The Devil in the Detail 005: ONI 02527ZR 20oz Type III Secret Denim Jacket

Hello denim lovers, and welcome back to another edition of the segment in which we delve into the nuances of some of our favourite products from across the Son of a Stag spectrum. In today’s edition, we are taking a closer look at a product by a brand that we’ve very proudly stocked for many years, a brand steeped in mystery and majesty within the denim world; The brand in question is, of course, ONI.

Now, the 02527ZR jacket might appear at first glance as your regular Type III trucker, but regular is not in the order of business for ONI. No, this particular Type III blends the worlds of heritage denim tradition with an unrelenting pursuit for fabric innovation; and whilst this model is packed with traditional detail, they aren’t necessarily where we might expect to find them. Instead, the brand has opted to play with elements of the past, present, and future, to create something truly postmodern, and timeless.

Let’s begin at the start then. The 02527 is a standard fit ‘Type III’ which takes its influence from what is perhaps the most common denim jacket shape in fashion history and popular culture. There are few brands out there, from high street to luxury, who haven’t tried their hand at this iteration of the trucker, with varying levels of success and credibility, but on the surface, this attempt from Japan’s own ONI brand is very much like the originals produced by the Levi Company. It has a slightly slimmer shape than the Type I, or Type II, and features a full button plate, waist epaulettes, a buttoned cuff, and two western style, button-down chest pockets. But perhaps the most obvious way in which this offering is unlike the others is for the sheer beauty of the fabric.

ONI’s ‘Secret Denim’ is the stuff of legend in the denim world, but how much do we really know about it? Not a lot, is the unfortunate answer! We know that it weighs in at a whopping twenty ounces, that it is woven by one old man on a collection of vintage American shuttle looms, and that this weaving is done at such a low tension that it results in what is commonly called a ‘perfectly imperfect’ finish. The beige dyed weft harks back to the very early days of denim production, and the loose weave allows these natural cotton threads to creep through the green/blue surface of the denim at irregular intervals, in a way that resembles an old grain sack, and is at once heritage personified, and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before!

This super low tension weave is so beloved for two main reasons. The first being that it moves to your body in a way that other denim simply doesn’t do. With every wear, this 20oz denim demon takes everything that you can throw at it, learning how you move, which arm you favour, and where you keep your keys or wallet. If you were to put on a friend's jacket in a rush, which is exactly this shape and model, it would fit you in a completely different way. To put it more succinctly, this unique denim allows this jacket to be more ‘made to measure’ than a bespoke option could ever be. The second reason that people love this denim so much is for the glorious fades that it produces, and especially with this raw option. Every thick thread plays off with the one next to it, shedding precious indigo as it does so, and producing a full-colour palette of greens, blues, and beiges for your friends and colleagues to lust after.

One thing that those with a keen eye might notice as being out of place on this model are the buttons. The brand has chosen to design a set of custom made doughnut buttons, pressed with the heritage ‘Laurel Wreath’ motif. These buttons are normally reserved for garments that date back to a time long before the Type III even existed, and yet here they are in 2021, gracing the button plate of this Jacket! Purists out there recoil in horror. But why should they?! This jacket isn’t supposed to tick every box in the heritage list, it isn’t designed for those who only want to look backwards, it is a playful doff of the cap to all things denim that has come and gone, and those which will one day become. And if that wasn’t enough, those dastardly, and devious denim masters have even opted for a pink line selvedge button plate! On a Type III! How very dare they!

Whatever your stance in this argument, it is difficult to argue that this design either plays by the rules or simply follows tradition. Instead, this mysterious company designs as they (he) see fit, including details that don’t belong, but we wouldn’t want to live without. The future of design needs thinkers like this, and we feel very lucky to have them as part of our catalogue here at Son of a Stag.