The name Orgueil may be unfamiliar to you, but their denim heritage is about as old as it comes in Japan. The brand is a branch of “Osaka Five” member Studio D’Artisan, and Orgueil has been kicking around for a few years now and become a favorite of magazines in Japan like Clutch. Canadian retailer Tate + Yoko were first to carry them outside of Japan, followed by Blue in Green in the United States. Now they’ve been picked up by Context Clothing and multiple denim stores throughout Europe.
I had been fascinated with Orgueil’s offerings for quite some time and purchased a shirt of theirs last fall through Blue In Green. The Tailor Jean was originally offered in a natural indigo model which sold for noticeably more dough and a lighter overall color. This whet my appetite to try their denim, so I pounced on the opportunity to acquire the pure indigo model when writing our guide to Japanese retailer Rakuten this spring.
Since their arrival, I’ve worn them intermittently over four months (mostly due to the heat constraints) and now it’s time to give the masses some feedback. I’ll tell you right now: these might be my favorite jean ever.
- Name: Orgueil Pure Indigo Tailored Jeans (OR-65, OR-1001)
- Fabric: 100% Zimbabwe Cotton, Milled by Studio D’Artisan
- Weight: 13 oz.
- Fit: Straight
- Unique Features:
- Belt Loops tucked in to waistband
- High coin pocket with selvedge detail
- Button Fly with flared two-button top
- Deer Leather Patch
- Natural Coconut Buttons
- Run off chainstitch
- Available for $299 at Context Clothing
The Tailor Jeans are full of a plethora of details inspired by workwear and tailoring from the 30s and 40s. Upon first look, they immediately draw your eye to the unique construction of the crotch-riveted fly. Rather than being straight up and down, the top of the fly flares to the side. In the back, it flares to the opposite direction to two-button fastening at the waist, typically indicative of a trouser. It’s flashy yet refined, plus it helps keep the waistband nice and straight.
If that doesn’t grab you, then chances are the buttons did. Constructed out of coconut, they are full of various shades of brown. One might be a deep chocolate color while the next a golden honey. The same buttons can be found inside the waistband for suspenders.
Another nice touch regarding these buttons is the fact that none of the thread used to stitch them down is visible on the other side of the denim. This means they were either stitched on prior to the fly and waist being folded and stitched down themselves or stitched by hand afterwards. It looks really sharp. But considering the amount of stress and pull on these buttons, it would certainly make reattaching more difficult if one falls off. Fortunately, the stitching is over-engineered, which gives me confidence for the long haul.
The front of the jean has a coin pocket with exposed copper rivets, trimmed with selvedge and raised out of the right front pocket, settled in the middle of the waistband. Its higher placement gives it a more turn of the century look, where it might have been used instead for a pocket watch.
Selvedge coin pockets are old news by now and often serve as a deal breaker for some, including myself. This is an exception; it works considering the details found elsewhere and for one reason or another it simply fits.
Flipping over to the seat of the jean, we are treated to a cinch back and rounded pockets fastened with exposed rivets. The cinch back is actually functional and handy, while the pockets are roomy set wide from each other. The leather patch, meanwhile, features the brand’s mascot “Mr. Elmwoods”–a very dapper looking tailor–set in an antique-style brand guarantee.
Last but not least, we bring our eyes to the stitching and the hem. All of the stitching is done in an off-white thread and double stitch construction. While the inseam is serged, the stitching is immaculately consistent and features a high stitch-per-inch count.
At the hem, the chainstitch runs off the cuff akin to the run-off featured on many Japanese button-down shirts. It’s another novel little idiosyncrasy Orgueil put on their pant and something I hadn’t seen prior. It’s tied off to prevent unravelling, but one must ask, will it unravel easier than your normal hem? Time will tell.
Orgueil only offers these in one-wash so it’s difficult to gather how they compare to standard raw offerings. I’ve never personally owned a normal pair of one-wash before so I have nothing on hand to compare it against. With that said, these have an extremely soft hand with zero nep or slub.
The denim is still quite hairy, but there was almost no crispness to them at all to start and they’ve only gotten softer. This, combined with the lighter 13oz. weight of the denim, helps the denim drape very well. I’ve found that they’ve been less prone to knee bagging and think this is due to the fabric being less stiff at the start.
The warp was dyed to a deep blue with pure indigo. Upon closer inspection, the coloring is inconsistent, shifting shades intermittently in a very appealing fashion. The weft was left natural or antiqued. From afar there’s has almost a marled look to the overall coloring; the weft poking through heavier in certain areas while emphasizing the warp in others. The color is staying quite a bit longer than faster faders such as Oni and Pure Blue Japan. I don’t know what the fading will look like when it happens, but when it does finally kick, I’m anticipating a nice vintage look, especially since I don’t plan on going too heavy on the contrast for these (Note: they still have not been washed).
The fit is somewhere between a traditional straight fit and a slim. I went true to size and was very happy that I did. At the waist, it’s about an inch or so bigger than the jean size. It’s not overly snug there, the rest of the top block fits well and there is very little flaring below the knee. As a shorter guy, this is a rare result for a jean without tapering.
The biggest deal breaker on this jean for some might lay in the front and rear rise. The front, in particular, is remarkably low for a jean this retro-inspired. The rear is more of a standard middle rise, which can create some awkward sagging in the back when not wearing suspenders or a belt. Fortunately, the cinch-back will keeps things in place so make sure to use it.
One last note for any taller gentlemen, you’ll likely be exposing some ankle because these guys come with a 33″ inseam length from the get-go.
Orgueil (pronounce “uhr-geuy”) is a French word meaning for pride, arrogance, or vanity. It’s certainly this denim’s namesake because they’ve littered the Tailor Jeans with accoutrements that aren’t quite necessary, but show off a level a craftsmanship that many brands can’t or don’t match.
Beyond that, I’ve found the jeans to be incredibly versatile. I’ve dressed them casually like any other jean, rocking sneakers or boots, shirt untucked and no-one the wiser to the details. Then I’ve pulled out some snazzier duds and I can’t help feeling a little more elegant with these guys on. They’re extremely comfortable, fit well without infringing movement and surprising feel like they’re going to last longer than some of my heavier duty pairs.
Selvedge denim brands these days tend to typecast themselves into a handful of categories. Either you’re strictly reproducing the jeans of ebullient yore; constructing a clean, minimalist aesthetic with emphasis on the details; or you’re going nuts with Frankenstein jeans with 3 selvedge lines or rainbow-cores.
Orgueil’s Pure Indigo Tailor Jeans, take their cue from modern fits but model style elements from the 1920s and 1930s. This is a very versatile denim that can be worn to meet the desired aesthetic for the day. I wouldn’t recommend them for someone looking for fast fading, but for anyone who is more patient, you’ll be getting a jean that stands out in the collection.