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superslim

Selvage, set the record straight.

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rnrswitch, check out http://www.bomberairport.co.uk/shop.htm :)

Neil, i'm guessing from your explanation that a single harvest indigo is the usual dyestuff used by most other mills?

that explanation of double harvests and intensity of indigo is very interesting. sugar cane has a jean in kakishibu dye if i'm not wrong...so sulphur-topping is used as a lightening ingredient in the dyeing process? what other additives are frequently included in the dye?

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Tweedles - Sulphur is used to darken denim. And most mills use synthetic indigo ;)

Neilfuji - welcome and thanks for illuminating this particular discussion.

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Neil I am very excited to see Kato Brand getting some attention on the future. My boss is setting up a small webshop with a partner in Toyko and he has been telling me about Kato brand for the last few months. I don't believe he's managed to get an order in but I know he is very interested and when he does we will both be wearing a pair of your jeans (and be two of the very few in Canada doing so). Keep up the amazing work, I actually have a small Kato Brand booklet sitting here on my coffee table as I type this.

This is a great place to introduce such a unique brand. I'm looking forward to wearing one of your garments.

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Kakishibu (sick building paint) was a big thing a few seasons ago, it give the fabric a coating that cleans your sweat, such a great idea… it also used in hospital and leather tanning among many other uses, it was great to see it come out of Japan, but I think at the time not a lot of people believed it would work as billed, but it does, I have a pair which have never smelt and the time, my little boy was in nappies/diapers and I got all sort of ‘body based’ stuff on them.

As for the sulphur we use it to lighter our indigo by mix a larger amount in to the natural indigo. But ringring is right with a chemical or chemical mix indigo sulphur will darken the dye as the reaction is different especially if using chemical produced sulphur. In japan there are a lot of hot springs most are volcanic so the spring water in high in natural sulphur which can be used in the hank dying process, on a small level.

And yes most indigo use is single harvest, we been using natural indigo (organic if you will) which is grown less intensive so you can crop twice a year as for additives the list is endless, you can mix anything with the basic dye, a lot of the bigger batch brewed dye is mixed with a lower level chemical indigo or even a dark starching agent to hold the ridged cloth longer or a red chemical dye which will make it look bluer, we’ve done a double spun fabric with a red core a natural red dye on the core spinning a second skin than hank dying in a natural indigo, the colour is intense in fact in the US all out customer have bought it, beautiful denim too

I_Miss_Lily, thank you, I was sad that Reid’s order did not make it in time too, but we have to keep very strict time lines, due to the high labour times need to produce…I’ll keep an eye out for any stock that may become free and try to move it over to you, sadly that’s not something that happens much, but the response on here has been great, thank you again

Neil

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Tweedles - Sulphur is used to darken denim. And most mills use synthetic indigo ;)

ringring - good point. i forget my basics all the time. :)

but in most cases isn't synthetic indigo really a blend of chemicals and pure indigo?

neil, interesting point about the variation in reaction to sulphur on dye. i would imagine Kato therefore obtains the dyestuffs from smaller-scale (and like you said less intensive) plantations? in general, where are these plantations located?

i'm always bewildered by the depth of the technical knowledge associated with denim. it's frustrating because as a layman i can't get my hands on as much information as i'd like; one seems to have to actually be in the industry to even begin understanding what goes on.

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Hello Tweedlesinpink

]That’s called an indigo blend, used by some companies to be able to call the denim indigo denim, synthetic indigo was first used at the end of the 19th century I think it was a German chemist call Von Baeyer who first discovered the compound in 1878, but it wasn’t made in a marketable way until 1897, when it was mixed with Vidal Black (a sulphur dye) and later with Direct Black E, which made a darker indigo and a better fix, but I have to be honest my knowledge on this is a bit limited and would love to know more, if anyone can shed some light on it for me

As for our plantations, I’m sorry but it’s a closely guarded secret, it a very completive business, the weaver we use and the brewers as well as the indigo are part of the family

It’s hard to explain but some of these people have been doing what they do for generations in a small ‘sim-pi’ business structure and you need to be introduced into this before they will share, it’s like a beer brewer telling you his mixing secrets or a barman there cocktail tricks….the information is kept close, as it key to the business

As for the knowledge, it’s more about being a bit of a nerd really, yes I work in the denim world and in the ‘niche’ market but I do it because I have a passion for the field and I’m know this stuff, but I also learn new thing about what I do every day…so I guess it a chicken /egg thing I work with denim because I know stuff and I know the stuff because I work with denim….

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I feel your pain Tweedles.

Its genuinely one of my wishes to visit a Sugar Cane factory, or the likes, and see how the process works from start to finish. I wanna see the lady who selects and harvests the sugar cane, I need to meet the gentleman who picks the indigo leaves and "brews" them, I want to see how sugar can become fibre and then denim, I want to meet the goat that will be killed to make the leather patch!! I want to see these magical looms in action...

The list goes on!!! ;) ;)

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Hi

if this is your dream there is a tour company based in Osaka that will does just that, I'll get my Mother in law to pick up some infomation next time she at the train station, it's not Sugarcane but it does give us the idea and is very informative...so I'm told

I keep thinking for going but it's a bit pointless due to I'm at a denim factroy everyday I'm in Japan, but they do make you a pair of jeans to your own design

Neil

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Tweedles, pure indigo and synthetic indigo are used interchangeably. Synthetic doesn't refer to the blend of pure/plant indigo, just the fact that it is not from an indigo plant. In general, I think it would be fair to say that vegetable indigo is much less "pure," in a chemical compound sense, than synthetic indigo, which explains the different reaction to sulfur, even though theoretically the make-up of the indigo itself does not differ between the plant and the synthetic/pure indigo.

It's news to me that sulfur actually lightens the color of natural indigo (while pure indigo is darkened). I am curious why the reaction occurs, and if that is a constant between ALL natural indigo, and not just a specific plant that Neil's mill brews from.

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Hello,

I’ve attached a sulphured indigo denim pant; the system we use is with the ‘natural’ indigo mixed with the sulphur rich hot spring water, I wish I could explain the chemical reaction but sadly I’m not a chemist

Although in chemical terms a less ‘pure’ indigo I think ‘natural’ indigo works on a more organic level as the synthetic, from a colour view point, which is also my personal view, there are a growing amount of companies mixing the natural and the synthetic dyes, the colours can be strong and the wear longer, but then there is a very well know company who is working on a jean that is not made of cotton and only uses synthetic indigo I think they’re calling it the $40 jean, in the world of denim there will be many more ideas on the finish. so just because it can be done does not mean it should

It’s all in your point of view

Neil

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WW, thanks for clearing that up for me!

neil, that jean in the picture is still "raw"? ie. the light blue-green colour is entirely due to the dye of natural indigo + sulphuring?

reminds me of the Rag & Bone "light" jeans - does anyone know how do they go about messing with the colour on those?

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TIP, the Rag&Bone jeans are not 100% indigo I do not think. They mess around a lot with dye methods. None of their jeans that I have seen have a pure indigo color. I'd be willing to bet there's a ton of pure indigo, some sulphur and some other dyes in their darker denim, and in their lighter denim probably some sulphur, and a lot less indigo.

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now all we need is for a Rag & Bone manager to find out about supertalk and make an appearance. ;)

i kind of wonder what light blue jeans look like when worn in, though.

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now all we need is for a Rag & Bone manager to find out about supertalk and make an appearance. ;)

i kind of wonder what light blue jeans look like when worn in, though.

That would be interesting indeed.

Neil the color on the jeans you posted is a really nice hue.

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WW, thanks for clearing that up for me!

neil, that jean in the picture is still "raw"? ie. the light blue-green colour is entirely due to the dye of natural indigo + sulphuring?

reminds me of the Rag & Bone "light" jeans - does anyone know how do they go about messing with the colour on those?

Hello Tweedle...

yes it is a raw finsh, there have been no other processes part from the Indigo/sulphur

as WW said, the R&B pants are not a 'pure' indigo dye. it a dye mixing plus washing which I could bore you with but sadly today is a busy day for me so I'll do that later:D

Neil

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That would be interesting indeed.

Neil the color on the jeans you posted is a really nice hue.

thank you WW,

I would like to say you post some good posts

thank you for that too

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Guest Benz

Hi Superslim,

As everybody always talk about selvedge and narrow loom machine, I'm wondering if you know which sort of industrial sewing machine did they used during the 70' and 80'?? Not loom machines but sewing machines. If you have some info on this, Im really interested in, sewing machine type, brands and references (Singer...)... If they used -as now- machine to iron the back pockets or fold the belt before stitching. Do you have info on the way the made denims before?

If anyone know about this, Thanks.

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My friends shop sells kato. I love the denim blazer. Some sweet shit.

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My friends shop sells kato. I love the denim blazer. Some sweet shit.

why thank you very much, Roulette......we try to please

Neil

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Hi Benz

Good question….I’m sure there will be a lot of answers

All I can say is what I’ve seen and used in the pasted, which are singers chain stitch machines that run from a ground belt or in extreme cases a foot rocker. In a more modern factory setting the Juki DDL-5550 is used a solid simple machine but any Needle-Feed Cylinder Sewing Machine will do the work, it’s not a real brand thing, it more what the ‘tailor/seamstress’ is happy with. A well run foot rocker machine can make the production quality standard higher, but it slows the speed and will increase faults.

When I first went on the production floor of a clothing factory (27 years ago, I was 13) it was all foot powered machines and belt driven long needle , now Needle feed is where most (small) companies go

Neil

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Hi,

WOW...opened a bucket of snakes here...

Yes we will be in American Rag in LA from January, they have ordered quite deep with the denim and a few jackets and the new shirting and we do produce fabric for other companies as well, not to sure if I can list them here as I’m unsure of the site rules.

The idea that indigo and cotton came together to form Denim by the genius of one SF based company is one of the biggest PR wonders of the world, indigo has been used in Japan for over 2000 years, with this great history comes a knowledge on the processes and uses of the indigo. There are many systems used to brew and fix the dyes, one of the best is hank dying, the system is simple to do but hard to perfect. The raw spun yarn is looped over a wooden hook (this is the hank of cotton), washed spring water to open the fibres and then dipped into the indigo dye, it can be left in there for anything up to 48 hours then washed this time in very cold spring water and the process is repeated until the tone is reached, this can take some time, over a week of dying in some cases, after the tone you need is reached the hank is then steamed to fix the colour and then dyed still on the hank, this system allows the indigo to fix into the core of the yarn and is not as hard on it as a chemically fixing process would be.

There are many version of this dying system, using many different dyes and fixings, we use the traditional system as it’s kinder to the yarn and reduces the need for over starching our finished product this is also the reason we use a double harvested indigo and drop spun yarns. As I sure you all know the main reason your denim is ridged is the starching of the fabric to help cutting and production, a chemical starch will in time damage your cotton with the use of the traditional systems the need for over starching is lost, also we only product smaller number of garment so huge cutting tables are not used and there is no need to worry about fabric movement on the same scale

Hope this helped

Neil

neil on hank dyeing.

bump for general reading--

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k off to cuss him out in PM once more ..

he's just so sexy ..

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I have questions:

So, for Hongkong denim or Thai denim which has similiar look with Japanese denim, same Selvage, does it mean that the HK denim and Thai denim has been made in Vintage Loom as well? or may be right now they have modern machine who does salvage as well?

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as far as I know there's always been "modern" looms that can produce selvage denim. It's not as though after 1970 the ability for tool-and-die companies to produce narrow looms was lost in the mists of time.

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on that note it seems kato has had some old cone mills looms...so that old rumour might well be true (although on a smaller scale and not the huge evis coup that the story told us)

Conie, i think there are plenty of modern shuttle looms in operation these days. selvedge is everywhere.

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Came to this thread from the skull thread. very interesting, very very interesting. So i feel a friendly bump is in order so hopefully some others will read it as well. Thanks for all of the great information Neilfuji nad others. I have been educated on quite a few matters..

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Best reason for becoming denim expert: perfect excuse for looking at people's bums.

damn right haha

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ive been reading this thread from the beginning, and i must say its fascinating. a lot of knowledge to be learned here.

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Hi to all denim heads

so after a long observing/reading different threads I eventually made myself register so that I can share what I know.

This has been a very interesting topic and a lot of knowledge has been poured here over the websites. A lot of questions have definitely been answered but a lot of new ones always pop up.

These days slevage is still the speciality of Japanese mills, who mastered the technique over the years and stayed true to the origins, however they don't have the exclusivity anymore. As sorry as I am to say so there are a lot of Chinese selvage fabrics on the market now. And they actually can do what they wish with it. Add any colour, put writings along the slevage (which is not that unusual in the fine tayloring world - the finest clothes have always the name of them put into the selvedge - eg Zegna). What is more imporant though they did find a way to make selvage on the modern projectile looms opposite to the old shuttle looms. And that is substantial for the productivity of a fabric as most of you know. Projectile looms produce a much wider fabric and yet you still can get the selvege, which in the past was limiting the width of the fabric. On the downside the selvage denim from projectile looms does not have the uniquity of the namesake from shuttle looms. The weave is nearing perfection so you don't get as much irregularities nor slubbiness. Also it is woven much tighter to what you can actually do on the man operated shuttle looms. With the modernization of the process there also came the price decrease. So for a ready to wear 5 pocket jeans trousers with selvage in China one will pay around 15 dollars today (I am talking container loads). That is less then you pay for a square meter of the shuttle loom fabric sometimes.

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