JAPAN DENIM Book : WAREHOUSE feature translation
CLUTCH Magazine Denim Made in Japan
Preserving the thought of bringing back vintage-like items to modern times
Warehouse was launched by Kenichi and Koji Shiotani during the vintage trend in 1995. Targeting American casual style vintage wear, their stance of reproducing every little detail has remained the same even today. Entering his 19th year (joined in 1997) as the brand’s press representative, Masaki Fujiki says that he was a bit perplexed at Shiotani’s stance at the time. For Fujiki, who wore vintage clothing simply because he thought it was cool, it wasn’t important to know what kind of cotton was used to make the fabric, or what the subtle details meant to the garment. However, he realized that he had joined an extraordinary company after seeing the brothers immersed in every last detail. At the same time, he knew that in order for him to work there, he would have to take on vintage clothing much more seriously, and he began to study using any materials he could get his hands on.
Denim was extremely popular even during those times, and their warehouses were completely empty due to mail orders. Sometimes only a single T-shirt would be remaining inside the entire office. The standard model was the 13.76 oz. Lot. 1001 model, made after careful analysis and research of 1950s vintage jeans. Even today, the Lot. 1001 model remains the brand’s standard icon. Soon after, they continued to evolve, changing from blended cotton to Memphis Cotton, and constantly researching to make better vintage-inspired items. Recently, they’ve begun taking apart denim banners from the 1930s and reproducing the uneven nature of the yarn used to weave the uncut denim. By weaving that fabric with a special power loom called a G3, they have successfully created a denim fabric that is almost identical to the actual vintage fabric.
Shiotani’s stance towards vintage clothing is very similar to that of an archaeologist. The way he works is like a scene out of a movie, where dinosaurs are brought back to life in modern times. When they see a vintage fabric that they feel could never be created in modern times, they research it extensively and move forward with the strong feeling of wanting to bring it back to life. So, they don’t create anything new without gathering the actual vintage fabrics and they never add any new designs. In order to reproduce every last detail faithfully, they write down each of the details on an instruction list and ask experienced craftsmen to manufacture them for them. What makes them so successful in recreating authentic vintage items is their organization and dedication.
Shiotani’s passion, something that is rare to find in a brand owner who works so hard behind the scenes, filters through Fujiki, the man who understands him best and has been with him throughout the brand’s history, and is transmitted to their fans throughout the world.
*This article was previouly featured in JAPAN DENIM book.
JAPAN DENIM WAREHOUSE