If you have been reading this blog for some time or following us on Instagram, you have undoubtedly seen our interview with Vishesh Sachdev, the owner of Nama denim. It’s also possible you have seen my editor, Grant Schildhouse, had a custom pair Nama jeans made for his entry into the Indigo Invitational. His decision mostly came off the back of seeing, first hand, how high quality the Nama products are through my purchases.
I have been rocking a pair of custom 12.5oz Nama Jeans for a quite a while now. Usually, we like to put in some good wear on our denim products before we write reviews. This is for two reasons. First impressions are often skewed by the “shiny-shiny, new-new” effect. You know, that feeling you have just because something is new and has nothing to do with quality. Second, part of this blog’s purpose is discussing durability and quality, and the best way we know if a product stands up to those measures is to put them through the wringer.
Usually, we give new products 30 days of straight wear and just go about life. This was 100% my plan and intention, then COVID-19 hit. My denim fade projects were put on hiatus due to the concerns of spreading the virus from public places to my family through surface contact. In fact, the first article I wrote was about ‘was it time to wash or quarantine your jeans. When I wrote that article, I never imagined we would still be talking and worry about COVID-19 in September of 2020, but here we are.
So needless to say, this made wearing and giving a fair review harder than usual. Do rush this review would be an injustice to Vishesh and to his products. Yes, I could have just worn my jeans at home like sweat pants, but if you can show me a sick quarantine, “never left my apartment,” faded pair of jeans, ill send you a special prize.
Alright, enough banter onto the review. While I actually acquired three pieces to review from Nama, I want to focus on my custom jeans. There is a trend, especially with the Indigo Invitational around the corner and the number of Made To Order entrants involved. It seems very topical.
Nama is one of a handful of brands offering custom/made to order/ bespoke jeans to consumers. This is still somewhat new but is, in fact, gaining a lot of speed. When Grant and I first started The Arcuate, the leading player in custom jeans was SOSO. Now there are at least six great options in the custom realm, and Nama is one.
As we do, I will break this review up into three categories: Aesthetics, Quality, Value. First, “Aesthetics;” we are going to take a look at the denim itself; we will talk about characteristics of the jeans/jacket that make them stand out from or simply blend into a crowd. Second, we are going to discuss “Quality;” this will include construction and overall perceived and experienced durability. Finally, “Value;” is more practical stuff, including price, shipping, and how the first two review points weigh into the overall value. Overall, we will give products either a “Definite Buy,” or “Nice to Try.”
I decided to lighten the load for this custom job and selected a 12.5 oz Saturated Indigo Selvedge with a Gold Selvedge ID. The denim has a great clean texture to it. It’s not too slubby, not too neppy, not low tension denim, but just an outstanding overall balance. The denim is Japanese, as is all the denim Nama uses. If you check out Nama’s ‘Premium “pre-made” jeans,’ they do a great job describing the denim’s characteristics, what mill it comes from, and a great description of what to expect for fades and fit.
Unfortunately, this isn’t something that translates over the custom denim option. I feel this would be a great addition to Nama’s custom offerings. Generally speaking, we are all pretty fucking nerdy in the denim community and love knowing the neppy details. I’ve mentioned this to Nama, and hopefully, some of that should be coming soon to the custom line.
There is plenty to choose from in terms of customization; some of my favorites were ID placement, back pocket design, and two brand patch variants. When selecting your back pocket, you can choose between Nama’s signature selvedge ID or one of a few different arcuates. And for the back patch, you have the choice of either standard leather or Horsehair…. I went the way of Mr. Ed. No, I don’t feel any shame about that. A horse is a horse, of course, of course…
Most custom denim brands generally have standard fits associated with their brands, these fits then translate into their custom options. That’s nice, really, but that isn’t genuinely bespoke. It’s just changing pre-determined aesthetics, and that FEELS custom, but honestly is just choosing paint and packages for a new car. Some brands have gone the next step further and added an option to enter your own measurement preferences. This is where things can get dicey.
It’s easy to cut a pair of jeans out a pattern; it’s an entirely different story when you’re making them from scratch. I decided to test ol’ Vishesh and the Nama team. I picked out my favorite pair of jeans, measured them in all the right places, made some tweaks, and sent Vishesh my request. He didn’t bat a fucking eyelid.
In terms of construction, hoy shit, hands down the best-made pair of jeans I have ever had. This is not an exaggeration. Every brand has something that’s just slightly off: a lousy button punch, a missed stitch, or a loose thread. Nope, not Nama. I scoured every inch, inside and out, for some flaw or imperfection. I double-checked the measurements. I wanted something wrong because then I would have felt like the rest of my jeans weren’t inferior by comparison.
The copper thread stitching, brilliant with a slight shimmer to it, was perfect—the measurements on point. The fit was exact. Not one damn thing wrong with them. Denim Nirvana. This can largely be attributed to the fact that Nama denim is made in house under the supervision of Mr. Nama himself, Vishesh Sachdev. The watchful eye of the expert craftsman never strays from his work.
Unlike some other makers out there, Nama has a flat rate for their custom denim option. Regardless of the number of options, expect to pay $250 for light to mid-weight denim and $290 for the HEAVIES! There are no other up charges for any of the features or options, so definitely choose as many as you want. Also, there is no upcharge for skipping one of their standard fits and cloning or creating your own custom fit. This alone makes the prices worth it. When you look at other brand’s costs, you’ll easily drop that amount on a pair of jeans, and they won’t be made to order.
There are a few things I really want to point out: HOLY SHIT, THEY WORK FAST. I got my custom Nama’s in 10 days…That’s right, 10. 10. Fucking 10 (Channeling my best Billy-Bob impression). TEN DAYS FOR CUSTOM JEANS HANDMADE IN THAILAND AND SHIPPED TO YOUR DOOR. Granted, it seems necessary to highlight this was before or instead, just as the world was spinning out to chaos. Sop it may be faster or slower. Grant said his turnaround was really similar. I think they just work and ship fast as Fuck!
Final thoughts. WHY? BUY? TRY?
Buy, buy got-dammit, buy. I’ve been a denim nerd for 15 years, and I’ve run the gambit when it comes to selvedge denim. From a construction standpoint, these are superior in quality. I don’t think I have ever nerded out over inseams and stitching before, but I think that’s because I didn’t know it could be done any better than I have previously experienced.
Don’t be fooled by their denim selection. Vishesh has been in the textile industry ( a family business going to back to Japan) a long time, and he is sourcing denim from the same Okayama Denim mills as the big guns. So if your itching for new jeans in time for the Indigo Invitational, I strongly recommend you hit up Nama.