Sunday, July 19, 2009


Whether fighting the flames in the East or the West, there was a time when Utility was Luxury

We said at one point that we don't collect in order to covet. The greed of pure selfish possession would probably embarrass us a bit. We do collect. As a team and as individuals we've been using archival garments as silent-but-effective personal tutors for a long time and the excitement only increases.

Last week we found a pair of antique Japanese fireman's trousers. When they first caught our eye they looked familiar somehow
(socrates said we experience a sensation of "rightness" during the acquisition of knowledge because our understanding awakens awareness of divine patterns previously dormant in our souls... -but none of us paid that much attention in class). Anyway, these trousers awakened awareness of something.

It only took another minute or so to remember we owned another pair of work pants believed to be turn-of-the-century fireman's trousers...   -Only these came to us by way of Britain. They're one of the studio's favorites. Can't Bust 'Em.

Compare the two and it's very clear which is from the East and which is from the West. But adjust your perception just a little and the similarities start appearing. Both are crafted from extremely rugged black selvedge fabric. Both show the effect of the natural twist associated with classic denim workwear.

Turn them both over and the story continues.

oth designs utilize a functional cinch-back. The western variation employing a buckle and the eastern version using a full sash belt wrapped and tied toward the center-front.  Both cinches attached in nearly the same location with rugged stitch work just to the right and left of the center-back.

Both pairs feature cuff-wear on the same leg. The Can't Bust 'Em specimens have been patched with wool, the Japanese pair has yet to be repaired.

Both pairs use natural plain-weave muslin elements to apply branding. The Can't Bust 'Em pair brands the outside, the Japanese labeling is internal.

Use of the softer muslin extends into the internal waistband treatments on both, though the Can't Bust Em's uses a yarn-dyed stripe/dot fabric. Both use a soft secondary fabric for edging and fly-facings. Brushed moleskin in the case of the Cant' Bust "Em's, and a softer finer indigo-dyed twill on the Japanese design.

Both feature strong, generously proportioned functional front pockets. The western pair also feature back pockets (a jeanswear innovation).

Hey, all this commitment to quality almost verges on luxury by the standards of the day. But we guess whether guys were fighting fires in Great Britain or Japan, utility would have been the real luxury.

If you've gotten this far down this posting, God bless your patience. We're just crazy for this stuff. Sue us. But what's more important is what we do with it. And it's this kind of inquiry that has inspired our commitment to our own modest array of construction features. In our case it includes:
> Japanese Selvedge
> Leather Rivet-Saddles
> Fully Bound Internal Flies
> 7-Point Anatomical Hip-Pockets
> Darted Articulation
> Fully Tailored 3xChambray Waistbands

... -and so on. But to see what we mean or when and where we employ these standards you'll need to come hangout with us.