dnj’s philosophies

Denim, Dialogue, dnj, Down North Jeans, Selvage

For a long time I have thought about creating somnething like indies. And I came to think strongly about creating jeans, which I love as much as my director job, providing high qualitied jeans to the world. 

The virgin landscape for DownNorth Jeans <dnj>

 It is the simple daily life I saw in 1970’s. The rock musicians waiting for Odakyu line train passing by the railway crossing from south gate to norgh gate, Johnny Yoshinaga and Mari Kaneko, “back style holding each other’s shoulder” They were both still young, free and very cool! The memory I saw them at that time… I want to restructure jeans: bootcut in the best style… I started battling with my memory in the spring of 2006 I want to work with the craftmen with the best technique if I ever create jeans…

dnj asked an old factory in Kojima of Okayama prefecture, which have been a long time friend for me, to create fabric, sew etc. They willingly accepted my request and we organized trustworthy manufaturing system. I was just lucky.

 With my friends’ help and effort, we gathered nice staffs and a pair of jeans were born which is suitable for introducing in 2007. Product name Southside Boothcut (O/W) 

Free from public common sense…

 These are the jeans with the image of musician who goes through this town.

Dreaming of you guys in these jeans chatting in a cafe of Shimokitazawa, eating in Mintei, getting drunk in Trouble Peach, enjoying play and music in Suzunari and Yaneura…

With these dreams, dnj makes the small first step in 2007.

Dir. Muramoto

Original quote in Japanese: https://selvage.wordpress.com/2007/09/06/dnj%e2%80%99s-philosophies-japanese/ | http://www.downnorth.jp/htmls/about/about.html

Japanese text translated by: Yukiyo Yamanaka


Petronas twin towers and selvage

Denim, Evisu, Paul Smith, Petronas twin towers, Ralph Lauren, Red Ear, Selvage


Source: http://www.gettyimages.com/

I recently made a trip to the Petronas Twin Towers Suria KLCC shopping center, a place where every form of luxury brand available if you have the cash to indulge. I made brief visits to Parkson department store to check out their European Evisu, followed by RL and Paul Smith boutique to see what they have in store. 

This is what I found, trips in no particular order. Double RL selvage is inferior in quality in my opinion, their selvage line up is not on par with the rest and with a price point in the region of $200, there are much better pick out there. 

Next stop was Evisu. Apparently, they sell fast, having only a single pair left. European Evisu’s and double RL side by side, RL don’t even come close. Price here you may ask? It’s a little over $250 which is worth buying in all due respect. 

I’d save the best for last. Now, Paul Smith is a class act, very classy boutique and top notch customer service. Surprisingly they carry most models. The Red Ear range are very popular here having most of the regular sizes went straight out in record time.


Source: http://www.paulsmith.co.uk/

To my knowledge, there is only a pair of red devil – rainbow selvage (the design is exactly the same as Red Ear made in Japan but its made in China instead) selvage left which is neatly displayed on a table top near the other selvages. I don’t think I need to elaborate any further as it has been said many times before from people who are into premium denim, Red Ear is amongst the best premium denim money can buy.  

Besides the new Blenheim Orange, which is a non selvage, there’s another selvage model which catches my attention but the name slipped due to my short span memory though I’ve seen it before. However, I’d recall there are a few tiny white patches with a deer (rabbit) in black embroidery on (top back pocket) the front pocket. This model in particular  (Nelson’s Glory) was stunning in all areas especially the details. Cost of ownership is the steepest here, basic model starts from $320. On a side note, the red devil/rainbow (made in Japan) model to my surprise were quite affordable at $380.

Selvage or not, all PS jeans are top notch and the fitting in particular are amazing. If one who buy a pair of jeans solely on the pretext of selvage, I must insist they also try the non selvage. Selvage should not be the determiner when choosing a pair of good denim but good if it is.

Warehouse – news

Denim, Dubble Works, Selvage, Warehouse

A statement recently released by Warehouse dated 11/8. It seemed the majority of Japanese  premium denim players are backing off from producing and selling copies of Levi’s classic by ending their hommage line before more trouble sets in.

Get your Sugar Cane, Warehouse, Dubble Works, Studio D’Artisan, etc. now before there are none left.



ウエアハウス  ダブルワークス 定番デニム生産終了のお知らせ皆様にご愛顧をいただいてまいりましたウエアハウス、ダブルワークス、ブルーアンドグレイレーベルの5ポケットジーンズの生産を終了することを決定いたしました。生産終了対応品番ウエアハウス
660  1WASH
今後は5ポケットデニムよりもさら歴史の深い、トレジャーシリーズで培ったディテール、デザインを参考に、これからの新しい歴史を作り出すジーンズを開発中です。創業以来、ウエアハウスが追い求めてきた1001xxや1000xxなどの、レプリカデニムとの決別は、これからのウエアハウスをはじめとする4つのレーベルそれぞれのブランドアイデンティティの確立を意味しています。 12年ものあいだウエアハウスを支えてきた、生地、縫製、シルエットにおいて頑ななまでのこだわりが詰ったウエアハウスの代名詞1001XXと、そしてそれを生み出す情熱を与えてくれた全てのヴィンテージデニムに敬意を表します。                        
Source: http://www.ware-house.co.jp/

A dialogue with dnj [english]

Denim, Dialogue, dnj, Down North Jeans, Selvage

Published 13th July 2007

Article written by: Robin Lee

Japanese text translated by: Yukiyo Yamanaka


DownNorth Jeans



A label inspired from the vibrant streets of ShimoKitazawa and a passion for a unique pair of premium selvage indigo denim. 

Down at 6-27-13 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, an establishment by the name of [dnj] DownNorth Jeans sits in a tastefully designed shop with classical and yet contemporary theme makes one’s visit a different feeling all together. 

[dnj] DownNorth Jeans’s founder, Mr. Taishi Muramoto who is one of Japan’s hottest young television commercial directors and recently made his first feature movie is also a serious selvage denim connoisseur.

Mr. Taishi Muramoto has invested his valuable time in creating a label catering to a different crowd, unlike what is on offer in the current market. Like many selvage denim connoisseur, the general offerings from major Japanese labels just couldn’t satisfy Mr. Taishi Muramoto appetite any longer, hence creating his own label. 

With such passionate enthusiasm, the [dnj] DownNorth Jeans label was born. It is unique with its own flair and philosophy, a warm welcome to the industry as it has been flooded with a little too familiar styles and jeans philosophies.  

[dnj] DownNorth Jeans’s philosophy gives one the feeling of being with one-self, at ease and a sense of freedom. Actor, Jun Murakami a dear friend of Mr. Taishi Muramoto decided to help out by being the brand’s ambassador which is evident from DownNorth Jeans website with a collection of tasteful photos depicting Mr. Jun Murakami wandering the streets of ShomoKita showcasing the exclusive low production [dnj] DownNorth Jeans and apparels. 

I have the privilege to an exclusive interview with Mr. Taishi Muramoto the founder of [dnj] DownNorth Jeans to share with us the concept behind the label, its philosophies and its latest premium indigo selvage denim jeans, the SouthSide Bootcut 625A. 


The interview was not an easy one as I have to translate back and forth between English and Japanese as the article was intended to be in both languages directing to English and Japanese readers. I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Muramoto for taking time to answer my questions and Ms. Yamanaka for the translation. After spending days on the e-mail and drafts, here is what Mr. Muramoto has to say: 


DownNorth Jeans, where does the name come from? 

In Japanese “Down” is “Shimo ()”, “North” is “Kita ()”. DownNorth is a local jeans brand with the direct translation of the name of the area I live, “Shimo Kita Zawa (下北沢)”. 

Where is [dnj] DownNorth Jeans based? 

6-27-13 Daita, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, zip 155-0033 

Who is the person behind the [dnj] DownNorth Jeans brand? 

Taishi Muramoto 村本天志 (first name: Taishi: 天志, family name: Muramoto: 村本) 

There are over 50 brands of premium denim jeans, what makes [dnj] DownNorth Jeans stand out from the rest? 

It is not easy to find a clear differentiator since all the other brands also create jeans with their own policy and philosophy. But if I dare say, we studied typical Japanese body shape to make our jeans comfortable for Japanese people. 



What is the philosophy behind [dnj] DownNorth Jeans? 

Happy Denime! 

How do you describe [dnj] DownNorth Jeans as a brand? 

Indigo & Undergrounds.  


Actor Jun Murakami were portrayed on [dnj] DownNorth Jeans website, is he DownNorth Jeans brand ambassador? 

Because he acts in many of my movie works and is also a precious friend. (This is for friendship) 


What can you tell us about [dnj] DownNorth Jeans latest and flagship denim, the SouthSide bootcut 625A? 

We made this with the image of free musician who walks around the south gate of Shimo Kitazawa station. 

The philosophy behind [dnj] DownNorth Jeans SouthSide Bootcut 625A? 

Bootcut that fits you without cutting short the length.


The style/cutting of SouthSide bootcut 625A is very different from other Japanese premium denim jeans, what is the philosophy behind it? 

Not sure about specification difference but we create our jeans so that our customers don’t feel “the typical stress for wearing bootcut”. 

What materials are used in the construction of [dnj] DownNorth Jeans SouthSide Bootcut 625A jeans? 

  • 100% cotton
  • Right twill selvage
  • Deep indigo dye
  • 13.75 ounces

 * Details in part b. 


Most premium denim jeans employ these keywords on their jeans: Natural indigo dye, exotic organic cotton, old shuttle looms, and artisan touch, what is your opinion on this subject? Is it too common now? 

Our jeans also follow those keywords but at the same time we seek for more contemporary approach. Classic and mode at the same time… we hope the customers keep [dnj] for 5 years and 10 years. 


[+/end of interview*-] 


Following details [photos and descriptions] of [dnj] SouthSide Bootcut 625A. 

Denim The first product of DownNorth Jeans is loose bootcut. 13.75 ounce, right twiled strong and flexible fabric is dyed into deep deep blue.


We care about details like silhouette, useful pocket and front button, tag, leather patch as well as length especially in this model. We dare provide 2 types of length, 77cm and 80cm. This is because we would like you to put on original silhouette, without cutting.


We don’t just shorten the hem but develop pattern based on knee position for each of length types. The silhouette is moderate lowrise and comfortable loose bootcut.  Not shaping knee very tight, with bottom a little wide, this silhouette has effect to make your legs look longer.


As for leather patches, after branding goat skin, we have each of them washed by hand one by one, dried out door under sun, then soaked into oil one by one, and then dried under sun again.  Then after O/W jeans, we have patch attached. We create patched in this time consuming careful way. The leather patch design is “j” logo on top, “j” for “jeans”.


13.75 ounce red selvage made in kojima is carefully woven by old fashioned weaving machine which can create 90cm width cloth only. Turn the hem and show the red selvage just a little bit for accent.


Most of the stitches are in yellow with adult taste but the 2 curved lines are crossed on upper part on hip pockets.  This is the inmage of Odakyu-line and Inokashira-line that go through Shimokitazawa. The orange stitch symbolizes for Shimokitazawa station. pocket.jpg

Non riveted selvage denim. tag.jpg 

DownNorth Jeans label.


Made in Japan [Kojima Shimo Kitazawa] 

[+/end of article*-] 

Japanese version of this article also available.  [© 2007 RL & YY | selvage.wordpress.com. © 2007 Down North Jeans. all rights reserved.]


Denim, dnj, Down North Jeans, Selvage

The label DownNorth Jeans may not ring a bell to most selvage denim connoisseur around the world. But one look and feel on their latest selvage indigo denim might change your perception about other mainstream selvage denim labels out there in the market.

Kojima, the holy land of Japanese selvage denim producers had since saturated in many ways, the most prominent being too many players in this already congested but still lucrative industry.

There are a lot of big names out there with 10 to 30 years of experiences in selvage denim making but most often their styles and philosophies remained bland with the majority in the re-production of old faithfull’s business.

It all started after the Second World War where the influx of denim started which had since change the clothing culture for good. Take for instance the original 5 pocket design of any denim, what makes a premium denim stands out from the rest you might ask. I must admit, it must be the branding, or otherwise we’d all be wearing a single brand till now.

Different brand often offer owner’s a different feel or fit but not necessary an authentic history behind the label. It is obvious with the entire industry being flooded with too similar design of the popular denim design, too similar at times.

DownNorth Jeans is a little different with its styles, fit and philosophies compared to the rest. No, they didn’t try re-inventing the wheel nor just hommaged like the others did but added flair and individuality to their creations. I was very curious about the label’s philosophies which prompted me to find out more resulting an interesting dialogue at the end of the day.