Once I was able to recover from discovering jeans and denim were not American originals, but a fabric originally called serge, serge de Nimes, or denim produced in Nimes France by a Frenchman named Jean Fustian, I nevertheless chose to believe only in the romance of the American denim story. Americas jean, a utilitarian product worn exclusively by the miners of the California gold rush to Marlon Brando and James Dean wearing them and becoming a symbol of American cool. Today, an enduring sense of purpose for your jean, sure, just cool. May I introduce the Steven Giles choice for cool, Adriano Goldschmied.
30 years before the AG Jeans brand was born, Adriano Goldschmied was just dipping his toes into the industry — applying brand new wash schemes to the then-dark and raw jeans that saturated the market in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. After establishing himself as the “godfather of denim” through decades of design, Goldschmied set out to create his own namesake.
Around the same time that Adriano Goldschmied was finding commercial success, Yul Ku and his family were freshly emigrated from South Korea to the United States and established a sewing business in 1977 United States. A few years later, with just five single needle sewing machines and $3,000, Ku started his company, which would later become the renowned Koos Manufacturing, Inc by 1985.
Backed by years of manufacturing precision and expertise, Ku quickly became the man responsible for the successes of household names like Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Lucky Brand, Buckle, J. Crew, and the Gap. But after spending the bulk of his resources helping other brands, Ku felt it was time to emerge onto the denim scene with his own vision and a higher set of standards.
In 2000, the two powerhouses of the denim industry brought their visions together and founded AG Jeans in Los Angeles, California. Just two years after its establishment, AG Jeans went on to win Sportswear International’s Best Women’s Jeans Award for three consecutive years– a glimpse of what AG Jeans would accomplish in the coming years.
3 Pillars of AG
To design a product that is rooted in denim, craftsmanship, fit, and fabric innovation.
To implement a process that is vertically integrated, eco-inspired, transparent in its practice, and radical in its production.
To connect with individuals that value timeless design and modern jeans wear with a spirited, confident attitude.
There are some who would suggest that my ventures to NY are motivated not by work, but by my affinity for Irish Pubs. Could be true, but on one of my fashion forays I found myself not just entertained by good Irishmen extolling the virtues of their architecture, literature, music, rugby and of course, spirits, but fashion? It was suggested I should take a look at a rather demure brand of sweater…and, the grand irony, this brand of knit, offered by an Italian. Anyway, I met my friend Michal Sestak, a man of impeccable Italian style, one of the more charming gentlemen in our industry. I reviewed the line, was immediately smitten by the quality, but moreover the provincial charm. Fifteen years later, I invite you to experience Inis Meain what surely becomes a personal heirloom.
Inis Meáin Knitting Company was founded on the island in 1976 by Tarlach de Blácam and Áine Ní Chonghaile, inspired by the unique spirit, environment and heritage of the place.
Tarlach was a graduate in Celtic Languages from Trinity College Dublin and had gone to Inis Meáin in the late sixties like the previous scholars to immerse himself in the language and culture of the island; Áine was a native of Inis Meáin working as a teacher in Dublin in the early ‘70s. When the pair married in 1973, they were determined to make their home on the island. The only question was how to make a living there.
Tarlach and Áine became involved in a series of development projects aimed at stemming the tide of emigration and providing the permanent work needed to support a sustainable community on Inis Meáin. These included the provision of electricity and running water as well as new harbour and airstrip facilities.
Drawing on the island tradition, Tarlach and Áine went on to equip a small factory with six knitting machines and set about working with young islanders whose mothers knitted at home for the tourist industry. The younger generation were more inclined to emigrate in search of work on the mainland or overseas. Inis Meáin Knitting Company offered regular work in a factory setting, attracting young people who would otherwise have left the island forever.
Today, Inis Meáin Knitting Company continues to delve into the rich knitting heritage of the island for inspiration, reinterpreting traditional stitches and styles in the finest yarns to create beautiful and sophisticated garments for contemporary living.
They are proud to supply unique, high-quality knitwear to some of the best stores around the world.
Inis Meáin Knitting Company designs and produces individual, unique pieces of knitwear in the finest yarns, all exquisitely finished by hand. Their range is continually updated with new styles as well as variations on customers’ old favorites.
They are a very modern company, with a highly-educated, well-trained workforce using the most up-to-date machinery. But how they use their machinery differs from most other companies with the same technology – because they choose not to mass produce. Instead, they specialize in small runs of new styles and change the settings on their machinery up to several times each day, so that they can produce up to 50 different styles each season.
The authentic heritage, sophisticated design, beautiful yarns and impeccable finishing of Inis Meáin knitwear are appreciated by customers around the world. Their range of styles continues to evolve as they explore the vast Aran knitting repertoire.
My first visit to New York twenty years ago, was of course during fashion week. Finishing my business plan, I felt, needed examples of the industry supply chains. As such, NY I was told is the only market to attend to get a broad overview of the industry, introduce yourself to as many as possible. After all anybody who was anybody in the industry you would find in NY during this week. Overwhelmed by the enormity of the city, and not necessarily the best plan of contact, I nevertheless stumbled my way through. I quickly learned anybody who was anybody was not available to those of us who were nobody’s. But not without exception…allow me to introduce the Gambert’s.
The Gambert name has been synonymous with fine shirt-making since 1933 when 1st generation family patriarch, Joseph Gambert, opened the first shop on Springfield Avenue in Newark, NJ. For 80-plus years, they continue to make shirts in Newark’s Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, USA. They stock an inventory of over 1,500 shirt fabrics sourced from all around the world from Mills like Albini, Thomas Mason, Mileta and Canclini to name just a few. They are known for making a shirt as individual as the man or woman wearing it, meeting not only their fit preferences, but also their styling preferences.
Gambert’s system and patterns have successfully satisfied thousands of clients. They complement their products with an excellent staff to provide the best in customer service. At Mel Gambert they firmly believe that to be a successful manufacturer, they must work together with their dealers and partners. It is their ambitions for all their dealers to operate with the same success, shared values, mutual support, and professionalism.
After graduations from collage in the 1960’s Mel Gambert, having learned business from his father and working in the factory throughout high school, began to improve the size techniques for made-to measure shirts. The first variation was waist and hip tapering. Over the next 20 years, he added shoulder slopes, yoke sizing and postures to help improve the quality of fit. A true pioneer in the industry. Mel Gambert has proven himself to be instrumental and educating hundreds of dealers in using our system in sizing shirts.
Mel’s wife and partner of over 50 years, Lorraine, has been fully involved in every facet of daily operations. An ardent businesswomen and accomplished fashion consultant, Lorraine spent 20 years running over now shuttered retail store before undertaking running the office on a full-time basis. She has incredible insight, both personally and professionally.
Mitch Gambert, who joined the business in 2001, shares his family passion for this industry, having dedicated himself to learning all the tricks of the trade from his father, Mel. Mitch was the first shirt manufacturer to serve as president of industry trade association, the Custom Tailors and Design Association, serving from 2016-2018. Never afraid to try new ideas and meet challenges, he has merged old-school artisanship with modern technology and design.
When many were too busy to visit, my unending gratitude to the Gambert’s for the insight offered during that brief visit in NY. Business plan completed…twenty years later, in business, and pleased to say still in business, I am proud to have the Gambert’s as a custom design partner for Steven Giles every step of the way.
Designed and made in the USA, the KATO’ brand is as distinctive as your own style personality. It’s that perfect pair of worn-in jeans that have become a part of you. The jeans and shirt that you wear all the time because it looks and feels like you do. Very intentionally, KATO’ garments evolve with you as you wear them and become distinctively yours. KATO’ garments seek out the harmony and textile traditions from past history to provide unique garments that combine comfort, durability, and style – pieces that can be appreciated globally regardless of age or culture. Because of this versatility, timelessness and ease, KATO’ is as much about uptown as downtown, coastal or rural. Utilizing special fabrics, unique processes and meticulous attention to detail, KATO’ garments are truly worthy of being highly regarded as “Artisan Clothing”.
Selvedge Denim (also self-edge or selvage)
What is Japanese 4Way Stretch Selvedge?
Initially known as ‘self-edge’, the selvedge is the narrow , tightly woven band on both edges of the denim fabric. A selvedge end prevents the edge of the denim from unravelling and shows a clean, finished look.
Old shuttle looms produce denim where selvedges are closed. Alternatively, on larger modern weaving machines, the weft yarn is cut on every pick, resulting in a fringed edge.
Non-selvedge stitching on a pair of designer jeans vs. KATO’ selvedge
But one may ask, why is selvedge denim so desirable? There are a few reasons for this, one being that the shuttle-loom production process creates a denser weave than non-selvedge. This makes for better quality. Another reason is that the shuttle-loom process is older technology. The same reason someone would want a hand-made wooden table or chair, the character of the traditional method can be seen and felt. The process of the shuttle loom can be slightly inconsistent which leads to variations in the look of the denim which is quite unique for an industry where mass-production and uniformity is the norm. In the world of fast fashion, it is refreshing for some to buy a piece of clothing that will be with them for years to come, gracefully wear and evolve. .
One way to identify selvedge from non-selvedge is what is called the selvedge ID. Selvedge ID color varies with the brand and producer. For instance, colored thread was used by Cone Mills to identify the particular fabric used by it’s major manufacturers. Vintage Levi’s jeans were originallly an all white strip and later had a single red striped selvedge. Lee’s had a blue or green strip along one and and Wrangler’s was yellow. Nowadays, many selvedge denim brands get creative with their selvedge IDs because they know that customers love to show them off. As you can see below, KATO’ enjoys this detail of expression.
Lineup of KATO’ Selvedge ID’s
What is raw denim?
Also known as dry or unwashed denim, raw denim has not gone through any washing or distressing processes as is typical with other jeans. As you wear the jeans, the denim will fade at crease points and mold to your body. This essentially creates a moving art piece that showcases your life and active lifestyle that caused the wear. The longer you go before the first wash, the more prominent fading will be. For this reason, some denim-heads go months or even years before the first wash. Quality raw selvedge is a piece of clothing you don’t have to feel strange about wearing nearly every day. In fact, many pride themselves in how fast they can get wear marks on their jeans in the least amount of time, which is done best by wearing them daily and forgoing that first wash for as long as possible.
Why Japanese Selvedge?
At one point in time, most of the world’s denim was produced in the United States. As time passed, the quality suffered as mass production took priority over more time intensive traditional methods. So where does Japanese denim come in? In the 1960s, Japan entered into the denim business. Jeans became popularized by observing the denim worn by US soldiers after World War II and became fashionable across Japan. As Japanese craftsmen began producing denim, some decided to stay true to the traditional methods and dedicated themselves to produce higher quality denim than other regions. Japan is one of the only places to stay committed to the vintage shuttle-loom produced denim manufacturing process which is costlier and more time intensive. Today, Japan is considered to produce the best quality denim in the world. Their high quality standards and attention to detail has refueled an appetite across the globe for higher quality jeans.
At our source of the Kaihara Mill in Japan, there is intensive process of rope-dying and shuttle-loom weaving taking place. This meticulous process and finished result is what makes Japanese selvedge denim the most sought after in the world. Kaihara Mill specializes in sanforized denim, which refers to the pre-shrinking of the fabric to less than 1%. This reduces unwanted size changes. That means if you like the fit when you try on KATO’, you most likely will continue liking it as time passes.
What are the origins of 4Way Stretch Selvedge Denim?
Nick, our designer at KATO’, took selvedge denim to the next level. He wanted to create a denim which not only looks authentic but also is comfortable. You can find a lot of uncomfortable but great looking denim on the market but he couldn’t find the one that had both great style and comfort aspects. He sought that everyday comfort but was unwilling to compromise the vintage elements in the process. After years of working with Kaihara Mill with non-stretch selvedge, he wanted to make the transition to an unattempted 4Way stretch. At first, the mill told him that it was technically impossible, but Nick was unwilling to accept defeat. After many failed attempts, they were able to produce this amazing 4Way stretch fabric that is used in all KATO’ jeans.
Everyday someone is making the leap into breaking in their first pair of raw denim or adding another pair to the collection. Our 4Way Stretch Selvedge has the fit, look, details, and comfort that will satisfy everyone from the seasoned “Denim-head” to the conservative customer trying their first pair of raw jeans. Our 4Way Stretch Selvedge Japanese fabric has the perfect amount of 360 degree, multi-directional movement. The jeans will fade like a dream, except they are more comfortable than any other authentic selvedge jeans on the market.
Vintage shuttle loom weaving selvedge denim at Kaihara Mill
Will it fade like non-stretch selvedge denim?
Yes! It will fade like traditional raw vintage denim. Here is the picture of our signature 14oz Raw 4Way Stretch Selvedge after about a solid year of wear.
One year of wear: KATO’ 14oz Raw 4Way Stretch
What does the weight of denim mean?
The weight of denim is quite significant to the feel, fit, and durability of the fabric. The weight refers to the weight in ounces of 1 square yard of fabric. At KATO’, we produce 10.5oz and 14oz. The 10.5oz is going to be a little lighter and cooler as the fabric can breathe more than heavier fabric. The 14oz is going to be a little more rigid, durable, and capable of good fading with time passing. There certainly is no answer to which one is better, each one has their respective strengths. With non-stretch selvedge, the heavier weights can make the denim significantly more uncomfortable and tougher to break-in. With KATO’s 4way stretch material, both the 10.5oz and 14oz weight options are ready to wear and comfortable from day 1.
How should I wash Selvedge Denim?
This is a highly contentious topic which ranges from never washing(not recommended by us) to doing an ocean wash where you actually walk into the ocean with your jeans on. Thankfully for those that don’t live 5 minutes from the beach, we recommend a more flexible approach. If your jeans stink and you can’t stand it anymore, you have a couple options. You can turn them inside out and do a gentle wash on cold, hand wash, or soak. After all of these options you must air dry for the best long term results. We do suggest using a non-harsh detergent, which we happen to make! If you want to hold off on too many washes, we also have a spray that will help with any rogue smells that start to pop up. Check out the bundle here: Denim Wash and Spray
Why are all your jeans made in the USA?
While we honor our Japanese roots, we live and operate in the great USA. While this is a more expensive option for production, it gives us the utmost control over the manufacturing process and the ability to conduct constant inspections and quality control procedures of our products. Many brands make their garments in cheaper locations overseas. We don’t believe in cutting corners, we only cut the highest quality imported Japanese denim on American soil in Los Angeles, California.
Coin Pocket Selvedge LineAdded selvedge line in the coin packet which is the feature of the material.By using it vertically, the Selvedge line can be made more visible when wearing a top. YKK zipperRegular vintage jeans have a tack buttons. However, KATO jeans have adopted the zipper fly specification for more functionality. The zipper uses YKK 5.5 and is larger than the normal jeans zipper. We make zipper specification that it is easy to put on and take off.It looks like a vintage design but easy to use for everyday use jeansHip pocket stitchWe designed a hidden bar tack in the hip pocket and faithfully reproduced the vintage specification. In addition, the stitch specification is detail that symbolizes KATO jeans, so the width becomes wider as it goes on the pocket. Specifications to turn over in the body across the pocket. Front tack buttonThe tack button on the jeans is like a stamp that acknowledges the brand. KATO jeans adhere to vintage specifications and use the 27-line double circle button to change the color of the button depending on the weight and color of the material. The stamped on the tack button is also a brand symbol and is only allowed to attach to products that meet KATO’s strict quality standards.RivetThe rivets used initially when jeans were first made in 1871 are nipple rivets。A tailor of Latvian descent named Jacob W. Davis invented a rivets at workshop in Reno, Nevada. Davis hammered copper rivets onto the pocket corners and the base of the fly where jeans would often tear. This was the invention of riveted blue jeans, and rivets are still the most important defining feature of the jeans we wear today.Most of current jeans uses cover-type rivets, but with this nipple type rivets, the slightly protruding fabric feel becomes an essential detail for reproducing vintage jeans.This is why we decided to use nipple rivets for our jeans. Leather patchThe logo of KATO brand is placed on the four corners and the design is imprinted so that the brand name can not be known at first glance. This is a unique part of the brand and part of my design. The size of the Leather patch is 3 1⁄4 x 2 1/2, which is the size used by vintage jeans. Not only attaching the leather patch like vintage denim but I made it sure that belt can pass inside so that leather patch doesn’t hide.Japanese Selvedge FabricKATO’s develops several kinds of 4way stretch selvedge fabric by Japanese fabric maker depending on fabric weight and color. The color and design of the Selvedge line changes by each fabric. In order to look the most beautiful selvedge fabric, designer Nick selects the selvedge line by each fabric.Cuff selvedge line,The selvedge width seen on the vintage jeans is basically 3 / 4inch, and most of current jeans brands are mainly 1inch wide. KATO has a narrower 5 / 8inch width. By narrowing the width, the Fit looks better and can be worn more stylish. Mail LabelKATO’s brand label has the most unique design. The item is expressed by drawing and the main label is different for Pants, Shirts and Jacket. I want to embroider everything because I want to give a sense of luxury. The design label is attached to the inside of the waist belt with the brand color KATO orange stitch. This KATO Orange stitch symbolizing KATO brand.
Codis Maya jewelry is designed for men and women who want to invest in beautifully made, timeless pieces.
The collection is distinctly British, understated and elegant yet conveys a sense of style and fun with its use of vibrantly colored enamels.
In an age of mass-production, Codis Maya is proud to support the historic traditions of jewelry making by hand.
Each piece is individually crafted throughout workshops in England using techniques, often unique to British manufacturing, that involve specialist craftspeople from start to finish.
For over 25 years, Codis Maya has been creating jewelry for fine menswear shops around the world, as well as designing and developing exclusive collections for luxury fashion houses.
ABOUT CODIS MAYA
Roshini Aluwihare grew up in London. She completed a foundation at Chelsea College of Arts and later received BA Honors in Jewelry & Business Studies at Sir John Cass School of Art and Design.
A focus on ceramics during her time at the college led to an interest in working with enamel.
As a jewelry designer, Roshini observed a distinct lack of choice available in men’s accessories at the time. She founded Codis Maya in 1987, principally creating pieces for men using vitreous enamel.
A variety of other materials are also used such as precious stones, wood, horn, silver and gold.
Each Codis Maya design is illustrated by hand. These go on to be developed in British factories and workshops using highly skilled and artisanal processes that the company strives to preserve in an age of mass manufacturing.
The results are beautiful bespoke objects that have passed through the hands of up to ten different craftspeople and take around three months to create.
Since its first collection of pins and badges for Liberty in the 80s, Codis Maya has grown to become a recognized name, predominantly behind the scenes of the menswear business, creating exclusive collections of jewelry and accessories for some of the world’s luxury fashion houses.
HAND MADE IN ENGLAND
Designers Roshini Aluwihare and Jet McQuiston illustrate each Codis Maya design by hand. These go on to be developed in British factories and workshops using highly skilled and artisanal processes that the company strives to preserve in an age of mass manufacturing.
The results are beautiful bespoke objects that have passed through the hands of up to ten different crafts people and take around three months to create.
The house was founded in 1787 by Monsieur Beaurain, a batiste handkerchief salesman, who set up a small shop in the Palais Royal neighborhood of Paris. In 1830, a retiring Monsieur Beaurain left the business to his employee, Auguste Godard.
But, it was when Auguste Godard’s daughter, Marie Godard, married victor Simonnot, (at the time, a client of Marie’s father), that the brand established the name, Simonot Godard, that is still holds proudly today.
Today, every Simonnot Godard handkerchief is exclusively woven. For each collection, the house’s wonderful archives are researched in-depth and serve as a source of inspiration out of which designs and motives that are part of our history are created – some of which are strictly historical, and others that we then reinterpret with contemporary twist.
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