We are proud to introduce you to a very gifted designer by the name of Ichiro, Founder and Creative Director at Orslow. Ichiro likes to describe his brand as a ‘slow brand’ referring to its endless attention to detail and mostly slow, old school design and production methods. I clearly remember the first time I touched one a pair of Orslow jeans two years ago, during Paris Fashion Week. My first reaction was: This is impossible! This feels like a vintage 501! The shade of the indigo as well as the touch really made us feel like we were holding a 1970s Levi’s jean. Therefore we are proud to present your Ichiro’s philosophy. more will soon follow in our upcoming Journal de Nîmes
. We have provided you with the unabridged interview.
TdN: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us something about your background?
IO: "My first interest in denim was about 30 years ago when my mother bought me an overall and then began having the passion for the denim. At that time, I could hardly find the lots of different types of washed denim but almost all the denim was Rigid or One wash. The overall that I had was in One washed type and I’ve worn from dark colour to almost rip a hole in knee. I clearly remembered this first experience in my childhood where the colour of the denim changes and fit comfortably to me as the time goes by. In late 1980s, various finishing such as stone washed were widespread. However, I didn’t meet the same faded colour as my overall. One day, me and my friend went to the vintage store and bought used Levi’s 501. The shop staff told us that selvedge denim is rare and looked for Levi’s vintage 501 selvedge denim. At that time, the prices were around US$35-40. The price was the same if it was selvedge or non-selvedge. I and my friend bought each Levi’s vintage 501 selvedge denim. After a while, even the same Levi’s vintage 501 selvedge denim the colour of the denim came out different. My friend was more like the colour of my overall and mine was in pale blue. I didn’t know why this happened at that time. After few years passed and in 1990’s, I met one senior who dressed all in denim in Rocker-style from where I worked. He worn the exactly the same colour of denim as my overall and of my friend’s Levi’s. I asked him why the colour was so nice? He said one word “ Big E”. Big E was known as the red tab of the back pocket which uses capital letter “ E “ and all denim with capital letter “E” were produced by 1971’s. All the vintage denim made after 1971’s fades the colour differently. The overall from my childhood was selvedge vintage denim and my friend’s Levi’s 501 made in 1966. But mine was made late 1980’s selvedge denim. From then, I started collecting the vintage denims but after few years I wanted to make my own original denim using household sewing machine. Unfortunately, I could not make the industrial denim. There was no internet or any other references, so I made everything on my own way. Even look at the vintage denim, it was clear the stitches were completely different from the one that I made with household sewing machine. I learnt to know about industrial sewing machine and began to buy one by one. It was in 2002 when I made the full-fledged industrial denim. Finally in 2005, I have established Orslow.
TdN: Could you introduce our Tenue de Nîmes friends to the Orslow legacy? What does the brand stand for?
IO: "My vintage collection and vintage sewing machine plays an important role for us. When I design, I use my vintage collection as a reference and use my vintage sewing machine to produce the merchandise."
TdN: If you would have to choose one piece, what would be your favorite Orslow garment?
IO: "It is difficult to choose only one, but if I were to choose, it would be either standard fit 105 or slim fit 107. It is can also be said the same thing to other standard garments that all and each pieces are wearable at any time without being influenced in despite of the ages."
TdN: What do you consider the most vital ingredient of a successful life in clothing design?
IO: "Since I started having interests in clothing, I’ve seen, bought and worn many clothes in regardless of whether it is a vintage or not."
TdN: How do you look at the future? What kind of ambitions do you guys have with the brand?
IO: "I wish the brand ‘Orslow' may remain in along the way and hoping our past pieces will be treated as masterpieces."