It was a nice day that day, sun shining with breezes of wind; I slowly walked over to Star Street from Admiralty station to visit the Japanese Denim brand 45r’s exhibition and artist demonstration. Still wondering about what the demonstration is as I get to the door; my photographer arrives sweating hot from his travel route. We both entered the store, and it was immediate that we both loved the surrounding as the two- floored store is relaxed with its wooden interiors and creamy calm colors.
On the bottom floor is the store area where the brand’s new collection hangs neatly on racks, ready for sale. Cozy and clean, a variety of jeans are hung on the second floor where the exhibition takes place, with each of them looking very different to each other in detail.
This Japanese brand might not be recognized by the general local public, but its quality, uniqueness and speciality with jeans are widely respected in Japan.
Their jeans are spun from specific Zimbabwean and Suvin cotton, two of the highest quality cottons due to its pesticide- free harvest techniques and geographically scarce environments for growth.
Organic and rare, the cottons are dyed only with natural plant ingredients “Sukumo” by the 45r team, maximizing its eco friendly element and enhance the sturdiness of their threads.
From that, the cottons are spun and produced into their different graded jeans. With the lowest grade priced at around $2000 HKD, the top grade can get to $10,000 a pair. Might seem ridiculous to some, one must understand the process that their jeans go through to realize how they are able to market their products as such a price range.
Instead of using a single thread, they use double thread spinning which delivers better comfort and higher durability. The stitches are done intertwined instead of by single stitches, giving better detail and a completely different aesthetic appearance.
Their pair of jeans literally grows with the wearer, with their history in production spanning back to the 1980s and the actual materiality morphing with the wearer’s habit.
The washing frequency affects the color and folds on the jeans, which therefore makes your pair of 45r completely different from someone else’s. Their staff’s years old jeans are also on display to showcase to guests what it really means for 45r to grow with you.
Their focus on staying organic carries onto the look for every pair of jeans. Instead of putting their denims through factory washing to achieve faded color effects and cat whisker textures; 45r artist draws on the jeans to create that effect.
Jaws dropping to the ground, me and my photographer were both in denial when we saw how artist Shigeki Takekawa created the tones on the jeans with just a hand towel and diluted bleach.
Building up the colors by revisiting different areas on the jeans, it’s very much like drawing on a canvas, only that what you drew stays invisible until the chemical reaction takes place. A very hands on process, Takekawa san says it takes up to 2 hours to complete a new look for a single pair of jeans.
Learning so much about the art of denims, it seems like Japanese brands are always so hard working, catering to details that most people oversee. 45r is not only a pure jeans and fashion brand, but more so a company of denim and production artistry.
The Exhibition is also opened to public at 45r Flagship Store from now until the 31st of August.
Monday to Friday: 12:00pm- 21:00pm
Saturday: 11:00am- 21:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am- 20:00pm
G/F, 7 Star Street, Wanchai
Written by Joyce Tsang