Circle of Friends: Transparent Production is Key
The Bread & Butter 2013 winter show saw quite a few noteworthy news on the high-end denim scene. One of such was the launch of the Stockholm-based premium brand Circle of Friends; a combination of decades of know-how, excellent make and fitting, fashion-minded detailing, and one of the most honest and transparent approaches to denim production witnessed so far. Like no other brand out there, the vision of Circle of Friends is to bring together denim professionals from all over the world to share their experience, their attention to detail and their choices of material to make great garments.
The Circle of Friends is a symbolic name. It refers to the fact that each garment is milled, cut and sewn and washed by people in the business that all have one thing in common; a personal relationship with the founders of the brand. As it’s put a little dramatically on the company website, for thirty years founder of the brand Per Fredriksson, “acted like the shuttle of a loom,” working as a middle man handling production for other brands. Through the years he established valuable relationships with designers, manufacturers, tailors, sales people and hardcore denim fanatics, all in all his personal circle of friends. Today he owns one of the absolute top Bangladeshi denim factories that produces only on Italian machinery operated by highly skilled former Levi’s and VF Corporation technicians.
The Circle of Friend product range is comprised by two line. For the high-end Studio Line two Cone Mills denims are used. The first one (above) is an exact reproduction of the red cast 501 fabric of 1968, it’s this fabric that’s used for the majority of the prewashed jeans. Buttons and rivets are from YKK Japan and the leather is from the esteemed Italian leather producer Okinawa. The other denim (below) is part of the Cone Mill White Oak sustainability collection, and the weft of the fabric is spun from recycled food trays, which makes 35% of the fabric polyester. This gives the denim a little shine and even though is a lightweighter of 10.5 oz. it’s durable as hell.
There are three men’s fits, a slim, a regular, and a chino style. Recommended retail price for the Studio Line is around 2200 SEK (roughly $340).
The stitch length is throughout most of the jeans are 0.5 cm, which compared to the regular 0.6 cm gives a cleaner look. The threads are mainly poly-cotton used for their strength, and the thread used for the bartacks is indigo dyed and bleeds with washing. There are no overlock seams and to underpin the clean look belt loops are 1 cm wide compared to the average 1.2 cm width.
One of the most unique features of the Circle of Friends is that the brand is inviting you to become part of their circle by being 100% transparent about where production takes places and which materials are used. The care label of each garment comes with a unique register that tells you which ‘friends’ were engaged in the production of that particular pair.
For the more affordable Main Line fullwidth fabrics are used; once the production minimums are reached the Main Line will be completely organic using denims from India’s Arvind Mills, one of the world’s biggest mill. In fact, the CEO of the company, Sanjay Lalbhai, is a major investor in organic cotton farming in India, and a considerable amount of the world’s total organic cotton outlet is somehow related to Mr. Lalbhai.
Visit the company website here to find out more.