It can’t be denied – there is a raw denim revolution going on. We’ve covered this in many forms here on Denimology and I have reviewed a number of brands both big and small. This time I’m going to focus on one of the smaller brands by reviewing the Klé Denim Matsue jeans by of course, Klé Denim a brand dedicated to raw selvedge denim.
As part of this review, I also had the chance to talk with the brand’s creator, Keoni. The motivation behind the brand seems to be the desire to create a pair of jeans that can be worn everyday, for every occasion and would never run out of style. Keoni describes raw denim as a second skin, a tattoo, that should be admired and reflect the journey of its wearer.
The Klé Denim Matsue jeans are made from a sanforized 14.5 ounce Kuroki Japanese selvedge denim. Although the jeans are designed in Canada, the denim is from Japan, the actual construction, both cut and sewn, happens in Los Angeles California. In order to honor the land where the denim is actually from, Klé Denim adds certain elements into the design of the Matsue jeans that are easy to miss. For example, the back pockets are actually an homage to Mt. Fuji. Beside resembling the landmark in shape they also take on it’s character. What I mean by that is that as the back pockets fade (similar to how a mountain erodes) the white of the cotton threads begin to show just as a snow-covered mountain top. Now this may seem like a bunch of fluff but I can absolutely capture this essence and theory. This is what raw denim is, slowly revealing different layers and complexities as you move through life.
All of this character makes me feel more “in touch” with the brand and buy in to what they are trying to sell…having a quality product helps as well. The beauty of the Kuroki denim used is undeniable. I had one of those rare moments when I first took the jeans out of the package when I just wanted to look them over for a second longer. The rivets are stamped with a pretty great design that shows a flower made of feathers with a skull in the middle. This detail is shown on every pocket rivet and the button fly. The tonal stitching easily blends into the fabric and creates a aesthetically pleasing look that can be worn for many different occasions. Now be warned, these are stiff right out of the gate. It takes a while for them to break-in and get to the point where you have full range of hip motion. But keep in mind, breaking in raw denim is not a sprint. So if you can put in the work, you will be rewarded. I just had to only wear them in around the house for an hour or two at a time before I felt comfortable enough walking up stairs and sitting down in public.
Getting down to the fit now is where I found my main concern with the Klé Denim Matsue jeans. Listed as a slim fit, I loved the small leg opening and the fit on the thighs was spot on. However, the area that I think needs to be highlighted is in the rise. These are low rise..and I mean low rise. Which is a bit confusing because they are pretty standard measurements if you look, but for some reason if I make any type of bending motion, I am showing major ass cleavage. Perhaps this has something to do with the stiffness that I have yet to fully break in or something else, but I only wear these jeans with longer shirts. I would not recommend wearing them with a tucked in shirt because the first move you make with result in you fighting to tuck it back in.
At the moment, Klé Denim has a very small selection of denim – just two fits and one fabric. When I first came across the brand they also had an amazing leather and denim bag – which doesn’t seem to exist any longer. However, I asked Keoni about what else is in store for Klé and he definitely recognized the need to expand. Aside from the two fits, Klé is looking to add a few jackets, baseball caps and perhaps some additional leather and denim accessories down the road. And if they continue to push out great clean looking denim, I am excited to see the selection increase.
Bottom Line: Overall this is a really high quality pair of selvedge denim. The fit is low and slim so make sure you choose your size wisely. Also, be prepared to put in the work from day one to help take out some of the stiffness. There are some details that seem overlooked that leaves some room for improvement. The rigidness of the Klé Denim Matsue jeans probably wouldn’t be right for first time raw denim wearers, but those that are willing to put in the work will be rewarded.
Feel free to check out my other reviews here.
Until the next pair,