This month the PF Pop Shop is taking over the mezzanine level at the SoCal denim Mecca; Self Edge. While we’re in town we took the opportunity to sit down with store owner Kiya Babzani for a crash course in Japanese denim. Here’s what he had to say…
On the history of Japanese denim In the 80s the Japanese became infatuated with Golden-era America. By mid the 1990s there were 10+ Japanese brands reproducing Americana clothing including selvedge denim. Theses brands have taken vintage manufacturing styles and implemented them in a modern facility. They stayed true to original form, adding only minor improvements.
On how he discovered Japanese Denim I was really into rockabilly in my late teens. On some trips to Hong Kong I discovered Japanese brands that were selling reproductions of vintage American styles. I realized when I came back, none of it was available in America. Self Edge was really the first to do it on this level. We opened our first store in San Fran 8 years ago… and we have a fourth store coming soon!
On why Japanese Denim is better Longevity. The main reason someone should be spending this much on a pair of jeans is because of how they age over time. The Japanese have perfected how denim ages. The fade pattern and exact characteristics of the jeans we sell… you can’t get that on a $100 pair of jeans.
On where the name of his store came from Everyone’s familiar with “selvedge” but the original word was “self edge”, which stands for self edging fabric (fabric which doesn’t have to be stitched). Around the turn of the century this got shortened to selvedge.
On the aesthetic of Self Edge 1950’s Americana, which walks the fine line between dressing like a 16 year old; sneakers, cuffed jeans and white tees, and the very casual side of the 50s and vacation wear… think Aloha shirts. Which is why having the Pop Shop here makes so much sense. That look of a white high top sneaker is quintessential 50s.
On his personal style To dress like a 17 year old in 1957 from the waist down and a 60 year old in 1962 from the waist up.
On the deal with cuffs In the 40s and 50s people would cuff their jeans so they wouldn’t have to hem them. Then when they got taller they could unroll them. Now people like to flash their selvage line and it’s become a bit of a fashion statement. But selvedge isn’t necessarily a indicator of quality… a lot of bigger brands are getting in on selvedge.
On what’s next To keep doing what we’re doing. I think it’s fun to be this into what you wear. Everyone’s so all about where their baby lettuce came from, no one puts that much attention to the clothing they wear. But they’re spending a lot more money on clothing. I think this is going to change.