The Onomichi Denim Project, a chic boutique in Onomichi, Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture, is a popular destination for denim enthusiasts looking for a pair of truly special jeans. The shop is well-known around Japan and even abroad for selling premium jeans that have been worn by select members of the local community for at least one year.
Selling used jeans, or any other type of clothing for that matter, is not exactly a new business model, but Onomichi Denim Project is not your average second-hand denim retailer. Created in 2013, as a collaborative effort between local designer Yoshiyuki Hayashi, textile expert Yukinobu Danjo, and Discoverlink Setouchi, an organization that aims to supports local industry, the minimalist boutique aims to draw attention to the city’s top-quality craftsmanship and its people in a unique way. Plus, while used denim is generally sold at a discount, these particular jeans actually get about twice as expensive after being worn by somebody almost daily, for at least a year.
严格意义上说，出售二手牛仔裤或者其他种类的服饰并非某种新兴商业模式，但“尾道丹宁计划”也绝非你心中普通的二手牛仔裤零售店。该店创立于2013年，由本土设计师Yoshiyuki Hayashi、纺织专家Yukinobu Danjo和致力于支持本地产业的Discoverlink Setouchi机构联手打造。这家极简主义精品店力求以独特的方式吸引外界关注本市的顶级工艺和匠人。除此之外，尽管二手牛仔裤一般都是打折出售，但这家店里被别人天天穿了至少一整年的旧裤子售价却是原价的两倍。
Denim aficionados know that jeans usually require breaking to look their best, but there’s an art to how to wear, wash and dry them to achieve that desired look. That’s what makes Onomichi Denim Project so special – they hand-pick the wearers from the local community and closely monitor their transformation over the course of one year. Wearers rotate through two pairs of jeans that they promise to wear almost every day for the entire period, and bring them to the shop every week, to be laundered at a special denim processing facility, which ensures that every pair retains the evidence of each wearer’s life and work.
Meridian Magazine reports that Onomichi Denim Project recruits wearers from various walks of life to achieve various patterns. For example, a pair of jeans worn by a fisherman has faded lines left by knee-high rubber boots, a factory worker’s will feature the marks of a year’s worth of iron powder penetrating the fabric, while a wild boar hunter’s jeans will have permanent traces of blood. Every pair is obviously unique.
But getting people to agree to wearing one or two pairs of jeans for an entire year was tough, in the beginning. Some were intrigued by the idea but were reluctant to wear jeans almost exclusively, especially in the hot summer months, while others simply wondered who in their right mind would want to buy used jeans at premium prices. But soon a local architect jumped at the opportunity, thinking it would be fun, and others joined the program as well, to help boost their city’s travel industry.
When the pre-wearing period ends, each pair of jeans is washed according to color, hang-dried or tumbled, checked for individuality, tagged with detailed descriptions and put on sale at the minimalist Onomichi Denim Project boutique for anywhere between ¥25,000 ($215) and ¥48,000 ($415). That’s about twice as they usually cost when new, but these are not just any jeans, they are cultural artifacts.
It’s not clear whether some of the proceeds from the sales go to wearers, but most of them are just happy to not have to spend money on jeans for a year.