I had recently spent time wearing the Studio D'Artisan "Kasezome" Indigo Sashiko Selvedge Pants. These come in a fit exclusive to OD - the newly-improved Relax Tapered fit. The fit is very comfortable, with ample room in the top block & thighs and finishing with a distinct taper below the knee. This results in a modern silhouette that is flattering and wearable for a variety of occasions. The pants are versatile and could easily be dressed up for office wear or a night out, or worn with sneakers for a more laid back look. This unique garment is quickly becoming one of my favorite pieces and is sure to impress the most critical of indigo fanatics.
The fade potential of this garment is more promising than most due to the knockout combination of sashiko stitching and Kasezome dyeing. Sashiko, (literally defined as ‘little stabs’ or ‘little piercings’) is a form of decorative stitching that originated in Japan out of necessity and practicality during the Edo era (1615-1868). Sashiko has traditionally been used to reinforce old fabrics at their points of wear, or to stitch patches as a form of repair.
For those unfamiliar with Kasezome, it is a dyeing process that has been used for many years in Japan and is one of the oldest methods of dyeing fabrics, dating back to ancient times across different civilizations. Also known as “skein dyeing,” Kasezome involves wrapping undyed cotton yarns loosely around a coil (skein) and hand-dipping it into a vat of dye. This allows the dye to penetrate deep into the core of the fabric while maintaining its texture. The Kazesome technique is quite time-consuming and involves a meticulous level of attention to achieve a consistent shade of coloring across the entire fabric. This method of dyeing yields beautiful results however, especially when the masters from Studio D’Artisan are at the wheel.
Upon receiving my pair of the double indigo version, this garment’s appeal and popularity became immediately apparent. The fabric is extremely satisfying to look at and hold. The intricate sashiko stitching that sits on the entire face of the fabric looks as though a blanket of tiny blue jewels were woven together and then cut into pants.
At 15oz., this fabric feels sturdy and durable yet soft enough that there is no break-in period required. At this weight, it may prove too warm and dense to wear during the summer months but can be worn comfortably for 3 out of 4 seasons throughout the year.
As you might expect, the color of the Kazesome fabric is easily one of its standout qualities. The double indigo dyed sashiko results in a beautiful and deep inky-blue. One of the coolest features is that the shade of these pants will appear to change in different lighting. The same natural light that will make electric blue fades on indigo denim really pop will illuminate these pants in a way that gives them an almost reddish-purple weft appearance. Indoors, I find that the fabric takes on a more of a dark-greyish tint, with the weft looking more like a shade of slate. As sunlight flashes over the fabric, its intricate texture will also become more apparent giving it the illusion of shimmering as you move. Photos really don’t do this pair justice or accurately convey the effect I am describing! Sometimes it looks like a brilliant Lapis blue, and other times it looks like a subdued midnight blue. It is a truly eye-catching fabric that is sure to get tons of compliments.
Along with its gorgeous and mysterious color, texture is another highlight of this fabric. The sashiko texture ranges from subtle to pronounced as you move your fingers along the pants in different directions. Every stitch on this pair of pants is perfectly placed, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that; not a single thread was misplaced on this pair! After 1 week of wear there is already some patina and vertical streaking forming as each deep blue sashiko pearl can potentially fade at a different pace based on how the wearer moves. This is similar to how a pair of really slubby jeans will fade due to the variance in yarns and the slub knots that form. The indigo dye will chip off the fabric at different rates throughout and I am most excited to see how the sashiko stitches will form a three-dimensional gradient consisting of a myriad of indigo shades.
It goes without saying that the quality of these pants is excellent and everything you would expect from a brand like Studio D’Artisan. As one of the famed Osaka 5, Studio D’Artisan has had a long-standing reputation for their obsessive attention to details and maintaining top-of-the-line quality for all of their pieces. The back pocket arcs and the chainstitching throughout are done in a stealth black color and some other details include engraved copper rivets, leather-backed buttons, black herringbone pocket bags and the classic D’Artisan rayon tag. The selvedge ID is also really attractive, featuring two thin red lines on a deep indigo backdrop. There is even a line of sashiko stitching included in the selvedge! This collab is also equipped with a lovely deerskin leather patch featuring intricate artwork by artist Nathan Spoor. The patch promises to age as beautifully as the sashiko fabric itself and adds another layer of creativity to this unique garment.
In summation... This collaboration between Okayama Denim and Studio D’Artisan is inventive and incredible. If you were on the fence about them before, I highly recommend jumping on them next time they are released!
Pictures and words by Yoav Katz