The other day I found a pair of H&M raw denim jeans, in the pile of jeans in the closet, a pair I bought some time ago. I had the intention to compare them with a pair of raw selvedge denim, of a higher quality. I wore them for a day while I had to do some small repairs, on my Studio D’artisan DM-002. I had some problems with the H&M pair, this was that they were, very lightweight, 2% stretch, they didn’t have the details that almost all other denim has and then they were non-selvedge. I know that there’s nothing wrong with: lightweight jeans, stretch jeans, no details and non-selvedge. But after many years with a great interest in raw selvedge jeans, I didn’t feel right in these H&M jeans and will likely not wear them again.
And what does this have to do with a pair of Pure Blue Japan X Blue Owl Workshop.?
From I opened the package from Blue Owl Workshop, I witnessed a pair of jeans that stand out from the crowd. And once again I have to say that jeans under 14, 15oz really really isn’t for me this time around. This pair of PBO-001 comes in at 18oz and has a very comfortable weaving and thereby weight.
This is my first pair of Pure Blue Japan jeans, and I had very high expectations for them. Partly because of the reputation that PBJ has in the denim community but also because of the higher price point compared to other MIJ jeans. Pure Blue Japan is known for using vintage shuttle looms and their natural dyeing techniques, which results in a very irregular and unique denim. Also, the lovely detail of an embroidered indigofera plant (an owl on these) on the back pocket gives a detail to Pure Blue Japan that stands out a bit.
Info about the jeans
- 18oz unsanforized indigo/indigo raw selvedge denim, with a black overdye layer.
- The “Slim Tapered” fit from Pure Blue Japan has a medium rise and is slightly slim in the top block with a strong taper from the thigh down.
The inaugural instalment in the Pure Blue Japan x Blue Owl Workshop collaboration series pushes the boundaries of Pure Blue Japan’s extensive denim catalogue.
(Obtained from Blue Owl.)
Details to the pair
- A collaboration between Pure Blue Japan and Blue Owl Workshop
- Embroidery of Blue Owl’s logo on the one back pocket
- Collaboration patch of Grey deerskin leather
- A blue selvedge line and a coin pocket selvedge
- Custom branded nickel button fly
- Hidden back pocket copper rivets
- Raised belt loops
- Chain-stitched hems
- Made in Japan
The PBO-001 have the classic Pure Blue Japan details, the indigofera leaf that normally decorates the right back pocket is replaced with Blue Owls logo. The owl is white with a red edge around it. It gives the PBO-001 a special detail that stands out a bit. It will be interesting to see how it evolves with the jeans.
Pure Blue Japan was founded in 1997 through Kenichi Iwaya’s passion for denim. Now approaching twenty years in business, the brand has earned its place on the small list of artisan manufacturers that are widely considered the best in the world. With excruciating attention to detail in every step of the process from dying, to weaving, to sewing and hardware, Pure Blue Japan truly earns their prestige.
(Obtained from Blue Owl.)
The PBO-001 also has a custom leather patch, that accommodates the jeans in a good way. If the patch was a “normal” colour like tan, I think that there would be too much of colour difference on the back of the pants. This darker grey is doing well with the dark tone of the jeans.
The selvedge line is blue and again, this is a solid pick for this pair. That’s because the Indigo X Indigo with a black overdye layer works well with this brighter blue colour.
Overall its like there have been thought a lot about the details for the PBO-001. You get the feeling that there is a clear red thread throughout the jeans and its details.
Fit & Measurements
I use the following method for the measuring.
Towards the fit, I was really uncertain about what model to get, slim/tapered or relaxed/tapered?. I emailed Blue Owl with some pictures of my Naked & Famous – MIJ 4 and measures of that pair. I got a really fast reply from Blue Owl, that suggested a size 32 in the slim/tapered fit. I went with the suggestion and are pretty satisfied with the fit, it is a bit big all around but with a soak, they will surely shrink to a satisfying fit. They only point that isn’t optimal for me is the hem opening its 7,5 Inch and this is just a bit too big for my liking, but they will hopefully get smaller with a soak.
I’m a sucker for indigo/indigo and indigo/black, that’s one of the reasons I chose this pair. 18 oz Indigo/indigo with a black overdye layer that’s also very irregular, that sounds impressive and will be very interesting to wear.
The Fabric of the PBO-001 has a very loose weave, as can be seen in the picture beneath.
After the soak I will be sure to take some pictures, to see if the fabric of the PBO-001 has pulled together. Towards the dyeing process, I have gotten the impression that almost all Japanese brands put great pride in this process. Pure Blue Japan is one of them and their dyeing process can be described as an art form.
For a great look at the universe of Pure Blue Japan and their dyeing process, see the short documentary from Red Bull: See video.
All the work that goes into a jean, are rated from the moment you hold them in your hands. This pair of Pure Blue Japan delivers just from that second.
From the moment, I opened the package and first got to hold the PBO-001, you can feel that this is a special pair. They got that heavy fell but at the same time they have a very irregular/slubby feel, with a lot of air so they are not like a real heavy pair. They are made of 18 oz unsanforized, that have undergone a multilayer dye process, where the indigo warp yarn has been overdyed in black. This means that first, PBO-001 will fade from black to blue, then from blue to white. And to top that the pair has, as mentioned above, a real irregular/slubby feel to it.
The PBO-001 has no errors and, has a very clean construction. All in all, this is a killer pair of jeans, and I’m looking forward getting to wear them.
The only minor bad thing about the PBO-001 is, that they are stated as having a “strong taper”. And from my point of view they have a slight taper, and even though they are unsanforized they will not shrink to the state where they will have a strong taper.
One question that could be asked is “are the PBO-001 worth 350$?”. The answer to this depends on your take and stage in the raw denim universe. If you are new in the denim world, I wouldn’t suggest a pair like these. They are a couple of oz’s heavier than what I think you should start out with. And then the fact that they are indigo/indigo with the layer of black, again a little too special for a newcomer in the denim world.
But if you are in the stage of your denim life where you have tried a lot of different brands, fabrics, weights etc. Then the PBO-001 is definitely a pair you should look into.
One of the most interesting things, to look forward to is the black overlayer that they have and how they will look when they begin to fade.
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Get a pair, check out Blue Owl Workshop.
When you purchase a pair of PBO-001, you can participate in the #PBJBOW001 Fade Contest, Where there are prizes for more than 1500$ to use at Blue Owl, and who cant use that?