How It's Made

These Brands Make the Best Studio Denim in Europe

Companion Denim studio in Barcelona

Learn About the Cult of Craft Behind Studio Denim

In the high-end denim community, where clearly defined dress codes allow little divergence from the norm, studio brands (also known as one man brands) offer passionate denimheads a way to stand out. Although some of the most recognized of these one man brands are American, Europe has its fair share. We took a look at the European studio denim scene in this article that was written for and published in the no. 11 issue of Men’s File.

Classic Jeans Construction With a Modern Twist

In every industry there is a brand or a character that defines the business. Within studio denim that man is Roy Slaper; a metalworker from California who didn’t know the first thing about sewing, he just wanted to make his own jeans. Roy single handedly takes care of every aspect of his brand, from sewing the jeans to answering the phone.

The European equivalent is Iu Franquesa and his Barcelona-based brand Companion Denim. Unlike Roy, Iu was born and raised on the factory floor of a denim operation. The design of Companion jeans is contemporary, but even the smallest detail is meticulously constructed by the book of heritage jeans making. Iu spent years collecting the vintage sewing machines he uses to craft jeans that embody his love for classic details, fashioned by his unmatched expertise.

Other European studio denim makers that follow the unwritten rules of classic jeans construction and heritage styling includes Dawson Denim from the UK, Blue Highway from Sweden, Tulp Denim from The Netherlands, and Norway’s Livid Jeans. Livid are the embodiment of the possibilities of a one-man brand. Founder Jens Olav Dankertsen, a self-taught sewer, has managed to combine the one-man studio denim brand he built from the ground up with a wholesale business. Out of this grew a multi-brand retail space in Trondheim, which also houses Livid’s in-house denim factory.

Other makers such as Hiut Denim of Wales and the recently launch Swedish brand Sarva are admirably reintroducing garment manufacturing to their local communities, which once relied on this business.

The Ultimate Studio Denim: Bespoke Jeans

Not all studio denim brands focus on recreating the quintessentially original jeans in terms of construction and design. The concept of bespoke jeans has been commercialized by companies like NYC’s 3×1; in Europe the business model is slowly gaining ground.

In Amsterdam, Koen Tossijn dropped out of Art Academy to focus on making jeans made to measure at Atelier Tossijn. Contrary to most other studio denim makers who rely on vintage machines, Koen uses a state of the art sewing machine. Since he uses only one machine, the Dutch innovator has incorporated many hand stitched details, giving his jeans a unique signature.

In Germany, trained tailor Bela Ujhazy, known as Hepville Custom Clothing, recently started sewing made to measure denim garments. His attention to detail and high level of artisanship is in a league of its own.

In the Austrian capital Vienna, Fardin Sefidpar has made a name for himself on denim forums. A few years ago, he partnered up with industry veteran Dieter Boecksteiner to create turn of the century replicas of iconic denim garments. Their White Feather Mfg. brand has become recognized for its jackets, which are worn by denim historian Michael Harris and photographer Cory Piehowicz.

Are You Ready to Make Your Own Jeans? Start here!

This brief look at the market clearly supports our claim; the trend for individuals sewing their own jeans is growing. The interest we see on Denimhunters in articles related to sewing jeans further underlines it.

If you want to try crafting your oven jeans, you can find all the information you need in our “How To Make Jeans” series.

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