Glad to have you with us for another insightful instalment of ‘The Brands…’ edition of the 10@10.
This week we have a jeans brand that perfectly fuse the hand-craftsmanship of Kojima, Japan with the distinctive Nordic sense of style as @steelfeatherjeans answer those “famous” 10 questions.
We are delighted to have the creative mind behind @steelfeatherjeans in Anders, whose passion for Japanese selvedge has lead him on a path towards creating the “perfect jeans”.
Crafted in Japan, Without Compromise
To give a feel for how Anders’ creative process works here is a snippet from their site on where their name derives from…
“…when combined, the dichotomic nature of the words Steel and Feather – where the former implies hardness and durability, while the latter implies softness and pliability – is meant to signify that our jeans can both be comfortable and durable at the very same time. They are simple and rugged jeans for your complex and active life.”
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Anders Helseth
BRAND: Steel Feather by Anders Helseth
LOCATION: Designed in Norway, Crafted by hand with great attention to detail, in Kojima, Kurashiki-city, Japan.
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Hand-crafted Japanese selvedge jeans.
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Steel Feather start out? (For people that don’t already know)
The short version: It started out with me collecting plenty of well-made selvedge jeans, but never getting ALL the details I appreciated in one pair of jeans. It’s also about realising my dream, and just making an opportunity for myself. It’s a creative outlet, which I felt I needed in an environment that won’t necessarily provide me with the challenges and growth I need.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
Not many are aware of this, that I also teach. Mainly social studies and marketing. My work days are quite flexible, and I seize every opportunity for inspiration seeking. I also write a lot, but as of now none of my stories are ready for any form of publishing. I hope to get there, and I am a DO-er, so such products will happen.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? And why do you think this is?
First: The 21oz Steel Feather SF0121 jeans, for it’s uniqueness. One of the earliest heavy AND super slim selvedge jeans, also with a special fly. The part about the fly was a big risk, as it put a lot of people off. But what is life without a little risk? Second: the Steel Feather SF02AI jeans, being my only natural indigo product, and I was actually somewhat surprised to see it sell so fast (natural indigo denim is quite expensive). Third: the Steel Feather SF0216 jeans, being a rough and slubby denim with the texture that I appreciate very much.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
I’m tempted to say it’s a tie between the 21oz first edition and the SF0216. Your first product is kind of like a “first love” kind of thing. I also love the fact that I was able to have them made in Japan. A culture obsessed with craftsmanship, and the seeking of perfection within their craft. Only good can come of this.
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?
I support it wholeheartedly. I’m happy to be aware that there are dedicated people out there who are actively spread the word about my brand. Such ambassadors are the best thing I could ever hope for, and I want them to know I appreciate their efforts and attention a whole lot! When I first started I wouldn’t dare imagine my brand would hit home with such a great crowd.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
I don’t have any way to survey that, but I’m sure the accessibility of picture, text and video information out there on Steel Feather jeans has been a great help for people who consider buying my products. Thanks again, to you guys and girls who rock Steel Feather!
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 don’t have any definitive favourites, but I would like to point out especially @welldresseddad. Nick’s a great guy with loads of passion and humor; as well as great taste. I admire him for all of that.
Alvaro of @fauststore.no also deserves mention, I feel he’s the “shoe guy” version of me, the “jeans guy”. He’s also living proof a shoe salesman doesn’t have to be a miserable… well, he’s an awesome guy, and let’s leave it at that. Ha! Reference is “Married With Children” Ed O’Neill’s shoe salesman: Al Bundy. So just another Al, peddling shoes. On another note: with every good pair of jeans, a pair of high quality shoes do belong.
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?
I love writing (and reading), and I intend to pursue that further. I have a lovely wife who has supported my ventures all the way, and is still rooting heavily for me. I owe her everything for my success. Also my group of friends and other people who inspire me. People whose passion has fuelled my passion, and led me to greater ambition. Oh, and I love quality coffee, too.
For relaxing, I love cinema or watching movies at home, but again the writing and reading. Writing doesn’t feel like work, but gives me energy. It’s one of the ways I charge my batteries. In a way that’s even better than relaxing.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
The people involved with making the products. Without them Steel Feather would’ve still be a sketch in my work desk. Steel Feather is a very personal brand, with strong ties to my own person. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the line is between the person and the brand; if it’s a good or bad thing I leave open.
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?
For my outfit I’d bring: 1) my blue and grainy Tricker’s, which I bought from @fauststore.no before there even was an actual Faust store, for keeping my feet dry and well protected; 2) my Steel Feather SF0216s jeans because they are so damn comfortable and will keep me protected; 3) my MiJ Evisu (un-painted) Special No.1 jean jacket, because double denim is the way to go; 4) my colored-by-hand chestnut 14oz leather Hollows Leather hand-crafted belt, with the Japanese brass buckle. Now, that was a mouthful and then some. The belt is to keep my jeans up, naturally.
As for drink I would go with Weihenstephaner, a german weissbier (wheat beer). Wheat beer, if other beers can be considered as “bread”, then this is the “cake” of beers. The calories alone should keep me going a long time. It is the oldest running brewery in the world, so they must be doing something right. Right?
Great stuff Anders. A great insight into your brand mate + with every brand that comes along made-in-Kojima you can really see why. Your product looks top quality! Also, from a fellow coffee-head you seem to have that locked down too…Tim Wendelboe is perhaps the best coffee I’ve ever had
Thursday’s feature sees us get into a virtual chinwag with a bearded cool gent who has a real eye for a pic as @laermkulisse gets his feed up on the board. It’s a good one guys so keep a lookout for that…
Have a tip top week folks and stay close, below is a few things listed FYI…
1). There’s new product on the CLOBBERCALM STORE. Stay tuned, the independent craftsmen & woman that make our product are the real deal.
2). @threads.and.fades.2017 is starting to pick up steam so bob over and check it out.