Our experience with ONI began in 2006, when we discovered their jeans in Superfuture. Oishi had started to make his first models and a couple of adventurous contributors to the Superfuture forum had dared to order the jeans knowing absolutely nothing about the brand and with practically no photos to go on. At that time it wasn’t as simple as now; as you know, ONI has never had a website or an online catalogue. Besides, at the time there was no Instagram, no reviews on Youtube and the content devoted to Japanese denim on social media was almost non-existent, so ordering jeans from Japan, from a brand of which absolutely nothing was known and on which it was practically impossible to find any information, not even in Japanese, turned into a crazy yet highly exotic and exciting endeavour.
Our relationship with the Japanese Denim of that time had already started to become an obsession. We found ONI a different style from what was on offer from repro brands, so when we saw the first pair of ONI jeans in person, we were tremendously impressed.
The fact is that Oishi is a master who combines unique textures with all kinds of modern cuts. Over these past years the brand has evolved in an astonishing way, with Mr. Oishi unceasingly and continuously experimenting with new fabrics, new cuts, new dyes. Oishi has extensive experience and tradition behind him, but also a very forward-looking approach and incredible vitality. From that very moment we fantasized about how incredible it would be to show ONI and all those other small Japanese labels to the western world.
It was in October 2019, on one of our visits to Japan, that we were able to meet Mr. Oishi in person in his village. We spent hours and hours with him, fascinated with his story: his beginnings with his father, how he managed to become one of the first people behind Levi’s Japan, his knowledge of fabric techniques, rope dyeing, cottons and his vision of what denim is. From that moment on our relationship with Oishi became much closer; the first pairs of ONI jeans arrived in our store in early 2020 and we were able to show all his new creations to the world.
We speak with Mr. Oishi almost daily. He tells us about what he has in mind, what he is trying out and what he is about to try out, and in one of our conversations we mentioned that our third anniversary was coming up. Oishi said: Hey, why don’t we do something? And that very day we got down to work to evolve this collaboration.