Worn-in clothing projects a life well lived. Every fade, scuff and rip is a memento of an active existence. For years, brands have tried to capture this essence by pre-distressing garments. Jeans are treated with artificial washes and given whiskers with sand paper; jackets are ripped and torn; tees, softened and faded. But most of this clothing appears gimmicky at best.
While the best way to get a pair of faded jeans or a perfectly soft tee is to actually wear them down yourself, some brands manage to break the stigma of distressed garments by focusing on small-batch production and quality fabrics. The result: articles of clothing that actually look and feel like they’ve been in your closet for years.
Designed by Noriko Machida, Chimala’s garments are steeped in mid-century Americana — think jeans, denim shirts, t-shirts and work coats. The garments are simple in design, but the fabrics used are of very high quality, and a lot of effort goes into distressing the clothing for an authentic look and feel. For example, chambray shirts have mended rips and patched holes, while western shirts show extra wear on collars and pockets. Machida works closely with Japanese artisans to achieve these details, and the result is something vintage lovers swoon for.
This Kojima-based brand was originally started in 1984 as a sewing and dyeing factory and later started its own denim line in 1996. Kapital has an esoteric take on Americana that blends traditional Western garments with those from Japan. Quirky design details like misplaced pockets, patchwork fabric and mismatched buttons make each garment unique. The in-house Kountry line focuses on new innovative processes and crafting one-of-a-kind garments with hand-distressed details.
Re/Done takes the path of least resistance to authentically distressed garments. The brand sources worn vintage Levi’s and recuts them in a modern fit in a factory in Los Angeles. This ensures each pair of pants has an authentic wear-pattern, and each pair of parts is completely unique. Forget pre-distressed jeans; this brand will give you the real thing in a fit that looks good now.
Yutaka Goto’s brand, Remi Relief, reinterprets coastal Californian skate and surf style, focusing on basics like tees, sweatshirts and jean jackets. Washed-out colors and light distressing make for garments that look (and feel) like you’ve worn them to the beach every week for the past decade. The mix of nostalgia and quality gives you a range of garments that are easy and lovable from the first wear.