First impressions are everything.
In just the tenth of a second, the human brain can form an opinion on someone or something that lasts for an eternity. Really, it’s no different with clothing. At first glance or touch, certain textures stand out more than others, but why? What makes a particular texture or fabric so great? What should you be looking for when it comes to certain kinds of materials? These are the questions that’ve inspired our latest issue at The Mill, and serve as the basis for our official Guide to Texture.
CANVAS: Shoes Like Pottery
The plain weave pattern of canvas typically lends itself to a much cleaner and more uniform texture than what you’d find in a denim twill. Where vintage denim is characterized often by its loose irregular weave pattern, a duck canvas is woven extremely tight, which can allow for better durability and resistance to wear and tear. These are just a few of the reasons why canvas lends itself so well to footwear, such as the signature low top sneakers from Shoes Like Pottery. Made from a flexible and durable canvas fabric, these sneakers feature a classic design atop a kiln-fired outsole. This ancient Japanese technique is called “Ka-ryu,” and is typically reserved for ceramics and pottery, hence the Shoes Like Pottery name. The canvas fabric of the sneakers features a surprisingly high amount of texture for, and is particularly evident in white, where each shade of the natural white canvas fabric is readily apparent.
LOOMSTATE: Pure Blue Japan AI-003
Woven on a single shuttle loom via a painstakingly slow process, the fabric of Pure Blue Japan’s AI-003 features an extremely uneven and streaky texture reminiscent of the loom it was first woven on. The single shuttle loom allows for unmatched control of the weaving process, and the ability to alternate between slubby and smooth uniformity, until the signature vertical streaky texture the denim is known for has been achieved. This weaving process has contributed to the reputation of this denim as one of the rarest in the world, and can only ever be produced in extremely limited quantities. For more information about the natural indigo dying process of this denim, please refer to our article, A Brief History of Natural Indigo and the Pure Blue Japan AI-003.
LINEN: Gitman Vintage
Woven from fibers of flax plants, linen has been the fabric of choice for warm weather climates since as early as 8000BC. The fabric’s trademark cool touch and breathability is due largely to the texture of flax, which absorbs water and perspiration much better than traditional cottons. Unlike cotton however, flax is notoriously inelastic, making it a much more laborious sewing process requiring a greater level of skill. Historically, this made linen a material reserved exclusively for royalty, and thus became a favorite amongst ancient Egyptian rulers, and a symbol of purity and wealth throughout ancient history. While modern day linen is still synonymous with luxury, advancements in apparel manufacturing have drastically reduced the price of harvesting and production, making linen more widely obtainable worldwide.
Studio D’artisan’s new “WWII” denim is rich with texture akin to vintage jeans of the 1940s. This 15.5oz selvedge denim features an extremely hairy and slubby surface texture thanks to the irregular weave style used to create the jeans. The end result is a neppy denim fabric free of treatment, washing, or sanforizing - consistent with the era of denim the jeans were inspired by. As the denim is worn, it will progressively age to the beautiful vintage blue color synonymous with antique denim of the 1940s.
The BLUE BLUE Melange Sweaters show how the classic combination of indigo-dyes and melange yarns can yield an ample amount of texture on its own. The simple color palette of blue and white is woven in an irregular pattern, creating a textured speckled surface when combined with multiple shades of indigo yarns. As the sweater is worn, the indigo will progressively become lighter, creating a garment that will continue to take on an evolving texture for years to come.
Denim can take on a wide range of textures ranging from clean and uniform to irregular and slubby - perhaps none more so than the new 18oz Godzilla from Japan Blue. The successor to the brand’s best-selling Monster, Godzilla gets its name from the incredibly thick and irregular weave used to create the jeans. When combined with a contrasting brown weft, the texture of the denim looks almost scale-like, creating a unique pair of jeans worthy of the Japan Blue name.