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Needles x Smith's collaboration items will release Saturday, December 18th.

I came upon SMITH’S for the first time as a high schooler. I saw the painter pants in a photo through Made in U.S.A Catalog (Yomiuri Shimbun) and was enthralled by the sophistication of the tapered silhouettes, stitch works, the buckle - all then unorthodox for workwear brands.

At 19 I was actually able to get my hands on the painter pants, but finding a pair in my size was out of the question. Back then Japan only imported up to 32 inch waisted pants, and my 34 inch did not have a place in the market. Regardless, I reluctantly wore them but it was still a bit too tight and I only wore them a few times after that.

When I had finally got a hold of the perfect fit, it was in the states, back in its motherland. It was in 1983 when I went to New York for my first ever overseas business trip as a buyer. Stores like Hudsons, which was the very first place I went to, and surplus shops in the outskirts of Long Island carried my long desired 34 inch.

Back then, compared to the roughness that brands like Lee, Carhartt, and OshKosh had, SMITH'S had a softness to them and was also minor in scale; total opposites. Hence it wasn’t favored by many of the Japanese who sought for all things typically American. However it was welcomed by the cheap-chic fashion snobs who were into European articles, and that was one of the reasons why I was fascinated by SMITH'S.

In the genre of denims, the coveralls also hold a special value for me. The 5 pocket jeans and jean jacket has always been a staple denim favorite, but I favored coveralls and painter pants. The style simply agreed with my big figure better. The coveralls had this distinct length then, which could be seen as unrefined, and could’ve been a partial reason why it didn’t attract much wearers. For a heretic like me though, it was the optimum denim wear.

Receiving this collaboration offer felt like it was exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Needless to say, I wanted to make the coveralls and painter pants. The colored twill fabric of the 70s with the contrast stitch, which in my mind, is the most SMITH’S adaptation moderately blended with the current. The items are conventionally authentic, but there are no rules. As long as they are worn with the freedom of each individual, I am contented.

Keizo Shimizu : Born 1958 in Kofu, Yamanashi. NEPENTHES CEO / NEEDLES Designer