OrSlow. On the surface, it may appear that there isn’t a lot to say. The design ethos is clear: classic, well-crafted clothing made in Japan using quality, custom fabrics. Refreshingly simple, expertly made. But a keener eye will notice the impeccable craftsmanship that could easily, at first glance, be overlooked. While the product is both simple and subtle to the eye, the detail is in the process, the construction of classic workwear and vintage military product, reimagined with a contemporary feel.
Designer Ichiro Nakatsu started OrSlow in 2005, the name coming from a desire to reflect his slower, meticulous approach to making jeans, revolting against the crazes of fast fashion. Having developed his own personal collection of vintage pieces that serve as inspiration for his own brand, the last 15 years has seen OrSlow grow from strength to strength, becoming a leader in Japanese denim. But to define it as simplistically as that would do OrSlow a disservice. What Nakatsu does is the pinnacle of excellence – taking inspiration from the classic garments that we already know and love, but changing these ‘originals fits’ for the better. Producing materials through painstaking processes (for example, it takes a full day to produce a mere 50 metres of denim fabric) to maintaining, and still using vintage sewing machines and skilful techniques to achieve a unique aesthetic that modern technology cannot replicate.
OrSlow is an investment in quality. Nakatsu has built a bridge between the nostalgic and the contemporary to produce clothing that you will reach for time and time again. Trends changes seasonally, but craftsmanship never goes out of style. And it’s this type of artistry that stays for years, even decades in wardrobe. The kind that continues to develop with each passing season, as the wear and tear continues to bring even more beauty to the surface. As Nakatsu himself said, “it gives you a warm and nostalgic feeling like it has always been there and will never let you down”.