Choochai is many things: Son to an actual monk, brother, husband, and father. Choochai left an established career, asked his wife to be the primary support for his family to allow him to pursue a dream of indigo. Choochai’s passion for denim and all things indigo is stained in his skin. I’d say he is an extreme denimhead, but that would be reductive as hell. No, Choochai isn’t just a denimhead. He’s a got damn Denim Wizard.
Let’s take it back to my very first review: Choochai Indigo Super Slub Custom Jeans. I was still really new to selvedge denim. I was new to blogging. I barely knew my ass from a hole in the ground. Kind of still don’t, but that is a different problem for another day. I stumbled upon Choochai through the Raw Denim on Facebook, and a friendship was born. Choochai, along with my co-author, Tristan, taught me just about everything I know about denim, indigo, textiles, and the garment industry, I’m a better blogger for knowing him. Most importantly, though, trust was established. Trust is an essential requirement when working on a project with someone 8,500 miles away.
Skip ahead. My first project with Choochai was an absolute pleasure. Through is a word that I would use to describe Choochai. Every imaginable aspect of creating a pair of jeans was discussed, at length, to ensure I was getting exactly what I wanted. The result was a killer. My next move was to create something extraordinary with him.
The Arcuate x Choochai Indigo Signature Jacket is one of my favorite custom projects I’ve been part of. Naturally, it is special to me as it is the first professional collaboration between The Arcuate and any maker within our community. That’s relatively fucking epic, considering we haven’t been around all that long. While I want to dive right into a review on the jacket itself, I feel it is essential to highlight the unique process of creating a custom piece with Choochai.
Choochai x The Arcuate Signature Jacket
First, let’s be really clear, this isn’t just custom denim. I know there are many respectable custom raw options out there. Tristan and I are no stranger to the process and have some great pieces from Soso, Nama, and Blue States. The Choochai model is boutique-style, fully tailored, hand made, custom denim. Every measurement, every detail, every piece of flair (37 pieces of flair!) is discussed in consultation before production ever begins.
With each new project, there is a free online consultation, typically on Facebook messenger. Here, the details are established: project type (jacket, jeans, waistcoat, etc.), fabric, features, and customization selections. Based on what you want to do, the project price is set, the garment paid for, in advance of production, and then Choochai’s magic beings. Rest assured, for all of you contemplating the first project with Choochai, satisfaction is guaranteed. If something isn’t right when you receive your item, Choochai will make it right.
I only bring any of this up because I have gotten a lot of messages asking me about the process, cost, and product when working with Choochai. My first project was different from my second. However, both times the result was the same, awesome fucking denim!
So what about this Choochai collaboration, then, Grant; get the fuck on with it.
Fair enough. The Arcuate x Choochai Indigo Signature Jacket. The idea was to take elements from jackets I own and like, and create something I love that felt it was made for my body specifically. I drew inspiration from Nudie, Rogue Territory, and others and came up with a beautiful, super functional concept and had the Denim Wizard’s personal touch on it. We customized everything from measurements, stitching, arcuates, pocket style, collar detail, buttons, and lining. The result was stunning.
We started with the same foundation. If you’re a frequent flyer to this blog, you might have read my review on Choochai Indigo Super Slub jeans. The same denim used to make my bespoke jeans was used for this project as well. I wanted to use the same denim because it is first and for most, beautiful Japanese Kuroki milled 16.5oz denim. In addition to its aesthetic and quality, it makes for great mid-weight denim that would be ideal for a lining, which I did.
The 100% cotton Wabash lining comes in around 9.5oz, giving the total jacket weight around 25.5oz. I love layering in the winter, but I also like not having to do so. Adding the lining meant that I didn’t have to throw on a sweatshirt or s sweater under my jacket and over my shirt. I ran the lining through the entirety of the body and arms of the coat. If you choose to do this, make sure you account for the narrowing of the arms’ inner lumen; otherwise, you might feel the sleeves are too tight.
The handwoven/natural indigo dyed Wabash lining is soft and warm and visually stunning. When you get close enough to the lining, you can see an intricate diamond pattern in the material and some subtle indigo depth variation. It’s wonderfully unique.
Pockets? Pockets. Pockets!
As mentioned above, I drew inspiration from other garments I love to create a Frankenstein of a creation. The Nudie Conny jacket inspires the slanted/boxy and stylized chest pockets. I always liked the look of these but overall found the fit of the coat too boxy for me. The Conny was kind of a “Type 2″ /”Type 1” Trucker hybrid, with symmetrical chest pockets riding lower on the breast and an absence of handwarmer pockets. I like handwarmer pockets. They are practical and help me from fidgeting with things all the fucking time.
So, the handwarmer pockets! Inspired by RGT’s supply jacket., I love the shape and size of these pockets. They are large enough for me to fit my meat shovel sized hands in without struggle going in or coming out. Also, they are large enough to put objects in with my hands and allow them to both comfortably occupy the same space without causing discomfort. I was first worried that the arching nature of this pocket design would clash with the very angular check pockets, but in actuality, I think they are very complimentary.
ID, PLEASE! And other such details.
This piece doesn’t want for details, from the zig-zag stitching up the buttonhole line and the Wabash underlining of the collar to the upgraded, heavy-duty hardware. Choochai upped his detail game on this project. The coat also has more ID than required to board a plane these days.
The selvedge ID for the Kuroki denim runs the perimeter of the lining, around the cuffs, and under the pocket flaps. More often than not, these details are just for us, the wearer, but we all know we secretly love when someone sees an ID and recognizes it for what it is. It’s like “It’s a Jeep thing,” but way nerdier. Choochai always comes through and surprises me with an unexpected ID placement, and I always geek the Fuck out about it. This time it was the ID on the chest pockets, and, if not for the review, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it for ages. See, this is way nerdier.
The solid, milled copper buttons are a new standard for Choochai. Though, since this project, I believe he even has them branded. Regardless the quality is second-to-none. These buttons are some weighty motherfuckers and will patina beautifully with time. Choochai fastens his buttons with his logo emblazoned elephant rivets, adding a covert detail that shows attention to the importance of branding and subtlety. At least for me, this type of branding is king and lets the aesthetics of the garment be the focus instead of the company imagery.
Quality is king
Pretty is great, but it doesn’t mean a got damn thing is the quality doesn’t match or exceed the aesthetics. Not unlike the jeans he made for me, this jacket is bullet-fucking-though. I haven’t had much chance to put a lot of wear into it yet, as it arrived in 90-degree heat, but I have put it through some field testing. The seams and finishes are well very well reenforce and refined. I expect this piece to hold up as well, if not better than the jeans that took a beating all winter and are otherwise in perfect condition (construction) barring the desired fading.
Choochai is setting a standard of excellence for himself in the quality and design departments. He sees to every detail and checks every product for quality and accuracy, both in discussed details and measurements before every product ships. Meticulous is an accurate word when describing his work. If there was any worry about getting a sub-par product in terms of quality or design, that’s just not a thing when it comes to a Choochai Indigo product.
Bang for your buck
Choochai produces an incredibly high-quality product for a one-man show. Shit, he puts out an incredibly high-quality product that makes you think he has a monstrous team behind him. You’d never guess this is a one-man business supported by a small group of textile artisans. Choochai’s products rival many big-name competitors, both in attention to detail and design, as well as quality and construction.
Expect an utterly bespoke jacket project to run between 350-500 dollars, again, depending on the level of detail and customization. This being said, it is 100% worth the price of admission. Choochai has become one of my favorite denim makers in the game, and I will continue to work on projects with him as I go. Had I enough foresight, I would have had Choochai make me a pair of custom denim for the second annual The Indigo Invitational Fade Competition.
If you have been waiting or felt hesitant to work with Choochai, if you have any questions at all, please use the contact us form and send me a message. I’d be happy to reply and help answer your questions.
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