IN SOME ways you could attribute the term Primus inter pares or First among equals to the denim strong label of Edwin, but taking that term to its uppermost literal meaning does not do justice to the role of the Japanese label in the world of denim manufacturers.
Edwin really are not first among anyone, they are simply the first or to use its native tongue, Ichiban.
It takes something special to remain at the top of the tree, or its take special actions, approaches, designs, to make you remembered as the first to achieve something ground breaking and that’s exactly what the Tokyo based company has done.
Bucking trends, or not following the herd has resulted in a manufacturer that has reached the top of the mountain and gleefully sat there since its creator Mr Tsunemi decided not to use ‘inferior’ quality denim, being manufactured in Japan in 1947.
Mr T, chose instead to import American denim, due to material contestants on the country after the Second World War.
He would launder, repair and carry out whatever else was needed to the garments, before selling them on.
A decade later he went alone, creating his own jeans, before the brand, that we all know now called Edwin, a play on the word denim itself, was finally launched in 1965.
It didn’t take long before the label was back at it, raising the bar higher once again, this time to a height that every denim manufacturer now has to work from, with the invention of stone washing.
Knowing then, that a pair of Edwin jeans are a standout purchase, It is the variation of other garments that also strike home.
Of the jeans, the ED ranges cover all needs and tastes from Selvedge in their red label, I like the ED-47 myself, to heavy indigo in the ED-55, to washed and even tapered, I must say the Japan X Edwin ED55 Japan Rainbow selvedge are something quite beautiful.
The range also offers black chinos in the same cut as the 55 jeans.
Of the other garments, I like the Oiler range of cable knit jumpers and beanie hats, my favourite being the Mulled beanie, with its fleck detailing and simple Edwin hem patch, it also comes in navy, and has a natural ‘distressed’ look that works well.
The jumpers are a simpler crew neck navy or marl grey and you just know these are warm and comfortable, especially with the soft ribbing on the cuffs and waistband.
Shirt wise the Labour French collar offerings are a delight, and hold an industrial workman feel to them, with oversized buttons adding to the sturdy/relaxed look.
Poles apart in finishes, the Blue Off White shirt, with delicious contrast stitching, offers two chest pockets in a Herringbone finish, while the Multi shirt is a striped navy, biege, red and muted yellow design, where the colourings highlight the garments cotton material perfectly. It almost has the feel of an over shirt.
There’s fun and flippancy in the range with the One in Every Port, a white cotton T, with a Sailor Jerry style print on the front.
Or you could play it straight with a delightful Baller wool bomb jacket, with contrast black sleeves and navy body, and a cool leather topped zip chest pocket, or wrap it up with the straight fit wool blend Coach jacket.
As shown at the top of this article, the cover of DJ and one time Housemartin Fat Boy Slim’s second album: You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby sported an overweight youngster with the T-shirt legend, ‘I’m No: 1, so why try harder’.
Edwin is exactly that, but it keeps trying and succeeding to stay top of the pile.