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JAPAN DENIM Book : REAL McCOY JEANS feature translation

CLUTCH Magazine Denim Made in Japan

Jeans inspired by vintage, and made greater.

The name “The Real McCoy’s” is synonymous with flight jackets and military products such as the A-2, as well as BUCO motorcycle jackets, but the brand’s wide range of American casual wear is also widely supported by their fans. The denim that we will be introducing here is part of that collection.

Hideki Hirakawa, who is responsible for the foundation of their denim manufacturing, first stepped into the world of vintage clothing in 1985, when he began working at Nylon, which was run by current The Real McCoy’s owner Hitoshi Tsujimoto. Nylon was considered a legendary vintage clothing store that took Japan by the storm. At the time, 1 dollar was worth about 230 yen, and the Japanese economy was stabilized thanks to its export businesses. However, in September of that year, the Plaza Accord was signed by members of the G5, and it began a period of increased imports.

Of the vintage jeans imported from the United States at the time, some of them clearly had different fading patterns as the rest. Today we are well aware of the ins and outs of vintage denim, but at the time the jeans were divided up based on mostly speculation, with actual little knowledge. However, Hirawaka says that he still clearly remembers the memories of excitement as vintage items would arrive piece by piece. Their experience in handling a large amount of vintage jeans eventually led to creating their own jeans. And in 1986, Nylon produced their first original jeans. Their jeans were far from the jeans that you see today, as they were made by looking at authentic vintage pieces and repeatedly conducting trials and error before completing them. According to Hirakawa, it was this experience that led to the birth of Real McCoy Jeans.

The popularity of vintage clothing began to increase in Japan during the late 1980s, and this is when the history of denim, which was an especially popular item, began to be uncovered. Articles about the details of vintage denim started popping up in fashion magazines. From the late 1980s until the late 1990s, the vintage trend too over Japan, and various brands began making products that they referred to as “replicas”. The word “replica” generally means “to copy” something, but many of the Japanese brands took it to another level, creating items that you couldn’t pick apart from their authentic vintage counterparts. Each brand poured their heart and passion into manufacturing only the highest quality “replica” items.

Many of today’s replica denim, says Hirakawa, go beyond the realm of vintage replicas. With so much analysis and knowhow of producing vintage details, they have become over-engineered. The same can be said about Real McCoy Jeans, he added. That is why the brand’s denim products are considered “vintage-inspired”, the next generation of replica items that aren’t specifically made to reproduce every last detail. What they do emphasize is the distinct style of vintage denim. It’s difficult to put into words, but to put it simply, it’s to replicate the silhouette of the denim when they are worn. What makes denim innately so cool is how they make you look when they are worn. By continuously pursuing the same patterns, they have created the ultimate lineup of vintage-inspired denim.

*This article was previouly featured in JAPAN DENIM book.


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