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We Go Behind the Scenes to Learn The Secrets Of How The Flat Heads Jeans Are Made

Over the last decade, The Flat Head has build a solid presence in the western markets. Gone are the days when Japanese magazines were your only chance to browse the collections. Since 1996, the brand has been crafting high-end jeans, garments, and accessories with strong references to classic Americana.

It is especially the award winning Pioneer denim with its pronounced vertical “tate-ochi” fades we love. Yet the denim is only one of the noteworthy aspects of the meticulously reproduced vintage-style jeans. We got a chance to dig a little deeper to explore the production operations of the brand.

The Recipe of Flat Head’s Denim

Founder of The Flat Head, Masayoshi Kobayashi wanted to create the quintessential vintage denim. To do so, he used countless vintage jeans produced between the 1920s and the 1960s as references to learn about the dyeing processes, stitching techniques, and the denim itself. One of the predominant characteristics of TFH jeans is the unique selvedge denim, which is woven on vintage shuttle looms.

The result is an exceptional vintage feeling, which combined with the secret dyeing technique and specially selected cotton yarn makes it fade in a particularly outstanding way.

Meticulously Selected Vintage Machines

The shuttle looms are not the only vintage machinery used to make TFH jeans. Kobayashi-san’s pursuit for authentic details, and his examination of every detail of the original jeans he used as references, guided him towards the machinery he required to reproduce the design and construction.

For each process there’s a vintage machine:

  • A Durkopp 2-needle machine from the 1960s is used to sew the front pockets lips.
  • The chain stitched hems are made with a 1940’s Union Special 43200G.
  • A 1960’s Union Special rolled seam sewing machine makes the yokes.
  • Sewing the back pockets on to the jeans is done with a 1950’s Union Special.
  • The waistband is attached with a 1960’s Union Special chain stitch machine.
  • Button holes are sewn and cut with a 1960’s Durkopp button-holing machine.
  • Finally, the belt loops are made with a modified 1920’s Union Special 2-needle double chain stitch machine.
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As if that wasn’t enough, the ways each of these production steps are carried out is different from most other jeansmakers.

How The Flat Head jeans are made

Left: The cutting process. Right, top: The special Flat Head belt loop compared to a regular belt loop. Right, bottom: The 43200G Union Special chain stitched hems.

The Jeans Are Produced In Various Facilities

All Flat Head jeans are made in Kojima in Okayama; a city where more than 100 family run businesses are dedicated to the denim industry. What sets The Flat Head apart from western brands is the fact that specialised companies make the different construction steps. It’s a production chain that involves a number of cutting houses and three different sewing houses. This is the traditional Okayama-way of crafting jeans.

Despite of slower production, this production process gives each of the specialised sub-contractors one thing to focus on at a time, which gives them unprecedented expertise and makes them able to concentrate on their work.

The results are expressed in the many remarkable features of TFH jeans.

How The Flat Head jeans are made

Left: A 1920’s Union Special making The Flat Head’s special belt loops. Right: A seamstress sewing the rise of a Flat Head jean.

Read On To Learn Kobayashi-san’s Inside Secrets

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