I hope everybody is doing great and has enjoyed a top weekend. Not sure if any of you saw my Instagram Stories over the weekend but I had the pleasure of attending a medieval themed wedding in a Scottish castle and it was a very unique experience. I had to drop the denim, for a day, in favour of a leather smock and cotton robes but it was great. Top fun!
Anyway enough about me. As you probably already know this Monday is all about Kojima Genes aka @kojimagenesxsf, their email sign-off stood out to me the second I saw it, it reads “Good Genes make Good Jeans”. A very fitting motto as their founder Hidemitsu Kawazome has grown up surrounded by the holy thread. Based in Kojima Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan (said to be the home of Japanese Denim) Hidemitsu and a passionate team have been producing high quality denim products for 20 years in there Okayama based factory. With products that are crafted with the utmost care, their aim is to share the passion and “jolly spirits” in the form of jeans with people from all around the world.
Recently, I have had the pleasure of sporting their 21oz straight cut jean. The raw indigo denim is incredible on this weight and the craftsmanship is second to none. Very heavy as you can imagine, this particular pair carries a great slub look and from what I have seen on google are going to play host to some amazing fades. BONUS! Something else for me to document on my IG feed journey!
The Kojima guys are such a lovely team and have a real enthusiasm for getting to know us, the customer! Always getting back when I reach out to them it’s been a pleasure putting this feature together and I hope to work more and more with this great company down the line…
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Hidemitsu Kawazome
COMPANY: KOJIMA GENES by HOOK Ltd.
ESTABLISHED: April, 1996
LOCATION: Kojima Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan
SIZE OF TEAM: 13
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Lifestyle and jolly spirits. We want to fulfill our customer’s essential needs while bringing them jolly spirits.
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Kojima Genes start out?
I was born and raised in Kojima, Japan. I grew up in a community where many of my friends and relatives were in the denim industry. Denim was a huge part of my life growing up. It was predestined for me to get into the denim industry.
I wanted to build a jeans company that prioritised the lifestyle of the customer. Regardless of age or gender, we wanted to create jeans that everyone would love. With all that in mind, combined with my respect for Kojima craftsmen, KOJIMA GENES was born.
For the KOJIMA GENES x SF project, we wanted to produce a new product. We worked with KUROKI Textile Mill, who developed the “Wakon-ai” natural indigo denim. We wanted to bring top quality denim to the global market at an affordable price point.
2. You are currently doing a crowd funding campaign. Please tell us all about it?
We want more people around the world to wear our jeans that are “Made in Kojima, Japan” globally recognised as a “DENIM MECCA”. We put our heart and passion into every step of creating jeans.
We chose crowdfunding as a platform for the project as we wanted to bring you jeans directly to you whilst keeping the costs as low as possible without comprising on quality.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? Why do you think this is?
13OZ KEVLAR W-KNEE
These jeans have Kevlar mixed in the fibers. Out of all the denim we have created, this is the strongest and the most durable. This 13oz denim is very easy to wear regardless of the strength of it.
18OZ SELVEDGE VINTAGE STRAIGHT
A standard 18oz denim with detail in the fabric, manufacturing and product value. The 18oz features whiskers and honeycombs for a beautiful fade.
15OZ SELVEDGE STRAIGHT
Our famous 15oz Jeans. The theme for these jeans is cost performance. We were able to include a vintage infused design whilst keeping the price low. Many in Japan love our 15oz pair. We feel these jeans portray our lifestyle and jolly spirits concept.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
13OZ KEVLAR W-KNEE (2012)
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
Social media has definitely made an impact on fashion. It gives many entrepreneurs a chance to spread their brand. Instagram helps many people enjoy fashion. Instagram is a very valuable tool for fashion.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
I have never really pondered about it until now, but after starting a crowdfunding project I saw how many people KOJIMA GENES has reached across the world. I realize that this is all the exposure we have gotten on social media. From now on I hope to be able to use social media to reach even more people in the world.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
I check denim related pages very regularly. I do not necessarily have one page I always check, I check a wide range of Instagram pages. I have been a fan of RRL from long ago.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
Outside of denim, I enjoy riding motorcycles. I ride my Harley every weekend. I find joy in doing things I like, including denim.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
Product planning and manufacturing the products. The challenge of creating a product with a high cost performance and watching a happy customer overjoys me. Our jeans are made with daily use in mind. This is why we want customers to be happy wearing our products everyday.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
What would they be? And Why?
Drink – KIRIN Beer, a beer that represents Japan.
KOJIMA GENES “Lager Jacket” – A jacket we collaborated with Kirin Beer to develop. This jacket holds a special place in my heart. (Watch video)
KOJIMA GENES KELVAR DENIM – A strong, comfortable denim. There is no doubt in this choice.
T-Shirt with a KOJIMA GENES Logo – I may die on this island so I want something to remind me of my hometown of Kojima and KOJIMA GENES.
Zippo Lighter – I would like to have one last smoke! (I should have cigarettes with me though…)
Hey Hidemitsu, you’re taking a Zippo to the island? You’re the only one so far…it’s gunna make the BBQ’ing a whole lot easier that buddy!
Thanks for taking the time out to answer the 10@10 for us Hidemitsu and giving us all a top top insight into your company. I’m looking forward to breaking in many more Kojima products in the future, although I think I’m going to be a while with the 21oz Hidemitsu.
For everybody else, if you love your heavy denim and like a straight cut on your strides I urge you to check out the Kojima Genes Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaigns. These bad boys are tough! Very tough! They’ve already filled me full of joy, no problem. Their campaign ends on the 27th of this month so bob on over and check it out before its too late! I will be posting some pics of these jeans over the next few days via my feed so if you’re interested you can check them out via @clobbercalm.
Moving onto this Thursday we have Carey aka @ottonomous1. An awesome bloke from Minnesota (home of Red Wing) whose passion for denim, boots and everything else we all love makes him perfect for the hot-seat! If you don’t know him already, check him out before his piece of the 10@10 pie is ready to eat this Thursday.
And Monday…well Monday we have a real treat. A big treat! Karl from Rogue Territory aka @RGT has stepped forward and accepted my humble request for him to slide into the 10@10 interviewee chair and despite being a very busy family man/denim innovator, Karl has taken the time to tell us stuff that’s really, really cool to know! Don’t miss this one dudes. It’ll be live next Monday.
Have a top week peeps and looking forward to see you all again this Thursday!