FROM INSPIRATION TO PRODUCTION - THE XHS
Many well known products, from the Apple iPhone to the humble Sellotape, arrive due to a reason, whether that is a space in the market or even a moment of accidental inspiration, a successful product generally starts with a reason or inspiration. But to be successful you need development. How can this ‘great idea’ be made? Can we make it at a decent cost? Can we even make it? Our XHS denim is no different, it wasn’t a flippant ‘shall we make…?' with a reply of ‘yeah, why not'. While it started as inspiration it was made a success due to development.
First, a quick synopsis - XHS is an acronym for "Extra Heavy Selvedge", a term used for our ultra-heavyweight Japanese selvedge denim. Weighing in at a mighty 25oz, there may be heavier denims out there, but Haraki-san believes that 25oz is at the upper end of what can be comfortable and practical. It has the thickness and weight unique to 25oz, and while super-stiff when new (requiring some ‘breaking-in'), with time and wear it becomes soft, pliable and very comfy.’
25oz denim started over a drink in a hotel in Shibuyu, Tokyo around 2010/11. Giles Padmore was with Roger Hatt from VMC who was after ideas for VMC’s 25th anniversary in 2011. 'How about 25oz denim?' asked Giles. This then followed an excited meeting with Haraki-san when they both met him the following day in Hachioji. And that is the Inspiration. Next came the hard work!
But you need more than just inspiration to make something successful! Haraki-san said it could be done. But weaving it is extremely difficult and unpredictable. With "normal" denims, we get a known percentage that is not "1st quality", (we buy back all 2nd and 3rd rate denim from the mills, so that it does not enter the secondary market). It may be 20% for 21oz, 10% for 14oz etc etc.
With the 25oz, this percentage can vary between 10% and 75%!
Sewing it is very difficult and only the most experienced seamstresses, who have worked up through, 14, 16, 18, 21 ounce denims will have the necessary skills (and strength) to sew the jeans together. In the early days of making the jeans, Haraki-san had to spend long periods of time in the mills and workshops helping modify machines and redesign the processes. Any mill can weave 14oz, and any factory can sew 14oz, but both processes get exponentially more difficult as the weight increases...
And that is why we are so proud of our 25oz ultra-heavyweight Japanese selvedge denim - it takes a lot of work to produce a pair of jeans, and we now release the 25oz denim in all 5 cuts, from slim-tapered to straight, in regular denim, indigo/black and black/black, as well as also in a vest.
With all popular cuts in denim now being restocked - are you up for breaking-in a pair?
To view the latest XHS denim restocks, click below.
To learn more about other aspects of denim and Iron Heart products