Don’t Mourn, Organize – Horsehide wallet, 6 years.

This wallet is almost 6 years old.

Made by Scott at Don’t Mourn, Organize out of Horween’s natural vegetable tanned horsehide and handmade sinew thread.

It was more of an experimental piece, to test the ruggedness and neatness of a sinew thread.

My brother has used this wallet as his back-pocket billfold on a daily basis, with no maintenance or cleaning at all. The only feeding was done by me after 12 months.

It’s had some pretty hard wear, with parts of the grain worn off. This is not necessarily how I would treat my own leather goods, but it is authentic as far as my brother’s personality and views regarding his dry goods go.

Got some cool patina or wear on your leathers? E-mail them to me, and I’ll put it up on this blog!

Don’t Mourn, Organize – Horsehide wallet, 6 years.

Okayama Denim x Japan Blue ODJB001 “Sapphire Slub” collaboration jeans review

I’ve been waiting for the second run of the Okayama Denim x Japan Blue ODJB001 “Sapphire Slub” collaboration jeans since Okayama Denim indicated there would be a re-release a couple of months ago.

Previously, I had been pleasantly surprised by Japan Blue’s JB0626 “Godzilla” jeans – reviewed here – even though they were the cheapest jeans in my collection, I had been wearing the Godzilla more than any other pair of jeans due to the superb fit and the very curious fabric. This “Sapphire Slub” jeans being reviewed today shares the same cut and a very similar weave with the Godzilla, the major difference being the colouring of the weft.

If you are interested in the background to Japan Blue, please have a look at the Godzilla jeans review linked above. Otherwise, let’s check out the Sapphire Slub!


The cut of this collaboration jeans is Japan Blue’s high-tapered cut, which is the same as that featured on the JB0626 Godzilla jeans.

To summarise from the previous review of the Godzilla jeans, the high-tapered cut provides a fairly modern, ‘lifter’s’ style fit: medium to high rise, plenty of room in the top block, fitted but not tight in the thighs, with an aggressive taper from just above the knees down to the hem.

With this cut, you could technically cuff the hem, but it just doesn’t look right given the narrowness of leg opening. I am 6’1”, and there is a small amount of stacking.

When I wear this high-tapered fit, there is a moderate amount of whiskering and heavy honeycombing.

Below is how the high-tapered cut fits after the first wash and 1.5 month of wear (Godzilla featured):


This ‘Sapphire Slub’ denim is an 18 oz sanforised fabric from Collect Mill, woven on a shuttle loom.

The warp yarns are rope dyed with pure synthetic indigo, whereas the weft yarns are dyed to the core with a blue dye. This interesting colour combination, when added with the slubby and uneven weave, is the headliner for this collaboration.

Just like the Godzilla denim, this Sapphire Slub is deliberately slubby – this is not loom-chatter, but purposefully programmed into the weave of the denim in combination with the use of slub yarns in the weft. In conjunction with the uneven warp, the resulting interplay of texture and colours is very interesting…perhaps a little overwhelmingly blue!

Due to the blue on blue colouring and the uneven nature of the weave, it is a little difficult to examine the texture on the warp side visually. The denim on a macro level is relatively hairless and starchy, feeling a little thinner and more rigid than other 18 oz denims perhaps due to the sanforisation process.

Instead of the “lakes of blue on dry land” type of aesthetic on the Godzilla jeans, the Sapphire Slub looks more like streaks of luminescent blue on a dark ocean of indigo. It is fascinating how a change in weft colouration can produce such dramatic differences in the overall look of the denim.

Expect 3% or less in shrinkage after first warm wash.


The ODJB01 is relatively well made, sewn with tonal polyester threading. The sewing is neat overall, although it lacks the more subtle details featured on higher end Japanese jeans – features such as cotton threading of different sizes and colours, or the use of extra-thick chain-stitch in the seat.

What the Sapphire Slub does better than the Godzilla though, is the fact that dual-tone chainstitch is featured, for example along the waistband where there is a dark navy/light blue thread combo.

The tonal stitching does lend to a more understated appearance, though the natural leather patch does sit in contrast with the rest of the jeans.

There are no faults that I could find. Areas of strain were nicely bartacked.

The pockets are reasonably sized. The back pockets will easily accommodate a billfold, whilst a middle wallet may poke out by 1 cm or so. The front pockets will accommodate smart phones, though the shape and the tighter opening makes it a little difficult to put my hands in them completely

The belt loops are cleanly attached, but a little on the narrow side.

The hems and seams are neatly closed.

Hardware & Peripherals

The leather patch is made with a 3 mm natural vegetable tanned leather from Tochigi tannery that is full grain with good grain growth. The logos for Okayama Denim and Japan Blue are featured. The stitching of the patch is done with tan coloured thread, in contrast with the rest of the jeans.

This patch allows for a belt to be inserted underneath, but is too narrow for my heavy workbelts.

The Sapphire Slub features Japan Blue’s antiqued brass hardware, with the buttons and rivets featuring custom embossing but plain backings. The quality of the hardware is very good, especially considering the price tier. The buttons are fixed donuts. The rivets are punch-thru with rounded heads.

Again, as with the Godzilla jeans, I would have liked to see hidden rivets make an appearance.

The sashiko pocket fabric is very interesting, and adds to the Japanese flair of these jeans, pushing the Sapphire Slub further away from reproduction Americana.


Overall, I would say the ODJB01 Sapphire Slub is a very interesting pair of jeans. It features one of my favourite fits (Japan Blue’s high-tapered) and also a cool fabric.

In considering collaboration jeans, often times you’ll find that dealers or retailers may simply change the cut or minor peripheral details, making it more of a marketing exercise or to cater for local flavours…but the Sapphire Slub is an earnest collaboration, going as far as changing aspects of the denim itself.

The construction is basic but clean, without significant flaws or faults; the tonal, dual-coloured stitching is a nice touch.

The denim itself pushes the boundaries of what purists would consider to be workwear denim, and as such this offering from Japan Blue is firmly placed in the Japanese tradition rather than having too much to do with Americana, besides it being a pair of jeans. I really like both the Sapphire Slub denim and the Godzilla denim and at $180 USD each, I believe that they are the most interesting Japanese denims available in the <$200 USD price bracket.

It remains to be seen how this Sapphire Slub denim will age in the long run – limited examples may be viewed at r/rawdenim. But if the Godzilla denim is anything to go by, the Sapphire Slub will fade relatively quickly.

With all this praise, I must say that there is perhaps room to improve. Hidden rivets would be a welcomed addition. Further, thicker & raised belt loops and a variation in thread sizing would really enhance the detailing and geek-factor for these jeans.

All in all, the Sapphire Slub is very cool collaboration between Okayama Denim & Japan Blue that would appeal not just to new comers to the denim hobby but also more seasoned denimheads who are interested in unique fabrics or coloured wefts. The Sapphire Slub is sleek, nicely cut, neatly made and you get a lot of Japanese denim for what you’re paying.

I am really looking forward to seeing how the Sapphire Slub will age, but also I’m excited about future releases of this high-tapered cut in other cool denims too.

Okayama Denim x Japan Blue ODJB001 “Sapphire Slub” collaboration jeans review

Corlection – select pieces

Second part to my recent visits to Corlection in Melbourne’s central business district – here are a few choice pieces of leathercraft that caught my eye!

First up are a couple of Kawatako higher-end middle wallets, specifically the ones made of waxy Japanese bridle. The ‘Feather of Crow’ is my favourite, and has a fantastically deep blue colour, contrasted below with the ‘Ink’ version:

I have to say though, that The Flat Head’s (TFH) offerings have better craftsmanship compared with Kawatako’s goods. TFH’s pieces are more expensive, of course.

First up from TFH is a Japanese bridle long wallet, featuring silver hardware and sinew hand-stitch:

You can see that both the stitch-work and the actual thread are of higher caliber compared with the Kawatako.

The hardware used is also incredibly nice!

The inner is no joke either:

The past couple of years The Flat Head has been creating quite a few pieces out of a custom Shinki shell cordovan – this stuff has a nicer colour and hand compared with other Shinki shells I’ve handled:

Finally, it’s nice to see some of Kurt’s pieces in Australia – here is a S.F.K. wallet with a interesting design:

Pretty cool to see all these leather brands in one place. Especially the higher end pieces by The Flat Head are fairly rare to find outside of Japan, and overall I would say TFH are making the best leathercrafts out of the brands carried at Corlection.

Check them out at Corlection.

Corlection – select pieces

Special Project Page

Every so often I will try to organize cool group buy projects, usually some unique piece made of leather.

You can view the basic details of current & past projects on the Projects Page via this blog’s menu.

^ This is not the project boot by the way, just a hint…

Currently, planning for the next project is underway🙂

The specifications are not confirmed just yet, but this will be a boot project involving high-end American work boots and a special leather.

Hopefully, I will be able to show you the proof-of-concept boot very soon. As the project matures, I will post more details & photos on this blog and also on Superfuture.

Stay tuned!


Help plan this project! Take the preferences survey in the link below🙂


2nd Edit:

Sign up thread now on Superfuture.

E-mail me to be put onto the list.

Special Project Page

Rolling Dub Trio x Mushman’s collaboration Coupen boots review

Rolling Dub Trio (RDT) is a work boot brand from Japan.

Despite being relatively new – established only in 2007 – RDT already has a few models which have become classics in the workwear scene, such as the ‘Whale’ oxford shoe and the ‘Giraffe’ engineer’s boot.

The ‘Coupen’ low work boot, however, is their signature model.

Many RDT retailers would usually have a couple of custom Coupen make-ups in stock every year, in addition to the standard, plain-toe CXL black & brown offerings.

When I heard that Mushman’s store was doing a collaboration Coupen boot with RDT, I was immediately interested. Pre-orders were taken earlier this year and the boots were shipped late September.

My somewhat impulsive purchase was due to the fact that the collaboration boot is a little different from all the other Coupens, and has benefited from Mushman’s close association with the Badalassi Carlo tannery of Tuscany, Italy.

Xmas has come early🙂

Let’s take a look at the Rolling Dub Trio x Mushman’s collaboration Coupen boots!


The Coupen is a true “low work boot”, a style of shoe which is exceedingly rare nowadays. The only other well known low work boot is perhaps Lone Wolf’s ‘Sweeper’.

This Coupen features full Goodyear welting, single layer leather mid-sole, 5 antiqued eyelets, rolled leather laces, contrast white threads, single/double/triple stitching, leather lined vamp, collar with pinking, one-piece heel counter and plain toe.

Shape & Fit

The shape is somewhat longer, rounder and narrower than most American work boots and English country shoes. The last shape is rounded and tall, with the boot having a small upturn, resulting in a fairly interesting aesthetic.

At true to Brannock’s size (TTS) the Coupen will fit well with thick socks. The heel is relatively chunky, so for me most of the hold is from the mid-foot forward. The toe box is just right in width, and fairly roomy vertically. I would recommend sizing down by 0.5 size if you plan to wear them with thin or medium socks.

The Coupen does not feature the strong arch support of some American makers, as they are designed to accommodate the typical East Asian foot, which is flatter. Westerners beware when purchasing Japanese boots – they will prove uncomfortable and fatiguing if you have particularly high arches.


The leather used here is a special one indeed.

Regular versions of the Coupen are made with Horween’s Chromexcel (CXL) cattlehide. This collaboration pair is instead made with Badalassi Carlo’s ‘Minerva Liscio’ leather in cognac, measured by me at 2 mm (5 oz).

Badalassi’s Minerva leather is their top of the range vegetable tanned, full grain leather. It is hand-dyed after tanning, and finished by hand-stuffing with a currying mix containing high amounts of neatsfoot oil. The result is a leather that has a brilliant but natural colour and a fine grain, with the character of the hide on full display. The ‘Liscio’ (‘Smooth’) version is featured, instead of the ‘Box’ version (where the grain is shrunk post tanning).

The hand is smooth but not slippery, with moderate rigidity when new. The oil content appears to be medium to high.

I definitely prefer this leather to CXL. The Minerva has a nicer colour, finer grain, better depth in colour & shine and is very much classier. CXL is a retanned leather that is much oilier compared with the Minerva, and so CXL is probably much more water resistant as a result of the tannage and stuffing…the Minerva is prettier though. I have seen the Coupen made with CXL of the same tan colour, and the CXL is certainly patchier and more uneven in the grain, looking a fair bit coarser.


The construct?

It is next-level in terms of work boots!

As you can see in the many photos above, the work is finer and more precise compared to the North American workboot makers by whom RDT has been inspired. I know this is a pretty big statement, and is bound to make some people uncomfortable…but you simply must take a close look at these Coupen boots and hold them in your hands, as these are something else.

Unlike the recently reviewed Truman Boot Co. boots and my other American boots which have a few minor cosmetic faults, this pair of Coupen’s have no such issues. No less rugged, just more carefully made.

The only nicer workboots I’ve seen would be White Kloud’s custom offerings, which cost nearly twice as much.

Sole Unit & Misc.

The outsole is no less well made. The heels are deadstock Cat’s Paw. The soles are cork nitrile, though with the front end shaved and flushly attached to leather quarter-soles which is in turn attached to custom metal taps.

This version features a single layer leather mid-sole.

This boot is seriously over-built, with no element overlooked🙂

The tongue is dead centre, and doesn’t move around when worn.

The collar is fully pinked, with the placement and stitching holding perfectly.

The inside of the shoe is no less neat, and features leather-lined vamp and leather heel-pads.

I was a very happy camper wearing these boots on the first day.

The Coupen is almost perfect…almost.

Perfect, until the leather lace on the right boot inexplicably broke on the second day of wear.

I suspect the rolled leather lace was too ‘wet’ (over-oiled), which adversely affected the strength and structural integrity of the lace.

Oh well~~~

Temporarily rescued with Buaisou’s natural indigo cotton laces.

I’ve ordered some flat waxed cotton lacing on advice of fellow boot-friend Ray Lansburg, but I’m liking this indigo + cognac combo more and more.


All in all, the Rolling Dub Trio x Mushman’s Badalassi Carlo cognac Minerva Luscio Coupen boot is almost perfect. This Coupen is certainly the nicest low work boot I’ve ever handled, and might I say both the boot and the leather look amazing.

It’s not only one-tier above Lone Wolf’s Sweeper boot, but also finer than the regular versions of the Coupen due to Badalassi’s Minerva leather.

Everything from the packaging to the construction of the sole are considered and carefully executed. The Coupen manages to be rugged yet refined at the same time. Even though Rolling Dub Trio has taken inspiration from the heritage of Americana, their Japanese spirit is certainly strongly expressed in the finer details.

There is nothing I dislike about the Coupen, apart from the leather laces breaking:-/

At 65000 yen +/- tax + shipping, this Coupen boot is certainly not cheap. I am aware that this is much cheaper than the bespoke European & Japanese shoes that some readers may favour, but do keep in mind these are work boots.

Certainly, if you’re after value, then RDT’s offerings are not for you. If you must have Japanese boots and money is a consideration, you’ll be much happier buying Lone Wolf’s offerings at one price-tier below. I’m guessing that if you’re buying Made in Japan, however, value is probably not your most important consideration.

For Japanese work boots under $1K, I’d strongly recommend having a look at Rolling Dub Trio’s Coupen boot – a finer low work boot I have not seen!

Rolling Dub Trio x Mushman’s collaboration Coupen boots review

Tochigi “waxed flesh” belt

A few years ago when Japanese steerhide was being hyped I purchased a simple, but well made belt from Free-Mart, made from Tochigi’s natural vegetable tanned leather (saddle-type).

A couple of months in, I was disappointed by how the leather had aged…it went dark brown real quick, with a fairly mottled & uneven surface. Thinking about it now, many saddle leathers from the Americas and Europe, in my opinion, are of a higher quality than Tochigi’s basic veg tanned leather.

Anyway, I’ve recently rediscovered this belt in a storage box in my garage, so I thought I might experiment with it. I tried my hand at making “waxed flesh“:

I progressively sanded the the leather grain, starting from P50 to P3000.

Yes, it took a lot of time…I was having some trouble sleeping, you see.

Applied two coats of oil dye. Then wiped down and sun-dried.

Also polished up a buckle for this project – an old, somewhat crusty, but immensely solid Dolce Vita buckle polished with P6000…took a while, but looks like new🙂

Finally, the strap was finished with wax.

I suppose the idea is that both the wax finish and the dye will wear & fade over time…will be interesting to see how this turns out.


Tochigi “waxed flesh” belt