Having not purchased any denim for some time, I was out of the loop with the latest developments in the denim world. SuFu folks recommended a few brands – repro-focused makers which were little known or barely launched when I stopped keeping in touch with the hobby – all of which I’m keen to try at some point. Denim Bridge, Connor’s Sewing Factory, Boncoura, etc.
Boncoura was the most readily accessible, so here I am with my first pair!
First up…I don’t actually know a whole lot about Boncoura.
From my limited reading of blurbs by Japanese and overseas stockists, I gather that Boncoura was launched in 2011, by designer and former salaryman Hisashi Morishima, out of Osaka. Boncoura’s designs are influenced by early Levi’s, but its jeans are not strict reproductions, and include subtle modern detailing. The brand seems to have a large number of overseas stockists than one might expect for an obscure Japanese start-up…this left me curious as to why.
Let’s take a look.
My initial impressions of the fit & fabric (pre-soak)? This pair of Boncoura 66 kinda reminds me of the old era Denime jeans for some reason. This is a good thing!
The fit is a relatively high-waist slim straight leg with a slight taper. Be warned that the length of Boncoura jeans is on the shorter side – if you are more than 185 cm, Boncoura’s current models will be too short for you.
The fabric is not immediately eye catching, though its qualities become clear once it is handled. The denim is 14.5 oz pre-soak, mildly irregular, with a superb hand. It is somewhat stiff pre-soak, but handles softly. In this respect the denim reminds me of some of Cone Mills’ better denims. Signet says the cotton is a blend of American and Australian…whatever the blend is, the outcome has been excellent. Apparently Morishima-san had the denims customised from the cotton up, producing in small quantities on an old power loom.
Post-soak, the denim tightens, darkens and becomes somewhat hairy.
The indigo is fairly dark and consistent – looks the shade of pure indigo, and from the way it’s rubbing off, I dare say it is rope dyed. The selvedge is somewhat unusual – white at first glance, but on closer inspection it is a light shade of purple. The colour really pops post-soak.
Looking at the stitch-work and how the jeans had been put together puts a smile of my face. Obviously Morishima-san is a man who is obsessive and detail focused. The stitches are very well done, as neat and clean as any I have seen over the past 11 years of collecting pants – on par with Real Japan Blues, The Flat Head, Satobiki-line Sugar Canes, etc. A variety of different stitches and variously sized threads are used…again, very clean & very neatly sewn.
Which ever workshop made these pants had been paying extra attention to their garments! Check out that inseam. Look at the button holes. Details!
Let’s consider the peripherals.
The patch is made of a very nice leather, I’m guessing deerskin.
The design has been beautifully printed, and I’m really digging the patch.
You know sometimes our favourite repro brands all have quirks in their patches? Samurais, typos, snakeskin?
Not Boncoura. The leather is high quality. The print is well done. The design is classic and elegant.
The patch speaks to me about the qualities of Boncoura: No frills. Just basic things done thoughtfully, and done well on a vintage typing machine.
The front pockets are made of shirting grade herringbone. One of the highest quality pocket cloths I’ve seen. I’d wear a shirt made out of this herringbone!
To the hardware. Well, they are damned nice!
All the buttons and rivets are solid & custom-made for Boncoura. Out of the 20+ pairs of Japanese jeans I have hanging next to me, Boncoura’s hardware would be somewhere in the top 5. I can’t wait to see how they might age.
The belt loops, whilst not raised, are neatly and securely attached.
All in all, very impressed by Boncoura’s jeans.
At 30,000 yen, they are slightly more expensive than the average offering from our favourite Japanese brands, but the money goes to where it matters – quality of materials, attention to crafting, and thoughtful design work.
These jeans are no frills, certainly – you won’t find coloured wefts, extra large slubs or exotic patches.
Boncoura will likely appeal to the seasoned denim hobbyist, people with obsessive focuses on quality and craftsmanship.
Beginner hobbyists will likely find more satisfaction with quirkier brands like Oni or Samurai.