The name is long and confusing – the Real Japan Blues x The Flat Head x Corlection Lot. 2109 collaboration jeans – so let’s break it down:
Those among us who are particular about details and materials will likely have an appreciation for The Flat Head (TFH), which this year celebrates 20 years of manufacturing denim and related goods out of Nagano. 1950s Americana is their game, and they do it well.
Real Japan Blues (RJB) is a sister brand by the mastermind behind TFH, Masayoshi Kobayashi. RJB has a focus on adding experimentation and fashion-forwardness into the mix of vintage reproduction, and the obsessiveness of their craft is easily discernible in their garments and goods.
Corlection is a specialist denim shop located in Sydney, with an additional branch in Melbourne. They carry many of the familiar Japanese denim brands, but stock a particularly large selection of TFH denims and goods, including leather crafts such as cordovan wallets and horsehide shoes that are seldom seen outside Japan.
OK, so now that the name has been reviewed, onto the pants~
The fit can best be described as a slim fit with a moderate taper. It has a medium rise, with decent room in the top block & thighs. Overall, a modern cut with good comfort levels, works well for people with larger thighs.
The denim is a very interesting one indeed. I was browsing and handling dozens of different jeans at Corlection – hoping to pick up a pair of Jelados or Skull Jeans which were on sale – but the fabric on this pair of jeans simply captured my attention, and I saw nothing else.
It was the texture I first noticed: Irregular, moderately slubby, yet smooth to touch.
The handling was also exceptional, which I later was able to attribute to the use of hand-picked extra-long staple Zimbabwe cotton in the warp and weft. I suppose being Left Hand Twill also helps.
The denim is unsanforised, rope dyed with pure indigo, and has a moderate thickness at 14.25 oz pre-soak. It had a steel grey tone which lightened to hairy electric blue after wash & wear. This denim was designed to fade relatively quickly, with strong vertical fading.
Less than a handful of denims in my collection could compare to the handle, the curiosity, the technicality and the luxury of this fabric. This is a marvelous cloth indeed!
The construction and quality of make in these jeans are formidable also.
As you can see in the mix of pre- and post-wash photos here, the folks at TFH/RJB take their work seriously. The colours, sizes, and sturdiness of the stitches are no less than what we’ve come to expect from RJB. Every aspect is smooth, clean and reinforced. The make of these jeans, much like the fabric, is at the next level. This is not reproduction work…the idea seems to be using the best techniques to make a pair of pants as perfectly as possible.
There are many little details I’m still discovering, and you might see a few in the photos here.
The peripherals are very interesting on this pair.
The arcuates and top iron button are from TFH. The punch-thru copper rivets and the rest of the iron buttons are customed for RJB. Regardless of the branding, the hardware utilised are extremely high quality.
RJB signature embroidery is found on the back right pocket, with a corresponding RJB label sewn onto the coin pocket.
Corlection has added it’s own twist to the mix, by having the arcuates and hem chainstitching done in the unusual turquoise colour – a representation of opal, one of the most significant gem stones of Australia.
The leather patch is made from very nice deerskin which washes very well. The logo is a bit unusual, as is the turquoise on black design. I have to say the patch is perhaps slightly undersized.
The pocket cloth is plain white twill fabric, which handles nicely. Given the nature of this collaboration, I was slightly disappointed at not finding a funny Australian print…but otherwise the twill is good quality and comfortable.
Due to the insane amount of detailing, the back-side of these jeans can look a bit too busy when new. However, with a wash and some wears, the denim turns a brighter shade of blue, and the turquoise arcuates no longer stand out too much.
I am very glad, though, that Corlection had not chosen to use the new suede arcuates that many TFH jeans now have. I prefer the classic stitched arcuates.
Would I recommend these jeans?
My own preferences for fun fabrics, quirky details, solid construction and comfortable, tapering cut are well represented in this pair. This combination is hard to come by, and any of the Osaka 5 will usually have one or two aspects of their jeans that don’t particularly pique my interest…it is rare to find a pair that meets all my criteria.
The recommendation also extends to most of the TFH and RJB jeans that are currently being produced, on which you will find the same obsessive concern with regards to detailing, materials and construction.
Real Japan Blues, in particular, is possibly my favourite Japanese brand at this point in time.
If you share my enthusiasm, I would recommend keeping an eye out for Corlection’s newest collaboration with TFH & RJB (too skinny for my build), as well as a similar three-way collaboration that Rivet and Hide will be stocking in the next couple of months.
Of course, given the quirkiness of this pair and how busy the details may appear, this special edition jeans will not appeal to everyone. Reproduction and Americana enthusiasts in particular may be better served by The Flat Head’s regular models. Finally, this funky collab is more than twice as expensive as entry level Japanese denims such as Japan Blue; if you are new to this hobby, it may be better value to start somewhere else.
9/10 with a veg tanned belt 🙂