The Devil in the Detail: 003 (Warehouse S2000XX WWII Type I Denim Jacket)

Hello and welcome back to ‘The Devil in the Detail’, the segment where we take a closer look at one product which inspires us and calls our names until we are blue in the face with design envy. This week we are going to dive into a new arrival in the shop; the incredible S2000xx Type-I jacket from Warehouse & Co. So, without further delay, let’s begin.

The S2000xx takes its inspiration from early 1940s denim when World War II had spilt across the Atlantic and dragged the Americans into its chaos. It was a time of great economic and political stress, of rationing, of killing and cruelty, and uncertainty about what the future held. During these years the majority of the American garment construction industry was forced to refocus their efforts towards military purposes, or cut back on the materials they would have been accustomed to using in peacetime with the idea that it might be better implemented in artillery or uniform factories. We all know the history of the WWII model jeans which have foregone pocket arcuate stitching in favour of painted ones and watch pockets which go unriveted to save on metal, but it is interesting to consider the effect that this period of strain had on the jacket that started it all; the Type-I.

The first of many noteworthy features is that this piece comes from Warehouse & Co’s new ‘Dead Stock Blue’ range. Since 1993 this brand has built a reputation for excellence, and have characteristically strived for perfection in weaving a fabric which most closely resembles raw denim from the 1940s for this jacket. It is a beautifully clean and crisp fabric of the deepest indigo colour and has been left unwashed to ‘shrink-to-fit’ (Side note, you might want to try a size down in this one if you aren’t intending to wash it!). Yes, you’re going to have to put the work in with this one, but it will all be worth it as the tight weave of this 13.5oz denim has a whole lifetime of wear which is ready to become uniquely yours. Also, this ’Dead Stock’ label might send a shiver right down the middle of the bank card for most, especially talking about untouched denim from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, but this option from the Japanese veterans is just about as close as you can get without re-mortgaging your house. A beautiful piece of denim history at a shockingly affordable price? Can it be possible?! Of course, it can! But wait, there’s more! The features which make this jacket so unique, and so authentic, are exactly those which stand it apart from other Type-I models the brand have released and as mentioned before, they are related to their period of inspiration. So what ‘rations’ have been put on this design which makes it so sought after?

While S2000xx is similar to others which have been released by the brand, its subtle differences are clear to see. We might recognise that the single chest pocket is still there, but to save precious denim, this one goes without a flap and button. Instead, two punched copper rivets hold the pocket corners in place. There is something unusual about the button plate too. Four buttons instead of the traditional five have been used for the front closure to save on steel, and the heritage ‘laurel wreath’ donut buttons which we might expect from early models have been replaced by simpler branded steel ‘tuck’ buttons. For collectors, these redactions only serve to make this jacket more of a rare gem; less mass-produced, and easy to date to a particular time and place, which in turn offers a historical context that is arguably the most valuable element, and serves to tell the garment’s story.

Type-I models typically have a cinch-back, and this one is no different. Well, it is and it isn’t. For a period of such great rationing, the cinch featured on the S2000xx is incredibly detailed. Intricate patterns have been pressed into the lip of this cinch, which further adds to the heritage feel of the tooth prong design, and if there was ever any doubt of the hardware’s durability, the word ‘solide’ has been pressed into the tooth bar. It’s hard to say why this extravagant design detail finds itself on a WWII model; could it be a throwaway inclusion by an artistic smithy, or simply a way of using up the cinches which were available before the war? We may never know.

Finer details of this beautifully boxy shaped denim giant are the custom woven rayon ‘GENUS’ tab in a subtle shade of pink which compliments the button plate’s selvedge line, the deerskin leather patch which has been detailed with a heritage brand logo, and single stitch runoffs on the collar ends, which suggest such speed of manufacture, that there was simply no time to snip them off!

In all, this jacket brilliantly embodies everything we love about vintage denim. It combines brilliant materials with timeless design and carefully chosen details which draw from the past and pave the way for the future. We salute your ingenuity, Warehouse & Co, and for giving us a ‘Dead Stock’ Type-I which is just about as close to the real thing as we may ever get!