Okayama Denim

OD+LW "Bengara" Tompkins Knit Hooded Sweatshirt


  • Limited production run of 58 pieces
  • 100% Cotton
  • Natural Bengara dyed Japanese Tompkins knit fabric
  • Garment dyed
  • Cotton thread sewing construction
  • Slim fit silhouette
  • Vintage-inspired ribbed hood construction
  • Vintage-inspired ribbed Kangaroo pocket construction
  • 4 needle Flat Seam construction
  • Washed fabric (to eliminate shrinkage)
  • Vintage-inspired ribbed cuffs

Celebrating culture while placing natural dyes on a pedestal, our latest design project developed with Japan’s purveyors of “Best Knitwear”, proudly celebrates Japanese, Indian & Portuguese heritage through our latest collaboration venture. As an island nation, Japan retains a rich culture & history steeped in local tradition. Like most things “Japanese” though, the origins are in many cases derived from China and/or other parts of Asia.

The concept of Bengara dyeing is one of these borrowed cultural elements, tracing its roots to the state of Bengal in India, and brought over when the Portuguese first entered Japan.

A mud dye directly derived from Earth’s soil, the etymology of the word Bengara comes from the Bengal region of India, where this local natural dye was first discovered and eventually brought to Japan by the Portuguese.

An ecological & sustainable form of dyeing, the main element within Bengara dye is iron oxide, which is combined with water to create the dye that is hand-kneaded into this article of clothing to coat the fabric with the earthy rust-red color tone. With applications spanning well beyond apparel, Bengara was often used to color lacquerware, ceramics, and even the external wooden walls of traditional Japanese dwellings.

It is well known that Loopwheel is the standard for premium quality when it comes to sweatshirt material, with only two factories left in Wakayama still able to produce the esteemed fabric. But Tompkins is like the new (actually, really damn old) standard, with a single factory in Wakayama left that only allows 1-2 machines to keep running production for Tompkins fabric. The reason? Simple economics - Loopwheel is more profitable, and better known amongst clients, hence easier to sell as fabric and garment.

Want a sweatshirt with an inner that feels like a Lambswool sweater? Tompkins is the answer, look no further. The Tompkins Upright Rotary Knitting Machine, a rare vintage find (especially in Japan), creates a balanced fabric with its slow and steady pace. This produces a fabric that is similar in texture and weight to sweat jersey knit in the late 1800s.

Featuring ribbed construction on the kangaroo pocket, 4 needle flat seam sewing construction & the quintessential vintage hoodie detail, the post attached hood. A detail born out of necessity, athletes & laborers alike wanted protection from the elements, and Champion stitched on hoods to their classic crewneck sweatshirts starting in the late 30s.

While most sweatshirts are produced using a thicker thread (30-ban in Japanese), the production of these Tompkins sweatshirts uses a thinner 40-ban yarn to create a sweatshirt fabric that gives any Loopwheel sweatshirt out on the market a serious run for its money.

*Model is pictured wearing a size M. He weighs 66kg (145 pounds) and is 175cm (5’7”) tall.

**Considering the organic nature of Bengara dye, avoid using alkaline detergents or bleach when washing. As each piece is hand garment-dyed, there may be some slight variance between each sweatshirt. Given the garment-dyed nature of this piece, we would recommend washing this garment alone, or with similar colors.

Size - CM Chest Shoulder Centre Back Sleeve
S 98 44 62.5 60.5
M 109 48 64.5 61.5
L 112 50 66 64.5
XL 116 52 70 66.5
XXL 120 54 72 67
Size - Inches Chest Shoulder Centre Back Sleeve
S 38.6 17.3 24.6 23.8
M 42.9 18.9 25.4 24.2
L 44.1 19.7 26 25.4
XL 45.7 20.5 27.6 26.2
XXL 47.2 21.3 28.3 26.4
 Made in Wakayama, Japan