THE SELVEDGE YARD PRESENTS | BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE

I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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THE PRPS NOIR COLLECTION | VINTAGE REINTERPRETED, WORLD CLASS DENIM

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The PRPS NOIR Collection is not about black denim. Noir utilizes the best selvedge denim fabrics available anywhere in the world– with incredibly extensive washes and old school wear, tear & repair details that are authentic to genuine vintage jeans painstakingly collected over the years worn by real miners, mechanics, and laborers alike. Each jean is handmade and can take up to a week to produce. No one is doing denim at this same level. Noir represents the best of PRPS– true collector’s items.

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My Friend Donwan Harrell of PRPS gave me a preview of his yet to be released denim line–Noir. Almost 10 years later, PRPS continues to innovate and evolve denim like no one else. In fact, you can thank Donwan in large part for the Japanese denim phenomenon that we have today– he was the the first American to manufacture jeans in Japan, using Japanese fabric and Japanese construction. No one else was doing it. In the founding days of PRPS, Donwan set out to find the best quality selvedge denim in the world, and it wasn’t at Cone Mills– it was Okayama, Japan. (Back then Cone was really struggling just to stay alive, facing stiff pricing competition from Turkey, India, China– and the whole “Americana, US heritage brands, made in USA” menswear movement hadn’t happened yet, so there wasn’t the appetite like we have today for American selvedge denim from all the denim brands that have cropped-up in recent years…) In search of the old vintage looms, Donwan found a family there that for generations had been keeping the quality and heritage of old school selvedge denim alive. One thing that many don’t realize is that Japanese weaving technology has long been light-years ahead of much of the world. The old Toyoda and Sakamoto shuttle looms dating back many decades were much more advanced than the Draper looms that Cone Mills utilized for Levi’s.

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ANCIENT ART OF THE JAPANESE TEBORI TATTOO MASTERS | INK IN HARMONY

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Taking off from JFK today for a two week trip that will take me on a quick stop at Tokyo, then on to Korea, China, and finally Hong Kong.  The zen and artistry of Japanese tattoo has long fascinated me, and with this trip, this post seemed only fitting.

“Oguri, known in Japan as Horihide, his tattooing name, is a famous artist and highly regarded as the pioneer that brought Japanese tattooing to American tattooists, like Sailor Jerry, and subsequently Ed Hardy, after World War II. Thus setting the stage for large Asian body suit tattoo design to change the face of western tattooing in the last half of the twenty first century. Here in his own words is his story~

“In old days, Japanese tattooists worked at their own houses and ran business quietly. They didn’t put up a sign and list telephone numbers on the book. The practice of tattooing was forbidden in Japan (until the end of World War II). The customers used to find the tattoo shops by word of mouth.

When I was an apprentice, feudal customs still existed in Japan. The apprenticeship was one of the feudal customs called uchideshi in Japanese. Normally, pupils lived with their masters, and were trained for 5 years. After 5-year training, the pupils worked independently, and gave the masters money that he earned for one year. The one-year service was called oreiboko in Japanese, the service to express the gratitude towards the masters. The masters usually told new pupils about this system, 5-year-training and 1-year service, when they began the apprenticeship.”

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Mid 20th century, Japan ~ A group of traditionally tattooed gamblers. Umezu (c), the chief of gambling, sits among them. ~ Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection

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“I slept at the master’s workplace when I was a pupil. I wanted to be a great tattoo artist as soon as possible. In the middle of the night, I picked up the needles from the master’s tool box, sat cross-legged and practiced tattooing on my thigh without the ink, remembering how my master performed. I continued to practice tattooing without using the ink. I used a thick bamboo stick for sujibori (outlining), which was about 20 cm long. The edge of the stick was sharpened, and 6-7 needles were put in order and tied up by silk thread. The length of the tip of needles was 3-4 mm. I wanted to workas a tattooist soon, and practiced incising both my thighs with the bamboo stick every night after work.I did not know how to use the tattooing tools and how to adjust the angles. Sometimes I penetrated the skin very deeply with the needles, and the skin bled and swelled. I could not tattoo by using the bamboo stick as I wanted.During the daytime I did chores. If I had no work during the day, I would sit down on the left side of my master and watch his work from the distance.

Every customer came to the master by appointment and got hitoppori. Hitoppori in Japanese means to get tattooed for 2 hours each day. If a big tattoo was to be done, the customer came by every third day. I used to keep sitting straight for 2 hours and just watching my master’s hands learn his tattooing skills. The master would say to me, ‘I’m not going to lecture you. You steal my techniques by watching me work.’ Watching is the fastest way to learn, rather than listening to the lecture, if people really want to learn something. Even though I was full of enthusiasm, my skills were not improved easily. I couldn’t see any progress at all.”

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1946, Tokyo, Japan ~ A Japanese tattoo artist works on the shoulder of a Yakuza gang member. ~ Image by © Horace Bristol

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“One day, the master’s wife asked me to split wood. (Pupils normally call the master’s wife ane-san or okami-san. The master’s wife looked so happy when I called her ane-san. So I called her ane-san during the apprenticeship.) One day while I was splitting wood in the back yard, I got hotter and hotter. I was in a sweat, and took off my shirt and trousers. Ane-san came and asked me to take a rest. She brought a cup of tea for me. Then, Ane-san happened to see my traces of the needles on the thighs.

She was surprised and said to me, ‘How did you get scars on the thighs? Do you practice tattooing by yourself?’

‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘but I cannot tattoo well like the master does.’

‘Have you ever seen my husband’s legs and ankles?’ she asked again.

‘No.’ I said.

She continued, ‘His whole legs are covered with tattoos. You know what I mean? He told me that he practiced tattooing on his legs with the ink when he was a pupil. That’s why his legs are all black. He also told me that a tattooist needs to learn by tattooing his own body to become a professional tattooist. There is nothing to replace human skin. So you have to learn tattooing by using (tattooing) your body.’”

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The Fashion Eye of the Rising Sun | STYLE from TOKYO

I keep pretty regular tabs on STYLE from Tokyo just to see what is going on with the everyday Japanese street scene.  Every so often you’ll see some pretty amazing interpretations of Americana & Ivy looks, with the added bonus of just crazy-arse fashionistos who let it all hang out.  The added ESL captions (which I’ll include unedited) are charming and at times priceless, and can usually coax a much appreciated grin to my face– even on the worst of days.  Heck, I know I couldn’t do any better translating to Japanese, so I give ‘em credit and respect for putting it out there.  

Without further ado–

style from tokyo

at the exhibition...showroom MAGNUM

He’s designer of ‘HIROSHI TSUBOUCHI’.
So kindly gentleman,I really like him!

Thank you so much showroom MAGNUM.

 

style from tokyo

on the street ,harajyuku

Thay are student of collage of photograph.

I love this big smile!

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Classic Roots

Poloclothing

Menswear designers new and old are tracing fashion roots and embracing brand heritage– whether it’s their own or borrowed.  Ralph is the true master of classic American sportswear, and no one is more in their element at this time than him.

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THE LEGEND OF SAILOR JERRY | TATTOO MASTER NORMAN COLLINS

 

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If you don’t know who Sailor Jerry is– you don’t know tattoos. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins (1911-1973) is considered the foremost American tattoo artist of his time, and defined the craft in two eras– BSJ and ASJ (before and after Sailor Jerry). Arguably, he did more for the ancient art of tattoo than most any other single person.

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sailor jerry tattoos anchor

At age 19, Sailor Jerry enlisted in the US Navy. It was during his travels at sea that he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. Artistically, his influence stems from his union of the roguish attitude of the American sailor with the mysticism and technical prowess of the Far East. He maintained a close correspondence with Japanese tattoo masters during his career.

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sailor jerry tattoos cards

Sailor Jerry regarded tattoos as the ultimate rebellion against “the Squares”. His legendary sense of humor is oft reflected in his work– but he was never one to compromise his professionalism or take his craft and responsibilities lightly.

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sailor jerry tattoos eagle

Sailor Jerry’s first studio was in Honolulu’s Chinatown, then the only place on the island where tattoo studios were located. His work was so widely copied, he had to print “The Original Sailor Jerry” on his business cards. There’s a guy up in Canada that goes by the same name, but don’t be fooled– although he’s good in his own right, he ain’t the original Sailor Jerry.

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sailor jerry tattoo

Sailor Jerry remained a sailor his entire life. Even during his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands. Sailing and tattooing were his only two professional endeavors.

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sailor jerry tattoos bottle

Sailor Jerry went out of his way to mentor those tattoo artists whose talents and attitude he respected, among them tattoo legends Don Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, to whom he entrusted his legacy of flash designs. He also railed against flashy tattoo artists such as Lyle Tuttle, and what he called “hippie tattoo” culture.

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sailor jerry tattoos sparrow

From his 20s to his late 50s, he stopped tattooing entirely as a part of a disagreement with the IRS. Believe it or not, Sailor Jerry only tattooed for approximately 12 years.

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sailor jerry tattoos pinup babes

In 1999, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone partnered with an independent Philadelphia company to establish Sailor Jerry Ltd., which produces rum, clothing and other goods. Some say that Ed Hardy sold his old mentor, Sailor Jerry, up the river– taking much credit for Jerry’s style and pocketing the dough. Sailor Jerry (and Von Dutch alike)  may be rolling in his grave.

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sailor jerry tattoos care

Originally there were few colors available to tattoo artists– Sailor Jerry expanded the array by developing his own safe pigments. He also created needle formations that embedded pigment with much less trauma to the skin, and was one of the first to utilize single-use needles and hospital-quality sterilization.

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norman collins sailor jerry tattoos

Tattooing legend Norman Collins AKA Sailor Jerry

sailor jerry tattoos norman collins photo

Tattooing legend Norman Collins AKA Sailor Jerry

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RELATED TSY POSTS:

ANCIENT ART OF THE JAPANESE TEBORI TATTOO MASTERS | INK IN HARMONY

THE FOREFATHERS OF TATTOOING | “CAP” COLEMAN & PAUL ROGERS

BTC BRISTOL TATTOO CLUB | THE SKUSE FAMILY — GENERATIONS OF KILLER INK

ROGUES, SAILORS & ANCIENT MARINERS | HISTORY OF NAUTICAL TATTOOS

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COOL HAND LUKE | SOMETIMES A CHORE COAT CAN BE A REAL COOL HAND

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Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman is a classic film, and without a doubt one of my favorites.  It’s Newman’s greatest performance, in a film loaded with powerhouse acting.  You’ve got George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, Jo Van Fleet, Strother Martin (What we’ve got here is “failure to communicate”) and Dick Davalos, to name a few.  Don’t know who Dick Davalos is?  He played Blind Dick, and is best remembered as Aaron Trask, opposite James Dean’s Cal Trask in East of Eden.

Speaking of James Dean– the role of Lucas Jackson would more than likely been his– not Newman’s, had he not been killed in a fatal car crash.  Dean would have starred in The Left Handed GunSomebody Up There Likes Me and probably Hud as well.  Not to take anything away from Paul Newman, but Dean was definitely the bigger star back then, and his passing gave Newman a clear path to instant stardom.

26469_2Cool Hand Luke is visually rich with incredibly authentic sets, cultural cues, wardrobe and styling. I wanted to live in that prison bunkhouse.  What was so bad?  They got to hang-out, enjoy cold drinks, eat eggs and such.

I became obsessed with the old chain-gang garb, and own several beat-up, RRL denim chore coats because of it.  Chore coats are an iconically American piece– worn by laborers, convicts, artists and plain everyday folk.  And another American icon– the classic chambray workshirt is in there too.

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There was nothing not to like in this film– even the hair.  Carr the floor walker, and Blind Dick had very cool D.A.’s.  And what about the incredible score, Harry Dean Stanton’s crooning, and Paul Newman singing and playing banjo on Plastic Jesus?  The film is pregnant with comparisons of Luke to Jesus. Luke is their leader– his crucifixion pose after eating the eggs– “stop feeding off of me!” alluding to communion– Dragline as ‘Judas’ bringing the cops to Luke in the final scene– on and on.  There are some many famous lines in Cool Hand Luke that I could be here all day– “shaking it up here boss!”

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Samurai 15oz 10 Year Anniversary Jeans

Samurai 15oz 10 Year Jeans

The S0510XX uses 100% Texas cotton which is famous for being a “rough” cotton due to it’s high amount of short fibers.  Normally, the short fibers are removed to make a smoother fabric, but Samurai adds more short cotton fibers to make the yarn even rougher.  The result is a yarn that is highly uneven in size, making the woven fabric very “slubby” (irregular).  Moreover, while most jean manufacturers mix different cottons from various areas, Samurai uses only 100% Texas cotton in the S0510XX.  Even the thread is made of 100% Texas cotton.  This creates a jean that captures the essence and spirit of this tough Texas denim.

sam_510_10yr_fly_web

Like all Samurai jeans, the S0510XX uses 100% pure indigo with no fillers, using the maximum amount of indigo that the yarn can hold.  Weighing in at 15 ounces, Samurai also maximized the tension of the weave, so that after washing, the denim actually becomes even more stiff and the weave even tighter resulting in a jean with unprecedented “atari” (fading). 

Link to buy at Blue in Green