Hiroshi KATO bring together two powerhouses of industry in marrying Japanese denim with American manufacturing. Made in California, KATO focuses on combining the modern need for comfort with a love and appreciation for vintage pieces. They are dedicated to creating timeless pieces that you’ll hold on to for years.
Disclaimer: I was gifted a pair of jeans for this review. Opinions are my own.
To try out the pair of Hammer Straight Natural Slub Indigo Huey 12.5oz selvedge denim I selected I went on a short photography walk with Illya Sobtchak of www.illcutz.com and www.actualorigins.com to help me get back into my photography.
Hiroshi KATO have a nice selection of lightweight denim weights from 10oz upwards. I have to admit, I kind of regret going for such a strong wash in the Huey (I can admit my impulse decision), but after spending several years wearing certain jeans, with only gradual fading, I was thinking to try something different. In hindsight, the Ella wash would have worked better. It definitely is different and took me a while to get used to the wash but gives me a good challenge to style. I see this as a summer rotational jean to wear with light t-shirts and knits with white sneakers.
However, on first impressions the denim has a very soft washed handle to it. It's been a while since I had a lightweight denim. This 12.5oz is currently is the lightest I have – being in the UK I tend to wear mostly 14oz and 15oz jeans. Despite being a straight fit it felt rather slim on my legs. I've actually seen that in a few of my jeans that are classed a "regular fit" end up looking or feeling like a slim fit on me. On others, it would be different, and this is where I struggle getting a right fit for me. However, the soft nature of the denim after its wash and 12.oz weight is a nice new thing for me and very comfortable. I personally don't go for stretch denim, so having these naturally softened from washing is a nice difference.
Hiroshi KATO offer four main styles of jean – The Needle (skinny), The Pen (slim), The Scissors (tapered), The Hammer (straight). Not being a fan of skinny I went directly to the straight fit Hammer. Seeing as I have plenty of raw indigo selvedge jeans in my wardrobe, I thought to push the boat out and get a washed pair for the summer.
The pair I got is one of a handful of jeans that are classed as 'non-stretch selvedge' which hints that KATO specialise in making a lot of stretch denim. I don't wear stretch denim as I'm more of a purest. However, the fact that they're selvedge makes it more appealing. KATO's stretch jeans are a 4-way stretch which sounds similar to fabrics you'd find in sportswear – so if you live an active life, such as cycling to work etc, then this sounds like a good option. The denim comprises of 96% cotton and 4% polyurethane. They claim it offers "the fit, look, details and comfort that will satisfy everyone from seasoned denim-heads to the conservative customer trying their first pair of raw jeans."
I'd be keen to have a look at their wider selection of garments as they produce jackets and shirts – and I'll certainly give them a closer look next time I visit The States. Pieces that took my attention are the Chore Jacket and Anvil Jacket as well as the Double Gauze Organic Shirts. The rest of their collection looks impressive and follows their ethos of 'vintage meets comfort'. I like how their philosophy is to "make garments that transcend trends and will become staples in your closet that you enjoy wearing over and over again". Something I've been hearing and seeing lots of brands build their collections around.
I think my KATO jeans will become a summer staple for me due to the lighter weight on denim.