During the Selvedge Run trade show in Berlin last week, we had the opportunity to chat with the guys from Edwin Europe. After more than 60 years, the Japanese denim brand is ready to take over Europe. With exciting times ahead for the brand, let’s first take a look back at the biggest moments in Edwin’s history.
The Japanese denim label was established in 1947 by Mr. Tsunemi, one of the first Japanese denim heads. Unsatisfied by the quality of denim being created in Japan at the time, he traveled to the United States, looking for inspiration on the fits, washes and quality that the brand is known for today. In 1961, the first Edwin jeans hit the market. Two years later, in 1963, Edwin produced the (then) world’s heaviest ring spun jean at 16oz, featuring their tri-coloured Rainbow selvedge, which is still in use today.
Back in the 80ies, Edwin was the first brand to apply stonewashing techniques and to commercialize prewashed denim. Suddenly, the worn look was up for grabs for everyone. It is safe to say that these innovations have affected the whole denim industry and made Edwin one of the strongest denim brands around.
Edwin is arguably best known as a Japanese export, however, Edwin Europe is working hard to create its own identity. A talk with region manager Christian Wieseke and denim developer Niels Mulder from Edwin Europe.
What is on the planning for Edwin Europe?
In recent years, Edwin has become increasingly popular throughout Europe, thanks to the Edwin Europe counterpart and the launch of the womenswear line. Since 2003, Edwin Europe is part of the Carharrt WIP group.
Going forward, this will be a great year for the brand in terms of retail expansion. We are pushing our own retail spaces in Europe to promote the brand as much as we can. There already exists a big community around the brand in the UK, which is our leading country. We are looking to build similar communities in Germany, France, The Netherlands and Belgium.
When comparing Edwin Europe to Edwin in Japan, what are the main differences?
In Japan, Edwin is the biggest denim brand, much bigger than the European branch. It is a commercial brand, but the focus is still on craftmanship and tradition. We will keep on doing really good selvedge denim made from Japanese fabric and offer it to the customer for 150 euros.
Other Japanese brands, like Momotaro, operate out of Japan. Not so for Edwin; we are a license here in Europe and adapt to the European market.
How is the brand perceived in Europe?
It depends very much on the country. In the UK for example, the focus of the customers is not so much on the selvedge part but more on style and fit. In Germany, our customers are looking for premium fabric. To them, that is the most important thing.
What can we expect from the womens collection?
We offer 7 styles for women, from super high-waisted skinnies to straight-cut and boyrfriend fits. These fits come in different qualities and all have subtle detailing to them. There even exists a selvedge quality for women.
Many of our female customers want comfort combined with style and that is exactly what we offer.