He is the guy that your brand new jeans get sent to when you request a hemming job on a Union Special 43200G. He also has a history spanning back in this industry longer than many of us combined. Meet Yoshi Matsumura, a veteran of the denim industry for more than 30 years, focuses on beautifully crafted embroidery in the heart of Tokyo. Starting in his hometown of Higashi, Osaka with his own denim brand, Toki Yasumi, Matsumura-san entered the industry in 1993 and continues to be a master at his craft. The 43200G Union Special being his weapon of choice, Matsumura-san specializes in detailed and distinct chainstitching in his tailored jeans. His craft extends to chain stitching ornate imagery and scripture on garments. His use of the machine is reputable, and his attention to detail guarantees perfection with each hem. By collaborating with Matsumura-san and his company, Union Pastime, we are able to combine the best in Japanese denim with the best in Japanese tailoring, with every pair purchased at Okayama Denim.
What kind of clients do you currently attract?
I have a range of customers. Most come to me because they want chainstitching and they understand the reasoning behind the chainstitching. But a lot of customers will come to me and ask for chainstitching without knowing what is so special about a quality chainstitched hem . They will have heard the term somewhere and ask for it. I also work with a lot of people in the industry. They’ll bring their products to me and I’ll alter them for the detailed chainstitch. I prefer people who come with me with unique and interesting orders; sometimes I get rivet repair requests, crouch blowouts, tapering orders, etc.
How long has this store been operational?
The store has been up and running for 3 years now, but I have been hemming for almost 20 years now.
What is your favorite denim brand?
My favorite brand is Levi’s. More specifically, I love the Levi’s 501’s XX 1947 and 1955 models. Unfortunately, the originals are too expensive. Although, many people will come to me with their originals for chainstitching and repair.
Do you think the current demand for Japanese jeans will sustain?
I can say for sure, there are definitely more brands now making Japanese jeans than ever before.
When was the first time you used a 43200G Union Special and how long have you been using it for?
The first time I used one was 20 years ago and since then, I came to own 2 machines. The black one is from the 1940s to 1950s and the beige one is from the 1950s and 1960s. The first thing I did with my first machine was tot dismantle the machine and make sure all the pieces were in place. I had to make sure with my own eyes that the machines would achieve perfection. The reason I own two is to make sure both are working perfectly. Just by the loon chatter, I can tell if the machine is working properly. I always compare and make sure that they both sound the same to ensure perfect chainstitches.
Why do you like using the 43200G and why is hemming on one better than other sewing machines?
If you compare the hems of jeans untailored and the hems of those same jeans after I’ve worked with them, you could see just how different and detailed the roping effect is from the original. The machine ensures perfectly spaced and detailed chainstitches that creates a roping effect that’s different from what you’re used to seeing. And the way the machine stitches the hems pulls at the fabric and creates more interesting fades later. A lot of denim fans will go through the process of getting their hems tailored by me just for this detail.