Nearly 30 years ago next year, an album cover shot by Annie Leibovitz entered pop cultural history. Born in the USA depicted Bruce Springsteen's backside clad in a pair of Levi's 501s, a baseball cap poking out of a rear pocket, set against a backdrop of the Stars and Stripes. And there you had the American way sewn up in one image: blue-collar living, denim and rock 'n' roll.

Of course, the relationship between the blue stuff and the pioneering musical voice of youth goes back further than 1984. Although the early rock 'n' roll stars of the 1950s stars were clad in plaid (Bill Hayley) or shiny in black leather (Gene Vincent), the scene that invented the teen soon found value in reflecting the music's original down-home roots.


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The Heroic Journey from Virgin to Vintage
The notion of great journeys are usually central within the mythology of great cultures.  Denim-culture is no different. Religions reenact mythic desert journeys through pilgrimages. For the Ancient Greeks it was Odysseus. For Paddington Bear it was a journey to Peru. For the Mario Brothers it is the end of the game. For aboriginal tribes in Australia it is a Walkabout.    …-For Denham it is the heroic journey from Virgin to Vintage.
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From Blue Seed to Kyoto Magic Wash
Each season we explore new ways to engage with that basic journey.  The trips through life's events that maps themselves onto raw denim jeans transforming them into beautifully patinaed one-of-a-kind extensions of our individuality.

That journey always starts with raw, "Virgin" denim and slowly makes its way to the world of unique vintage-style wear-patterns and wash effects.  The best and most balanced of these uniquely worn jeans inspire the best and most balanced of our vintage artisan finishes - "Artisan Japanese".
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Virgin Blue Seed
For the new collection we've produced Blue Seed Virgin using 100% naturally grown Japanese indigo.  Almost all of the worlds' indigo is produce synthetically by chemical companies.  They do a good job and there's nothing wrong with synthesized indigo.  But there's something very special about working with indigo that is actually grown in soil, and it's even more very rare to be able to use natural indigo from Japan.  The Blue Seed.

Besides taking advantage of a rare natural source of indigo, the dying sequence we've used also excludes the stripping-bath which is usually done as part of the preparation for chemical indigo coloring.  Without that stripping process, the blue color soaks in more slowly and produces a more luminous blue tone.  Inspired by the project a few of us have taken to growing potted indigo plants in the windows of our studios in Amsterdam.  To share the fun we're also including a cool little packet of indigo seeds with every Virgin Blue Seed jean we make.
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Kyoto Magic Wash
Our vintage-inspired denim this season in another story all together.  We wanted to focus intensely on the idea of"Balance" in our finishing.  Denim that has undergone accelerated aging/wearing effects can often appear unbalanced since the processes used are not always very natural and are sometimes done on massive assembly-lines.  It takes good design and real human artistry to overcome this.   The most passionate artists are the ones in Kyoto, Japan.
Kyoto Magic Wash
The Kyoto Laundry-House that's Really an Art Studio
We partnered with one of the world's best and most exclusive Japanese laundry-houses in Kyoto to produce the new styles.  Kyoto's culture has been wrapped up in artisan craftsmanship since the days of the samurai. Our time in the laundry there was so inspiring that we wanted to show our friends photographs of the facility in action.  We were politely asked to refrain since the very small crew we worked with have created their own unique process and they'd like to keep it to themselves – so, no photos.

But… -we can try to explain their passion without using photographs.

The technique they've developed essentially reproduces the set up of an artist's studio.  The process involves two highly trained artists standing in front of special easels which each hold a Virgin denim jean while they look across at a genuine vintage model (in this case we provided the inspiration from our Denham Garment Library) which is mounted to wall in front of them.  Then, like painters, they dip a soft rag in a secret mixture and use it to "paint" the pattern of the original directly onto the Virgin jean in front of them.  There is very little difference between what these two men do and the technique used by a portrait or still-life painter in a studio.  A painstaking task requiring incredible skill.  This approach only allows them to produce 15-20 finished wear patterns a day in production.  This might be one of the reasons that we are the only non-Japanese denim brand with whom they have partnered and only the third brand in the world to work with them at all.  It also explains why these are the best-balanced Japanese Artisan jeans we've ever produced.
Jump Start the Journey
Jump Starting the Journey from Virgin to Vintage

Aged denim represents a dilemma.  Purists believe you should age your own. They're right.  But purists also believe in the beauty of lovingly hand-finished jeans like the ones we create within our Japan Artisan collections.  Since we're focusing on the journey itself, we thought we'd mention that there is plenty of room between these two bookends.  For instance; there are the beautiful Italian washes we also create with the best Italian laundries in the world.  But there's also something else…