Many of you have been asking us in recent months when we will be having a new collaboration, and the moment has finally arrived. We have been keeping this marvel a secret for a long time because we wanted to wait for the final result to be perfect, and we’ve achieved it. For this new collaboration we worked hard for almost a year with our friends from Tanuki to obtain the most unique coloured weft jeans ever crafted. We present Homura, the first collaboration between Redcast and Tanuki. Homura (炎) means ‘burns with a blue flame’. We have before us some very special overdyed jeans in a natural dye obtained from fermenting the “Akane” plant (Madder), of which we have only produced 100 units due to the laborious process it involves.
Redcast Heritage x Tanuki "Homura" Akane Overdye Slim Straight Jeans
The Story Behind This Collaboration
Tanuki was one of the first brands to put their trust in us, making it possible to give life to Redcast almost four years ago. We met in person around 2018 and ever since, at each one of our meetings, we have been mulling over the idea of doing something together. We admire Tanuki’s work and love their philosophy and how their mixture of tradition and modernity go hand in hand. Whenever we get together we spend hours and hours talking not just about clothes but also about many other things and we usually agree on everything, so we knew that a collaboration with them would lead to jeans of which both parties would be very proud. And that’s what happened.
Right from the start we liked the idea of doing something that would enhance the name of our shop. Like may of you will know, Redcast is a type of denim with a reddish indigo hue. It is a rather unusual but much appreciated fabric by denim devotees. Many Japanese call Redcast or Red Cast fabrics the “true denim”.
After a bit of brainstorming we arrived at the idea of making a fabric with that reddish, almost purple indigo hue in the warp and a very natural wine tone in the weft. We did not want to go as far as an artificial red, so the path to follow was to experiment with natural dyes. Akane (Madder plant) was the favoured candidate from the get-go. Such a natural and beautiful red colour is not obtained with any other plant or sediment; furthermore, the Japanese are knowledgeable about this dye like nobody else and have been dyeing with Akane for hundreds of years (since the Edo period). The idea of overdye quickly came into our heads. Producing jeans and then soaking them one by one in Akane in their respective baths, then rinsing and drying them, would involve a lengthy and laborious process but the result would be unbeatable. We liked the idea of doing the garment overdye on the jeans instead of on the yarn so that all parts of the jeans would turn red, not only the fabric but also the seams, pockets, selvedge, labels, etc. Doing the overdye with too strong and synthetic a dye would have been too striking, but by doing it with Akane we have obtained a perfect result: a very natural wine-coloured red that is so reminiscent of the great Spanish wines –which we happen to be passionate about– as well as of the country of the rising sun. We have achieved the ideal colour for a fabric that could not be a better representative of our shop’s name and the culture of both countries.
After months of much testing to achieve the desired colour and texture after overdyeing, we chose the Tanuki Red Cast fabric. It is the ideal base fabric.
Quite often basic fabrics are used for overdye jeans, but that was not the case here. We started out from one of our favourite fabrics, not only as regards the brand but also all Japanese denim. It is a very special fabric, very hairy, with great texture and slub. The Tanuki team chose several jeans in Red Cast fabric and started to experiment. After many overdye tests we observed that not only did it perfectly capture the Akane, but after the whole overdye process the fabric became much softer, retaining its character but with a totally different result, much softer and comfortable and with a greater feeling of lightness and ease.
This Homura is a 16.5oz jean that when worn may feel like 13oz. It is so comfortable that, when worn, it feels like a stretch jean. But nothing could be further from the truth. As many of you know, Red Cast fabric is 100% cotton (Australian and Texas blend). These 16.5oz jeans seem far lighter than they actually are; they are also highly breathable, making them ideal for every month of the year. They’ll look great not only with boots in the colder months but also with your sneakers in warm weather. We have been testing our Homura jeans for several weeks in the heat of Madrid and can state that this is a great choice to wear throughout the year.
To obtain this result in terms of both colour and texture, this was the process followed:
- Before tinting with Akane, the fabric had to be softened so that it would properly absorb the pigments. To achieve this the Tanuki people did an enzyme wash that removes all the starch and significantly relaxes the fabric. Thanks to this, as we explained earlier, the denim feels very soft and much lighter than any other 16.5oz jean. This process takes a long time, since no chemical products are used to prevent damage to the cotton fibres.
- The jeans were shipped from the sewing factory to a dyeing workshop in a different place (still inside Okayama prefecture) to proceed with the overdye. Like with any other natural tint, Akane is not a strong dye, so a single soak is not enough. The jeans are hand-immersed one by one for a few hours in basins containing the Akane ferment. They are then rinsed in water and dried before repeating the process. In total, the process is repeated a few times for each pair of jeans. This involved a lot of time and dedication but resulted in beautiful variations and depth in the red hues. The result in the weft was a colour similar to a good red wine in tone and depth, and for its part the warp has a gorgeous deep indigo tone with natural reddish nuances that will fade to high contrast blue with red undertones.
This whole process was time-consuming and required hours of testing to achieve the perfect result.
As ever, Tanuki details are stunning. Copper hardware combining in perfect harmony with the fabric’s hues. All the seams as well as the selvedge ended up with a red colour due to the overdye. If you want to see the beauty of Akane dye in its full glory, just take a look at the photo of the inner pockets. The iconic Tanuki herringbone fabric is completely covered in a deep red.
For the patch we used 0.3-mm natural vegetable thick cowhide leather with the special design for the collaboration: an Akane plant branching out against the rising sun. We wanted a patch in a natural tone that would age in the best possible way and would acquire a nice patina tending towards brown and whiskey hues. The idea is for the patch to always contrast with the fabric, initially showing a nice natural shade in contrast with the dark reddish indigo; but after some months and years, this natural colour will acquire its patina while the fabric will wear down to much lighter shades. We wanted a patch that would stand out, which is why we decided not to soak it in the Akane. It is the only element in the jeans that retains its natural state so that we can admire all the beauty of the leather’s pores as well as all the design details. This would normally mean a major headache, since all the jeans have to go back to the sewing room to have the patch stitched on, with the resultant increase in time and dedication, but in our view it achieves the best possible result.
We have made a unique and exclusive jean not only thanks to the Akane overdye but also thanks to the cut. Because we have designed a new slim straight cut for the occasion. This is the first time we see a slim straight in Tanuki. The cut is perfect and works really well on virtually every body type. It has a mid rise, a fairly slim thigh and practically no taper from the knee downwards.
The length is 32” and sneaker friendly, devised for wearing all year round but with a “fresh” touch for the warmer months. This means it will look good with boots but even better with sneakers. The contained length will give a greater presence to your light-coloured sneakers to obtain a clean and elegant look. If you are tall, above 183 cm approx., the length will allow you to wear an ankle length look to enhance your footwear. If you measure less than 183cm, you can choose to cuff them once or several times (ankle lenth) to show off that gorgeous wine weft and enhance your sneakers or else to wear them uncuffed.
The slim straight is perfect for this fabric. Comfortable without overheating you, it looks great with every kind of footwear and the 32” length will give your looks a lot of scope. If you are someone who believes that 32” is a bit short, take our word for it: it’s time to try something different.
The Artwork And Name Of The Collaboration
For this collaboration we designed a very special pocket flasher and leather patch, perfectly reflecting the Japanese tradition and craftsmanship behind dyeing with Akane.
The sun is a key element in Japan, which is known as the country of the rising sun. This is why this element is represented on the patch in the form of a semicircle rising up to recall the sun at dawn and in the centre of the pocket flasher as the leading image.
The flowery branch and red colour represent Akane, a flowery plant that grows naturally in Japan. Akane can be translated as “a plant that glows under the sun” and is associated with the colour red because this colour is born of the plant’s roots. It has been used in Japan since antiquity to create a red pigment and now we have decided to use it for the overdye in this special collaboration with Tanuki.
We are also great fans of Kanjis and the whole tradition, meaning and iconography behind them. We wanted a word that would give its name to this limited edition and to represent and describe the jeans, and after brainstorming with the Tanuki team we decided to give them the name of Homura (炎), which means ‘burns with a blue flame’. There could be no better Kanji to describe these jeans.
As you can see from all we’ve told you, the process of creating this collaboration was time-consuming and required hours of testing to obtain the perfect result. We wanted to offer special, different, 100% Japanese-made jeans and this inevitably means that production costs were higher than usual, so we limited the number of units produced to 100. However, to make it possible for these jeans to be available to the majority of our clients who would like to complete their wardrobe with a special addition, at Redcast we have made an effort to offer this collaboration at the most competitive price possible. As with our previous collaboration with ONI Denim, the goal is not to profit from this launch but to offer the possibility to 100 denim devotees to get their hands on a pair of unique jeans that have never been produced before and have a story to tell.
We truly hope that you view the Redcast x Tanuki “Homura” Jeans Limited Edition as a good choice of jeans in which to invest and rotate in your cupboard.
But this collaboration is not the only good news. As ever, we are very grateful for all the support our clients give us, without which the Redcast project would not have come this far. This is why, jointly with Tanuki, we have decided that all of you who purchase a pair of jeans from this collaboration will be entered in a draw for 3 fantastic gifts:
Winner 1: Tanuki wallet brown (constructed from Shonan Hikaku saddle leather)
Winner 2: Tanuki hand painted Banner
Winner 3: 100€ Redcast Gift Card
The Redcast x Tanuki “Homura” Jeans Limited Edition will only be for sale on the Redcast Heritage website (www.redcastheritage.com), and the draw will be made once the 100 pairs are sold.
The jeans have shrunk considerably during the overdye process due to the enzymatic softening and the successive rinses after each Akane bath. So as a general rule we recommend that you choose one size bigger than your usual Tanuki size.
In the photos, Eduardo is wearing a 30. He always uses a 29 in Tanuki, ONI and also in other true-to-size brands. With these, size 30 is a perfect fit for him. These days he had also been trying on a 29 and he found it quite difficult to initially do up the top button. On the first days they were quite tight on him and were a bit uncomfortable in the waist. After a few days the waistband stretch by around 5cm and they became more comfortable. However, for those of you who give priority to comfort, we have no hesitation in recommending that you choose one size higher than your usual one but, as ever and before anything else, we recommend that you take a look at the size chart. We carefully measure each size in the shop and never publish pre-production size charts, so our measurements are always very precise.
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