Slow and Steady Wins The Race With Japanese Brand orSlow


If durability, longevity and wearability are at the top of your list when searching for clothes, then the Japanese brand orSlow should be firmly on your radar. Founded in 2005, orSlow are known for their considered and refined approach to denim, military and workwear silhouettes. 

orSlow’s founder and designer, Ichiro Nakatsu, has little trouble finding inspiration. Like his compatriots Hiroki Nakamura (Visvim) and Daiki Suzuki (Engineered Garments), Ichiro is known for his extensive and impressive archive of vintage American clothing, and in particular, his collection of vintage denim. 

Utilizing his collection as inspiration, Ichiro started orSlow as primarily a denim label. The name was chosen as a contrast to what he views as a society and industry moving too fast, focusing on trends and fads rather than purposeful and thoughtful production. 

Instead, Ichiro prefers to take his time when developing new products - however long that may be - with the aim of achieving the same exacting standards and high quality as the vintage clothing he has spent years collecting.

orslow x canoe club shore coat and painter pants on body

This is most apparent in orSlow’s jeans. Made in Okayama Prefecture, the denim mecca of Japan, the brand offers two core models, which Ichiro spent three full years developing. Both are crafted from orSlow’s original Japanese selvedge denim fabric, which is woven using antique shuttle looms. The 13.7oz cloth has an intentionally soft and fluffy handle that highlights the subtle variations and unique character that can only be achieved from using old machines, which produce at a much slower rate than their modern equivalents. These characteristics are something Ichiro finds particularly appealing and which give a unique quality to his jeans. 

Of the two styles, the orSlow 105 model, known as their standard fit, is Ichiro’s homage to the iconic straight leg 501 jean. The orSlow 107 IVY fit model is a slimmer fitting style inspired by the jeans worn on Ivy League campuses in the 1960s. Both styles have a medium rise and are available in just one length, which is generally shorter than most - meaning that for the majority of us, they’re good to wear from the get-go. 

Each model also has versions in black and white denim, with other fabrics available too, but both are consistently available in a one wash and a two year wash. The former is exactly as described, and will still satisfy fans of raw denim, while the two year wash has been praised as the closest thing to buying a real pair of vintage 501 jeans from the 1950s.

orslow 105s two year wash, orslow 107s two year wash

Even though at its core orSlow is a denim brand, they offer much more than just jeans. Ichiro also takes on military wear and workwear from the US and Europe. From their interpretation of the original Vietnam-era fatigue pants (shout out regular fit) to workwear coveralls and more, all are crafted with the same attention to detail. 

And while orSlow may ultimately honor the styles and manufacturing methods of the past, Ichiro is also conscious that his clothes should be wearable in the now. Two of their most popular trouser styles, the New Yorker pants and the French work pants, have been reinterpreted with ultra comfortable elasticated waistbands and contemporary tapered fits. Olive green military styles are also offered in civilian-friendly colors and fabrics, proving that orSlow is a brand that can successfully combine the utilitarian needs of the past with the style requirements of today. 

Beyond this, what makes orSlow so unique from other like minded brands is that the majority of their collection rarely changes. This means that once you find that perfect piece, you can keep coming back to it time and time again. Be that refreshing your favorite pair of jeans, or buying the same great jacket in every variation possible. 

For us, in an era of fleeting trends, even in the world of niche menswear, orSlow provides a reassuringly steadfast approach to producing quality, wearable clothing that is built to last. Something we're all about here at Canoe Club.

lady white grindle tee, orslow painter pants in white on bodyjungmaven tee, orslow overalls on body