Kansai Trunk Show – West Coast Tour

We are packing up the gear and hitting the road; bringing some new and interesting items to the West coast.

Starting from November 18th I will be showing goods from Tezomeya, Mittan, and Brown Tabby Works.

Los Angeles – Inland Venice

Friday, November 18 4pm-10pm

Saturday, November 19 12pm-6pm

Facebook Event Page

We are still looking for venues to host us in Portland (November 25&26) and Seattle (November 27-29)
This event will feature goods by Brown Tabby, Tezomeya, and Mittan. As well as, paintings by Michael Brunswick, and repair art by me.

San Francisco November 22 – 23rd – Paloma Hayes  

112 Gough St. San Francisco, California 94102

Teusday, November 22nd 5-9 pm

Wednesday, November 23rd Noon – 7pm

Facebook Event Page

We will be bringing a few new Tezomeya items with. This natural dyed mountain parka…

… and this heavy-knit zip-up trainer jacket. And of course our standard organic cotton t-shirts, and woven shirts. Also some new women’s items and a long work jacket.

*old photos taken by my father, scanned by my sister. Please share accordingly.

Kapital | Osaka Store (Hankyu Men’s)

Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 11

Finally Osaka has a Kapital store. It is the 17th store for Kapital, and the 3rd store in the Kansai area. The layout is centered on the Denim Bar, and has many similarities to the Soho store in Kojima. The various types of patchwork wood around the bar and the carved wood adds warmth and texture to the atmosphere.  The seats around the denim bar are entirely made from bicycle parts. The store is on the 5th Floor of the Hankyu Men’s Department Store.

Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 21

Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 6

The Santo Domingo Jacket series comprises of special items available only at the Osaka store for early purchase. Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 14The store encompasses many themes from many different eras. The bulk of the items are in men’s sizes and geared towards male customers but there are of course smaller sizes available for women as well. Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 13 Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 7

There are also some limited Osaka-only items from Kountry. A bag or two, and several clothing items as well.Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 5

The Santo Domingo coverall and 5 pocket pants are also available exclusively at this store. Make sure to check these out when stopping by. Kapital Osaka Hankyu Men's 1

Inspiration 2014 Preview | Brown Tabby Works

There have been more that enough things going on at this hectic time of the year, among them is getting ready for a debut at Inspiration LA this February. I will be introducing folks to two of my friends this year. The first is Narita-san from Brown Tabby in Osaka.

The theme is hoboro a portmanteau of “hobo” and “boro”. So you will see plenty of denim and indigo fabrics, plus plenty of eccentric stitching. There are a few secret surprises that you can look forward to at the show. Take a look at the hat clutch bags, hobo hat and overalls, and boro-bow-ties.

Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 3 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 1 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 2 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 4 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 5 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 6 (1) Inspiration 2014 | Brown Tabby Works 7 (1)

Osaka | Rust – American and Japanese Antiques

Rust Osaka 2013 3

Rust: The inevitable conclusion of metal, moisture, and oxygen. That is the Shibui aesthetic I am always searching for. It is a moment in time for an object to be regarded as an object. The age, the character, the deterioration are the savory flavors of the passage of time. Rust is one of the shibui flavors and colors.

Rust Osaka 2013 20

In the heart of Nipponbashi, just a hairsbreadth from Namba station you will find the small enclave of Rust. The owner Kazumi, changed the space from a cafe to a store a year and a half ago. She is a cute and sweet lady, and her taste for rust runs deep. The products on display are good timeless pieces, nothing extremely rare or ridiculous, affordably priced and in condition that an oxide connoisseur would appreciate. A flea market collection, consisting of American and Nippon antiques. Brass luggage tags, antique parts, BUShips clocks, factory lockers, clamps, and an unimaginable mental mountain of more rusty finds.  Be sure to stop by to chat with her about Osaka and her rusty treasures if you are in the area. Follow this link for directions and location.

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Rust Osaka 2013 9 Rust Osaka 2013 17

“Shibui in Chicago” | Independence Chicago X The Bandanna Almanac

Independence Chicago and this blog have teamed up to bring Chicago a very exclusive look at some special items not available outside of Japan. Readers will be already familiar with the stories and names, but most have never had a hands-on look. I want to extend my thanks to Independence for offering to host this event.

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Independence Chicago
47 E Oak St, Chicago, IL ‎(312) 675-2105
Saturday, July 20th. 3pm-7pm. Google Maps

Items from Tezomeya, in Kyoto.

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A few hand-made items from Narita-san of Brown Tabby
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And more…

Repair | The Hand-Darn

Hand Darning 1

In the last episode the backside patch was featured. This time Narita-san will be demonstrating a completely hand-stitched repair. The hand-darn is the strongest and most time consuming of the repairs I will be featuring.

Start off with good sturdy thread. In this case we used indigo-dyed hemp. The darn repair can be used in knit repairs, especially socks and sweaters. If your jeans get a premature blowout then this is the repair you will want to use, as it can be blended with unfaded fabric easier. I surrendered by self-dyed kakishibu canvas hat for this repair.
Hand Darning 2

A big thick needle will take care of the heavy thread and make weaving it through much easier. Just look at the difference between a standard sewing needle and this darning needle.

Hand Darning (1)

As a note, darning can be done by hand, but so much of the beauty which is part of a hand-darn is lost in the machine. The hand-darn is a beautiful repair, and with enough practice and patience you can make your repairs really special.

First start with a knot on one end of your thread it pull it tight.

Hand Darning 4

The first stitch should be small right next to where the thread came out from the knot hole. The second stitch should come out about 2 or 3 mm from the actual hole (in the example there is no hole). Then bring the thread over the hole and push the needle through the front side about 2 or 3 mm from the hole. Then make another small stitch almost right next to the hole the thread came through. From here you will do the same thing to cover the hole with weft stitches.

Hand Darning 5

Take your time on these and try to get them to line up neatly.

Hand Darning 6

If the hole is not circular don’t worry you can shape the darn as it goes along.

Hand Darning 7

Once you get to the other end of the whole you will push the needle through to the back one more time. Now you will start to weave the warp threads in.

Hand Darning 8

Over under over under, again and again. Remember to push the needle through and back to the front after you finish each row.

Hand Darning 9

Really take your time here and tap the threads into place so it is all neat and tight.

Hand Darning 10

At the end make sure to squeeze the last weave in tight. This will ensure a solid and secure repair.

Hand Darning 11 Hand Darning

Use an embroidery knot to finish the stitch on the reverse-side of the fabric.

Repair | The Front-side Patch

Front-side patch 1

This is the first post in a series on repairing clothing. I chose simple repairs, that you can do at home with either a sewing machine or by hand.

Narita-san of Brown Tabby explained and showed me how to repair worn-out garments. First thing is the design. We dug through his collection of vintage rags some rare Levi’s scraps. We are of the same breed, and we both believe that if you aren’t using it you’re wasting it. So instead of just looking at or collecting vintage clothing we are giving it a new life.

Front-side patch 2

Narita-san chose a scrap and started trimming off the excess fabric and thread. He pointed out that he wanted to keep the worn edge so it blended with the with the wear on the jeans.

Front-side patch 3

Next he went to the machine to start sewing the patch on.

Front-side patch 4

Cotton thread is the best to use in a well-worn repair because the thread will naturally fade and shrink and give a more natural, imperfect aesthetic to the repair. Polyester won’t fade, and definitely won’t look as good as cotton.
Front-side patch 5

Narita-san folded the edges over by hand as he sewed them down. Puckering the fabric and shaping the patch is important to keep the vintage aesthetic and to avoid putting stress on one point of the fabric. This will avoid additional tears and rips from the stress of the stitching around the patch.

Front-side patch 9 Front-side patch 8

Once he sewed one side of the patch he quickly stitched up the rest of it with a buzz of the Juki.
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He ran the stitching around again this time making the stitch lines uneven. The purpose for this is to keep the fade uneven to maintain continuity with the repair and the base denim.The puckered patch also looks more natural and the imperfectness brings out a very unique character to each repair. Front-side patch 7

Personal preference will be a major factor in your repair. The most important thing is to choose your patch fabric to suit your repair.

Denim Repair | 9 and 17 Years of Wear

I have had a few requests over the last few months for repair information and how-to’s. Who better to ask about repairs than Osaka’s own Mr. Narita from Brown Tabby. This post will be an intro to appreciation of repair and reusing old fabric to turn your jeans into something more personal.

Wearing the same pair of jeans for 1 to 3 years is pretty typical nowadays, especially with the current global interest in high quality denim jeans. However consumer behavior doesn’t change all that much even for jeans that cost in excess of 200USD. People like to fade their jeans, but few understand how to repair their own jeans. Over the next week or so, I will be going over how to do just that, simply, and cheaply. No special equipment required.

But first, onto the aesthetic appeal of damage, and repair. Let’s appreciate and respect what we have-

Denim Repairs 1

This first pair is Narita-san’s pair of Warehouse jeans. 9 years of wear and tear. Well-worn and the repairs are impressive. The backside and front-side patching breaks up the indigo and adds more texture to the fade. The puckered patches have their own unique wiskering. The best way of going about repairing jeans at this age is using vintage fabric, to maintain a faded look. This also saves money and wastes less if vintage fabric scraps are used.

Denim Repairs 2

Denim Repairs

This second pair of Warehouse is a masterpiece of 17 years of wear. An unforgettable amount of texture and contrasting colors. If these jeans could talk…

Denim Repairs 3

Even the reverse side is something remarkable. The patching and stitching has so much character, and they are a very true representation of their wearer. Narita-san is an interesting character.
Denim Repairs 4

A stitched-portrait of his daughter on the knee shows his loving side, and also his sense of humor. A mix of machine and hand stitching add so much detail to the fade of the denim.

Denim Repairs 5

The depth and amount of stitching, the variety of vintage fabric used for patches: these jeans are coveted by their owner.  The love and care for these jeans is a reflection of character. It shows his admiration and respect for things, and not to waste. I respect this mindset, we can all learn something from repairing our own clothing and not just tossing or storing it. This is the appeal of boro, having the skills to make something beautiful, unintentionally and naturally.

Albuquerque People

This is a way of saying thanks to the people who bought the Albuquerque Jeans. I tried to personally meet as many of the people who purchased a pair in the first run. Thank you for taking the time and investing your interest into this project. Without the customer I couldn’t conclude the story.

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Osaka | Brown Tabby – Used Clothing and Repair Shop

Tile sign

In the heart of 河内木綿 (Kawachi cotton) country, Brown Tabby is located amongst the industry and factories  of Higashi Osaka. An area with a long history of workwear, dating back to Edo period. The Yamato river was the artery that was later nicknamed the “Cotton Road” on which boats transported short-stem cotton to factories.

Brown Tabby is owned by Mr. Narita, a very knowledgable vintage fanatic. A store with an amazing and unique selection of vintage accessories, hand-made goods, vintage and new clothing, and some really great vintage footwear. But for me the most important thing they do here is repair.

Brown Tabby

The repairs and remade items are finely and authentically detailed. I couldn’t believe one guy is doing all this work on these items. Incredibly good quality workmanship on real vintage pieces. Most are items that were dead stock that other local vintage stores would have a hard time selling. So Mr. Narita sources some really great pieces then repairs and remakes them into remarkably good pieces and reasonable prices. Each piece done one at a time, each one individually distinct.

John Lofgren & Co. | Ashida Shirt & Albuquerque Jeans Progress

Bandana arm

John Lofgren recently produced this extraordinary shirt of shibui origins. The fabric is Bingo Kasuri woven in Fukuyama, Hiroshima; a product that has a long history. A time consuming process, even today it takes one month to produce an original fabric. Introducing: the Ashida Shirt


The of grey-dusty area under the train lines in Nakatsu was the perfect place to feature this refined piece. A sumi base color, is accented with kakishibu stripes(shima), and flecks of indigo and natural white. Albuquerque jeans, slowly fading add a slight contrast. I really enjoy the Japanese folk craft aspect of the cloth paired with the simple workwear shirt design. Tagua palm tree buttons give some cream-coffee softness to the striping. This is one of the few times I have seen kasuri used so well on a shirt. The early morning light in February really brought out the subtle colors. You can read more on Fukuyama Bingo Kasuri here.

Bandana over shoulder

Such a simple shirt but the quality really lies in the details. Run-off chain stitching, and felled seams, perfection.

over shoulder looking


The fabric in some lighting, looks like it is moving while standing still.

sumi and kakishibu

*Special thanks to J. West for the shutter work.

Osaka | Edobori Printing Company

These days printing has been put to the side given the huge advancements in computer technology and digital media. A lot of the art of printing has been lost. The particular quality of materials, the knowledge of the printer, the face-to-face discussion over design etc. – most of it is slowly disappearing.

Ono-san has been in the printing business a long time. They have been a part of the printing industry for ages and have seen the situation change. They started Edobori Printing last year in an effort to preserve and promote the letterpress. They are located in Edobori – Osaka.

The sound of the press whirring and stamping, the printer at the helm of the machine making small corrections – I felt I was in a different time. The letterpress itself is like a mechanical computer. Gears and arms working in perfect industrial harmony. Everything about this felt shibui

From the high quality materials, to the simple design everything had a refinement to it. The printer craftsman leaves no logo or signature or brand-name on his product. But the results are the signature. Clients choose from a very limited selection of high quality paper. They won’t let you make a bad choice.

Through these black and white images I hope you can see more clearly the quality, and craftsmanship in the process.

Harlem Silk Screening | T-Shirts by The Bandanna Almanac

Harlem is the brainchild of Shimpei Saito. This is his 5th year running his screen printing business. Deep in the heart of Kitahorie in Osaka.

I always try to keep things as local as possible, and with people who posses a great attention to detail. Our first project together is this skull design I worked up a few months ago with a brush-pen and a piece of paper. It is incredibly exciting to see my sketches turn into a print. Moreover, it’s really cool to see them on a t-shirt.

The first color we worked on is a rust-red color. Trying to find that dirty beni red. Even though I am working with modern equipment and techniques the colors are incredibly important to get right. The idea was an oxidized rusty lipstick. Similar to a traditional Japanese stamp color.

Time consuming process. Each printed one-by-one. These will be available for sale soon so please keep an eye out for that news on the new Goods page.