In the past two years I’ve bought some pretty decent denim. I could mention the Iron Hearts, all Japanese ruggedness, or the Livids, made by four hands in Norway, the Steel Feathers, designed in Norway and made by Japanese craftsmen, or the Tenders, quirkily British and hand dyed.
This time though I wanted something even more different, and when I saw that Companion Denim were running a limited pre-order for a new style, I knew I’d found it. There was a single roll of denim available, jeans made on a first come, first serve order, until the roll was gone.
Companion Denim is Iu, one guy making high-end jeans in Barcelona. His workshop contains all the right machines, he uses the bona-fide materials, and has the skills to make proper denim trousers.
And now they have landed here at the mansion. Are you curious?
To deal with the basics first of all, these are your basic 5-pocket, button-fly, selvedge denim jeans.
Except, there is a lot of twiddly, special differentness going on here.The denim is Japanese, the hickory-striped cotton pocket lining is Japanese and the canvas lining is Spanish. The copper rivets are Italian, the copper laurel wreath buttons are Japanese. Just describing the denim as Japanese selvedge though isn’t really quite sufficient: An expert would say it is “Japanese super slubby deep blue, red selvedge ID, construction 3×1, Right Hand Twill, sanforized, 100% Cotton.” I’d shorten that to: It’s nice, really nice.
Most 5-pocket jeans follow a formula that has been tweaked, yet fundamentally unchanged, since man discovered how much more practical trousers were than hanging a leaf in front of your privates. To add different though you might want to add design tweaks, either functional or purely for show. Or you could just go a few extra miles and construct them in a superior way.
Or, if you’re really serious about what you do, you could do all of that. Tick all the boxes, remove all stops, cost no option, go that extra mile and make the best jeans you can. Which is what Iu does in his workshop.
Construction wise it’s all single needle sewing. The yoke, rise and inseam is all hand felled (we’ll get back to this). The copper buttons all have leather washers for added strength. The copper rivets are hand-hammered and also have leather backing.
Design wise there is a the cinch back with brass hardware, split waistband with teardrop stick, a “tonal nerve embroidery” on the back pockets, hemp cord in the leg opening and hand engraved bridle leather patch. And of course all that hickory and canvas goodness, pluss the fly details, that no-one but you will ever see.
And it’s this attention to the not so obvious that separates this jeans from every other pair of jeans I have ever looked at. Take the details around the fly above. Notice how the seams are bound? That is highly unusual. Normally they’ll have been run up with the overlocker machine to make sure they don’t fray. Binding them takes more time, so it costs more money, but it also gives a much nicer result.
Or take the inseam shown above. I have come across the rare example where this seam is felled and not overlocked, but it’s rare. Again, felling the seam takes a little longer, but it also looks and feels much better. Going that extra mile, felling that seam.
To aid in the “roping effect” the hem has a piece of hemp rope inserted. I’ll admit, this is a bit too much even for me, so there will be some snipping done there. Just cut it back a bit, to avoid questions, you know?
In summary I can only say that Companion Denim has me totally convinced, and in awe of his skills. If you’re the sort of guy that want’s the best of everything, I’d recommend taking a look at Companion. And if you’re looking at others, use these as a yardstick to measure against.