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Meet Your Makers: The Studio D'Artisan 9614 Sweatshirt

Studio D'Artisan has been one of the most prolific Japanese clothing brands since 1979.  One of the original "Osaka Five," SDA has gained a massive following not only for their denim but also for their shirts, jackets and sweatshirts--employing traditional weaving and dyeing methods.
One of their recent releases, the 9614, is rooted in the same tradition:

Wakayama loopwheelers.

Compared to other sweatshirts made by them--and other sweatshirts made by most companies--this stands out for being loopwheeled. Most loopwheeling machines come from the 1920's.  They produce fabric knitted in a tube, with the tension fed by gravity.  The result is a fabric that ages gracefully and begins with an already angelic soft hand.

Loopwheeling machines were the standard for years worldwide but slowly fell out of favor due to their inefficiency.  Despite that the loopwheeled fabric is superior in softness to other sweatshirt fabrics, a loopwheeling machine must be operated carefully and the fabric must be cut by hand.  One only produces enough tubular fabric to make a handful of pieces per day.  Very few machines exist today to produce this fabric.  The most precious place many still stand is in Wakayama.

Studio D'Artisan's "Wakayama Special Edition" is proudly made in the Wakayama way, with old-world craftsmanship and love.  But it isn't traditional.  It is essential.

It is hard to imagine owning anything that could come anywhere close.  Featuring organic cotton, a tube-shaped body, ribbed collar, neck v, cuffs and hem, double needle stitching, this piece is a sight to behold, legitimately.  Nothing so soft ever has graced my body.  Nothing has hugged my body in a more comfortable or familiar way:

The fit.