I have been making Eureka Jeans as a hobby since 1992. I was born and raised in Antwerp, Belgium and went to college in Oregon, USA. I came to Japan in 1988 for graduate studies, and have been here ever since. I had been wearing jeans all my life, but had never thought of them as anything more than comfortable and convenient clothing. Walking around Tokyo in the late 80s, it was a bit of a culture shock to encounter jeans that sold for hundreds of thousands of Japanese Yen. Some even had price tags of over a million Yen! I became intrigued about what it was that made these jeans so special and I started exploring and examining old jeans and researching their history. It didn’t take long for me to develop a special appreciation for vintage jeans. Every weekend I would spend hours going from one vintage denim shop to the next to meticulously study the details of these expensive jeans that I couldn’t afford.
Around the same time several jeans makers started producing reproductions of vintage jeans, and many of these soon became very popular. Yet, I couldn’t really find any that were made with the eye for detail that I was looking for.
I started wondering whether it would be possible to make reproductions of vintage jeans myself. I made a pattern as well as I could from an old pair of jeans, bought some denim, thread, a zipper, a button and rivets, and somehow put it all together on a little ‘Mon Ami’ Singer home sewing machine I had borrowed from my mother-in-law. The result was something that resembled a pair of jeans, and it was actually even sort of wearable, but it was still a far cry from the vintage style jeans I really wanted to make. I learned something new with every pair I made, and little by little also managed to either find the materials I needed, or make them myself.
More than 20 years and over a hundred pairs later, I am still exploring different styles, methods and materials, and am still aiming to make the best jeans I can possibly make with the equipment and materials I have available.
Eureka jeans are not reproductions or replicas of any existing jeans. They are the jeans that I would have made, had I been a jeans maker in a given era. When I set out to make a new pair, I first set a time period, and then decide on all the details, carefully considering the equipment, techniques and materials that would have been available at the time.
Eureka jeans are not for sale — they are just a hobby. Not selling them allows me to focus exclusively on the jeans that I want to make, without having to worry about whether anyone will actually want to buy them. This is one of the reasons I enjoy making them as much now as I did 20 years ago.