Published 13th July 2007
Article written by: Robin Lee
Japanese text translated by: Yukiyo Yamanaka
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 (下)”, “North” is “Kita (北)”. 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?
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.
Non riveted selvage denim.
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.]