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TCB Two Cat's Waist Overall Natural Indigo


This is one of the fantastic pieces of the new collaboration collection between TCB and Viktor Fredbäck called "Viktor's Voice". During a video call in the pandemic, Viktor showed TCB guys a couple of pairs of vintage jeans from a brand called "Olympic brand" that he found in an old mine. Olympic brand was the 3rd line of Levi's, and these two pairs are more than 100 years old. One of them is indigo, and the other one is Logwood dyed.

Hajime Inoue (the TCB owner) told Viktor that TCB would like to reproduce the very jeans. And Viktor said: "Yes, you can, but there is a condition for that. I always go into old mines at the risk of my life. So you gotta make them perfect in every sense."

TCB answered him: "You bet."

About Viktor Fredbäck

Viktor Fredbäck is a famous jeans hunter worldwide. It’s been more than half a century after the gold rush, but he still goes into old mines to find blue gold at the risk of his life. He is a pure denim freak who dares to walk into the darkness only with some light of a headlight, knowing that any troubles could happen anytime. So he goes through some trackless paths, pushing aside mountains of pebbles to find the heritage of the past.

His collections have lots of ultra-rare vintages, and some are even exhibited at museums as historical pieces. The Olympic Brand jeans he lent TCB is also the only pair found in the world as of 2021. TCB also had to go in full swing to respond to his love and passion for blue garments.

The Natural Indigo Fabric

It's fair to say that the spinning technics back then were not fully developed. All denim reproduction brands are trying to replicate the irregularity by lots of different methods, mostly computer-regulated ways. But I came up with an unprecedented way to do it.

When TCB produces a new fabric, they always choose the right cotton breed and its blend ratio. This time, they have made a new fabric from a scrap fabric of 1910 woven by Amoskeag mill, later replaced with the famous Cone mill as you know. Having a glimpse at the fabric, they immediately noticed the strong irregularity on each yarn, by far the strongest slubby and neppy denim compared to numerous vintage Levis jeans. So, it was this slubbiness that was the key to reproducing this fabric.

Usually, when making the irregularity of the threads, they change the thickness of the threads and use that one thread for the whole fabric. But no one has not made it one step further about this. Of course, the quality of cotton from the old days was unstable and poor, but the spinning as well for sure. So this time, TCB has decided to use two different threads spun by two different spinning indexes: 80% hard-spun, and the rest of 20% have half the spinning index used for the said hard-spun.

Of course, they wanted to make perfectly spun, perfectly woven, perfectly dyed fabric back then. Still, with the benefit of hindsight, the spinning was unstable, so it's like not the irregularity on the thickness of the threads. Still, the irregularity of the spinning index played a significant role in vintage fades. If the spinning index is different, the dyeing absorbency differs even on a thread so that they'll develop the most natural irregularity of indigo dye too. The cotton used is EMOT cotton (East Memphis, New Orleans and Texas) blended with some Pima cotton from the state's southwest. Pima gives a nice and creamy brownish tinge to the threads, and this blend was a perfect balance. This fabric is 10.7oz

Sakamoto Denim did the dyeing process in Okayama. Natural indigo rope dye requires some confidential know-how so that we couldn't even get in the factory for photo shooting. As far as we know, only 1 or 2 factories in Japan can do it.

The threads of this natural indigo fabric go into the pool of indigo 16 times. Our aim on the new fabric is strong stubbiness and strong irregularity on the surface. To achieve that, they need to speed down the rotating speed of the shuttle as much as possible.

Weaving at Nihonmenpu Mill

As for logwood fabric, the warps are hank dyed by logwood, and the wefts are ecru. The rotation speed of the shuttle must be slow to get the vintage feel on the fabric. There are more than 50 vintage shuttle looms in the room, but the two machines weaving TCB denim was moving much more slowly than others. When it comes to hank dyed threads, they are much shorter than those dyed by rope dyeing. So, when they weave them, they need to connect each thread so that a knot occurs at every certain length. Therefore, workers need to constantly check the fabric to put those knots to the backside of the fabric. These knots are the proof that the fabric was actually hank dyed.

The shuttles from Nihonmenpu are a bit bigger than normal ones. Wefts are cast into the warps by the shuttles moving laterally, and the heddles that move the warps up and down need to move much more than usual. As a result, the texture of fabric gets soft like a hand-woven fabric and gets natural slubbiness.

The Details

  • The patch is made of linen. As you wear it, it gets rubbed off like vintage. TCB decided not to put their brand name on the patch this time because the vintage doesn't have the name.
  • If you look at the overlocking stitches, the shape and width of the overlocking are also made close to the vintage. It's so-called "narrow lock". (Only among Japanese vintage freaks).
  • The fly buttonholes are made in the same way as shirt buttonholes. Of course, the same was as the vintage is constructed.
  • Pockets sewing is done by a double needle machine. Doing the corner right is where you show your sewing skills. Comparing the sewing of the vintage pair with the TCB repro, we can say that Levi's workers were less skilled than TCB guys for sure.
  • The vintage pair had slight dents at the rivets. These dents were inevitable due to the way the rivets used to be attached back then. It's easy to make the rivets in this shape with a dent, but then this little dent placement will always be sitting in the same place, which is not real. So one more time, the Japanese perfectionism aimed TCB to reproduce this dent right. They ordered a mould just to make a dent. So, TCB attached rivets first and then did the hard press to have this dent. So, it sometimes sits at the centre, the left, or right. Very natural indeed, and that's what Inoue-san wanted.
  • The cinch on the vintage pair shows only the metal colour so TCB almost adopted a silver one, but after some discussion with Viktor, it was most likely that the cinch was also black lacquered, so it has been a custom-made one on TCB's repro.
  • The buttons are made of steel with a black lacquered finish as the vintage ones. They'll indeed look lovely when the paint gets rubbed off, and they get a bit rusty.

The Cut

The cut is some think that the jeans from 1910 must have been super wide and baggy, but it’s actually not really. A few years ago, TCB felt the same when we reproduced 501 from the 1920s, but they are not extremely wide either. When TCB reproduce jeans, they always take the same cut from the vintage.

  • 10.7oz unsanforized one-wash selvedge Japanese Denim
  • EMOT cotton (Eastern Memphis, New Orleans, and Texas)
  • Natural Indigo rope dyed
  • Vintage Olympic brand repro
  • Regular straight
  • High rise
  • Warp: natural indigo / Weft: Ecru
  • Slubby and irregular texture
  • TCB Linen patch
  • Selvedge line colour: white and blue
  • Steel black lacquered buttons
  • Steel-made rivets
  • Cotton twill pocket bags
  • Made in Kojima, Japan by Japanese denim craftsmen


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