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Brand Profile: Johnson Motors, Inc.

Johnson Motors, Inc. is a relatively new brand on the denim scene, but they’re packing a heavy load of history, authenticity and a completely honest approach to the products. The jeans are designed by owner Sean Kelly based on the memory he has of what Levi’s felt like when he was a kid. Back then jeans equalled fun and play, fooling around, girls, everything a American boys dream of. Jeans meant good times and with Johnson Motors, Inc. he has recreated that pure feeling.

The cut and style of the jeans is purely 50s Americana, but with a modern fit. All denim is from White Oak, the best you can get in America and the jeans are sewn in Los Angeles. The striped pocket bags are made of 100% cotton, the rivets are all copper, made with a proper punch through. The back pocket insignia is an asymmetrical curve, which is the company logo.

All the jeans are rigid and you’ll never find any prewashes from Johnson Motors, Inc., except from the cold rinse version they offer, which really doesn’t count as a wash. And if you want holes in your jeans you have to earn them. When Sean was a boy he got holes in jeans when he was climbing fences to steal stuff. Maybe that’s not the way for a grown man to do it, but he’s painting a picture here.

Johnson Motors, Inc. is a full lifestyle concept brand that offers t-shirts, shirts, jackets and accessories. The original company is from 1938. Johnson Motors, Inc. was the distributor of Triumph motorcycle, but they also did t-shirts and leather jackets.

It was Johnson Motors, Inc. that brought Triumph motorcycles to California and thus to the big Hollywood screen, for instance the Triumph Thunderbird which was immortalized by Marlon Brando in The Wild One. But other movie stars like James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere, Fonzie and Steve McQueen also rode Triumphs thanks to Johnson Motors, Inc.

The history of the original company started in 1936 when Bill Johnson and Wilbur Cedar became partners of the company British and American Motors. In the spring of 1937, Johnson began importing Triumph motorcycles into southern California. In close cooperation with then Head of the Triumph factory, Ed Turner, Johnson managed to push Triumph into all aspects of track and off-road motorcycle sporting events. In 1940 the company name was changed to Johnson Motors, Inc., which soon was shortened to JoMo for all racing events.

The original spirit of Johnson Motors, Inc. has been incorporated into contemporary clothes. Everything piece in the collection is made to be worn while riding motorcycles; the waxed denim jacket and vest are lined inside so the wax doesn’t transfer to your t-shirt.

The “Kilroy was here” label on the selvage chambray shirt is a reference to some of the first graffiti made by American soldiers when they went through Europe during the war.

Johnson Motors, Inc. is also bringing in white denim for the spring season.

To find out more about the brand and the products contact the company directly via email to [email protected].

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