We continue Denim Week by highlighting some of the best denim stores on Earth. See the rest of our Denim Week features here.
You might think it self evident that all men are created equal, but let’s get this straight from the start: all denim is not. Finding truly premium denim is like finding truffles in the forest. You can’t just walk into a store and hunt for the most expensive pair on the rack; you need someone who knows the best spots - someone who knows those dedicated vendors that deal exclusively in premium product.
People don't usually just hand this info out, but we’ve seen enough ill-fitting bootcut jeans to haunt us for a lifetime. So, like a well-dressed bloodhound, we’ve sniffed out 15 of the world’s best outlets for scoring top-grade, crème-de-la-loom denim so you can rock nothing but the best on your bottom half.
TATE + YOKO (Montreal)
9096 Blvd. St-Laurent Montreal, Quebec H2N 1M9 Canada
For the citizens of Montreal there’s only one place to get a good pair, and that’s TATE + YOKO on Boulevard St-Laurent. The original Canadian source of artisan Japanese denim, the store was stocking brands like Japan Blue, Oni Denim, D#, and Kamikaze Attack before many others had picked up on them. A classic in so many senses.
Blue Owl Workshop (Seattle)
707a N. 35th Street 2nd Floor Seattle, WA 98103 USA
With a great selection of raw denim and some rare collaborative projects between some of the smaller Japanese names, Blue Owl Workshop is a solid bet for those seeking a cut above the norm. They also win mega bonus points for having perhaps the friendliest customer service known to man.
Pronto Denim (Bangkok)
Various Locations in Thailand
If you thought Thailand was all about knockoffs and cut-offs, Pronto Denim will show you otherwise. Carrying everything from respected mass-market brands like Nudie and Naked & Famous to some of the more cult Japanese labels, there’s a little something to suit everyone’s tastes here. Furthermore, with four separate stores across the country, there’s less of a trek required to get your hands (and legs) on the goods.
6-10-14 Ueno Taito-Ku Tokyo, 110-0005 Japan
Pause for a moment and pay respect to one of Tokyo’s oldest streetwear institutions. Having been in the workwear and vintage game for more than 65 years, in the very country where the world's best denim is manufactured, you better believe you can find some good cloth here. That’s about all we need to say on this one.
Self Edge (San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Portland)
Various Locations in the USA
Whether you call it selvage or selvedge, there’s no denying Self Edge (see what they did there) is one of the leading suppliers of this most prized of denims. Carrying a wealth of premium U.S. and Japanese brands, along with a number of its own collaborative pieces, its four stores have been serving the discerning American public for long enough now to know exactly what they want.
Image: Isaac Likes
3x1 (New York)
15 Mercer St. New York, NY 10013 USA
Founder Scott Morrison scoured the globe in order to source the best denim and indigo in existence. Offering three types of jeans - either from the Collection, Custom or Bespoke - 3x1 takes the idea of a personal pair of jeans to a whole new level. Even if you're not in the market for a new pair, you should stop by the next time you're in Soho to see the team in action.
Tenue De Nimes (Amsterdam)
Various Locations in the Netherlands
Self-confessed suppliers of what they like to call "The Good Things In Life" (provided your life revolves around top notch denim), Tenue De Nimes owners Menno and René certainly know a thing or two about "pure blue." As well as being remarkably well furnished, their stores are a trove of domestic denim brands like Denham along with the more obscure names from further east.
Dee Cee Style (Zürich)
Talacker 21 CH-8001 Zürich Switzerland
Nothing to do with the U.S. capitol, Dee Cee Style is one of Zurich’s premier workwear and casual fashion outlets, stocking brands from all over the globe. When it comes to denim, however, they have an East-meets-West policy that sees the best of America (Stevenson, Raleigh) and Japan (Sugar Cane, Anachronorm) combined with many others under one roof.
Rindermarkt 8 8001 Zürich Switzerland
The other premier denim spot in Zurich. Rumor has it that the owner of Dee Cee Style actually used to work here before he left to set up a rival store. Still, with 28 years in the game and brands like Pure Blue, Iron Heart and Indigofera on its racks, VMC isn’t going anywhere soon.
Over The Rainbow (Toronto)
101 Yorkville Ave. Toronto, Ontario M5R 1C1 Canada
There are denim shops and then there’s Over The Rainbow. This legend of the Toronto shopping scene has been in business since 1975 and carries over 30 different brands for all tastes, shapes, colors and sizes. While this includes a certain amount of high-street fashion, you’ll also find a number of very fine names among the thousands of pairs on their shelves.
Image: The Denim Guy
dutil. (Vancouver + Toronto)
Various Locations in Canada
A strong selection of denim from select fashion brands and Japanese artisans alike can be found in this duo of stores. You’ll also find a super knowledgeable staff on hand to help you navigate the at-times bewildering array of cuts on offer. Hopefully you’ll find a great pair of jeans, too.
Image: The Grid To
American Rag (Los Angeles + Newport Beach)
Various Locations in the USA
American Rag is something of an institution and has been recognized for its eclectic array of international wares. Denim-wise, brands like PRPS, Kuro, Closed and Adriano Goldschmeid occupy the higher end of the spectrum, while more household names like Levi’s and Kill City ensure there’s a little something for everyone inside.
Take5 (Hong Kong)
1/F 17 Cameron Road Tsim Sha Tsui Kln Hong Kong
In a city as obsessed with shopping as Hong Kong it goes without saying that there’re a fair few places to get good quality denim, but Take5 has been so successful that it’s managed to open shops in Taipei, mainland China and Thailand as well. While the website is a bit of a mess, the selection in store is bang on the money.
Image: Dandy Harun
The Denim Store (Singapore)
333A Orchard Road #03-09/10/11 Mandarin Orchard Hotel Singapore
No clever names, no funny business - The Denim Store is the only destination you need in Singapore for premium denim. Yes, the website is nothing more than a Blogger page and yes it hasn’t been updated since last December, but don’t let that fool you. These guys are the real deal.
Mode Man (Seoul)
567-34, Mapo-gu 2nd floor Yeonnam-dong, Seoul South Korea
Mode Man is like the United Nations for top quality denim. Here you’ll find brands from Japan, Korea, U.S., Canada, Sweden and France in vast numbers, making it one of the most comprehensive stores on our list. Make sure you have some time on your hands if you decide to pay it a visit. You’ll need it.
Check out the rest of Denim Week here.