The Flat Head is based in Nagano, Japan, and was founded in 1996 by the ever-smiling Masayoshi Kobayashi. A fan of 50s American vintage clothing, classic cars, and Rockabilly, these influences can be seen his workshop decor and are also woven throughout his clothing, spanning across five labels under the Flat Head umbrella. His obsessive attention to detail is legendary and is perhaps best summed up in his story of taking three full years of daily toil to finally get his fabric right. He also tells of wanting to use custom rivets that were longer than standard to make his jeans indestructible: ‘Nobody made rivets like that so I had to do it myself. But before I could make my own rivets I first had to design and build a machine that could make the rivets…so I could then make the jeans…‘ Business as usual in the world of Japanese denim.
Aside from this fanatical attention to detail, The Flat Head jeans are known for their incredible fade potential, and the speed at which they can achieve that potential. Comparatively-speaking, The Flat Head jeans tend to fade quite quickly, especially in a manner known as vertical fading which is, as you might have guessed, fine lines of fading that occur vertically through the fabric. This type of fading was common in vintage jeans and it is this ability to fade that makes The Flat Head, perhaps along with Samurai, a perennial favorite among those looking for high-contrast, blow-your-face-off fades. Kobayashi-san says that the line between creating jeans and creating art is a blurry one, and he himself often doesn’t know which side of it he’s on when he’s making his clothing. You may find yourself similarly uncertain if you have a chance to handle a pair of his jeans.
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