Two Denim Stalwarts Bringing Back Côte d’Ivoire Cotton

When it comes to quiet, deliberate evolution, Amsterdam-based Tenue De Nîmes are past masters. Having founded the business together in 2008, Menno van Meurs and Rene Strolenberg set about curating an exclusive and highly selective collection of brands and products from the four corners of the world.

The emphasis has always been upon quality and timeless appeal, and we were quick to applaud their move into own-label which launched in July, 2015.

News now reaches us that they have entered into a partnership with one of Japan’s most influential denim brands, Japan Blue, to introduce the world to jeans crafted from organic Côte d’Ivoire cotton.

Japan Blue and Tenue De Nîmes make the perfect bedfellows. Japan Blue is the little Euro-Brother of the renowned Momotaro. Their expertise lies in maintaining the essentials of “made in Japan” jeans, combined with an understanding of European contemporary fits. It is the perfect mix of quality, craftsmanship and fit, and it finds no better home than in the denim mecca of the denim capital, Amsterdam.

The specific type of African cotton came on to Japan Blue’s radar while on a journey back to the 19th century roots of jeans and trying to track down the type of cotton similar to that which was used when production of denim first started to enter the mainstream.

The Côte d’Ivoire Story

The raw cotton is hand-picked so at to minimise any damage and the net result is that garments made with it are legendarily comfortable to wear and beautifully fades back to the natural over time.

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However, Côte d’Ivoire cotton isn’t the first we usually think of when we are considering the African continent. That accolade usually belongs to either Zimbabwe or Egypt. The reason for this lies within the fact that Côte d’Ivoire has been no stranger to war and civil strife and, as usual, it’s the little guys who suffer the most when the munitions start to fly.

The good news, though, is that cotton production is back on its feet with annual volumes at around 850,000 bales which now exceed the pre-conflict highs. Even so and whilst the recovery remains fragile, is perhaps helped by the fact that Japan Blue have committed to donating 1% of their denim sales to help heal the local economy via the Embassy of the Republic of Ivory Coast in Japan.

The Jeans

The jeans themselves are instant classics; utilitarian, understated and with the sense-of-purpose that we have come to expect from everything that Tenue De Nîmes stands for. And, as in everything they do, there is always an elegant twist at the end of the story. This time, it is in the form of the twin Côte d’Ivoire / Japan selvedge detail.

We also see an interesting, if perhaps a little provoking addition to the jeans. The addition of the “tab” on the back pocket we see as a homage to the greatness of Levi’s. Sadly, given Levi’s fondness for legal antics when defending their trademark, it could also land the guys in a little bit of bother. Hopefully, Levi’s legal eagles have chilled a little since the mid-naughties and will leave this tab be.

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We applaud that, too.

Prices:

  • Japan Blue x Tenue de Nîmes ‘Côte d’Ivoire Cotton Jeans’ Indigo x Indigo: €199,90
  • Japan Blue x Tenue de Nîmes ‘Côte d’Ivoire Cotton Jeans’ Indigo x Black: €199,90
  • Japan Blue x Tenue de Nîmes ‘Côte d’Ivoire Cotton Jeans’ washed jeans: €239,90

The jeans are available in store or through the online platform.

Tenue de Nîmes Stores

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Elandsgracht 60
1016 TX Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Haarlemmerstraat 92-94
1013 EV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

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