance if you take our vintage inspired line, we get our natural indigo from India, our cotton from the US, and the spinning is done in Kyushu. Naturally we work closely with the spinning team so they know what sort of slubbiness we’re looking for. Like, I’m wearing the 968 model right now, whose slub was inspired from the Levi’s 1966 model. And like I said the thread is then died with the natural indigo we import from India. The rest of the production process all happens in Okayama. Everything is made in Japan.
RD: You told us that Burgus+ is the top-selling brand at Hinoya, could you explain why and also let us know what is the top selling model?
OT: Basically what I told you earlier about the brand is thoroughly understood by our staff. We explain all that to them and they understand what the brand is about. Also like you’ve noticed, they all love denim, and naturally selling what you like makes the job easier. About our top-sellers, in terms of unit you’ve got the 770, while our cash cow is the 955 from our high-end line.
RD: What’s your presence abroad like at the moment? Have you started selling outside of Japan?
OT: We do sell abroad. We’ve started wholesaling in 2013 and are distributed at three different locations: Hickoree’s from Brooklyn, USA; Hide and Seek from Hong Kong and finally Noclaim from South Korea. The feedback we’ve received so far is excellent as we’ve already built a loyal customer base. The sell-through rate is good as well.
RD: Anything you want to add?
OT: To be honest with you, I’m personally in a situation where I just can’t compromise on anything. I’ve worked at Levi’s, now at Hinoya; I’ve been in places that make and sell jeans, so if I start making shitty stuff, I will never forgive myself. I’m committed to making good jeans with absolutely no compromise. I’m very confident in the products we make and we can rival with other makers without a doubt.
Make sure to drop by Hinoya in Ueno and check out Burgus Plus. If you’re not in Japan you can go to their official website and reach out to them, or buy from the Rakuten store. Otherwise if you happen to be on the East Coast, in Korea or in Hong Kong, you can get Burgus Plus from the stores we listed above.
All photos by Yuri Matsuoka.