Mister Freedom® CAMPUS BLOUSE & CALIFORNIAN Blue Jeans Lot64, Special AWA-Ai Fiber Denim Edition, mfsc FW2023. Made in USA

Mister Freedom® CAMPUS BLOUSE & CALIFORNIAN Lot64, special AWA-AI fiber denim edition.
mfsc FW2023 Sportsman Catalog.
Made in USA.

We are kicking off our FW2023 season with the launch of a USA-made heavy hitter set, the Mister Freedom® CAMPUS BLOUSE and CALIFORNIAN Lot64 in a brand spanking new skin, a very special “Awa-ai” indigo denim twill developed in Japan by our friends at Sugar Cane Co.
What in the world is Awa-ai you ask? “Hawaii” pronounced My Fair Lady -style?

Well, sit back and grab the popcorn!

Awa” (阿波国) is the old name of one of the eastern provinces of the Shikoku Island of Japan, lying some 150 miles southwest of Kyoto, a 70-minute flight from Tokyo. The area is known today as the Tokushima Prefecture.
The term “Ai” () is Japanese for indigo, differentiating it from the more generic “Ao” (), meaning blue.
Collectors of antique Japanese textiles are familiar with the term “Ai-Zome” (藍染め) – pronounced eye-zo-meh – which translates to indigo-dyed.

During the Edo period (1603-1868) and Meiji period (1868-1912), the main and most lucrative industry of the Awa Province was producing natural indigo pigments, extracted, fermented and processed from high quality locally-grown Persicaria tinctoria plants. Favorable climate and topography, matched with time-tested artisans’ expertise and trade secrets, made for the success. More history here.

For “wafuku” (和服) – the word that describes Japanese traditional clothing as opposed to the western style “yōfuku” (洋服) – silk was not an option for commoners. More utilitarian fabrics such as hemp, and later cotton, have traditionally been used for everything from farm field clothing, to futon covers, to “Jinbei” (甚平), to samurai kamishimo, to firemen uniforms, to mosquito netting (kaya) etc… Side note, if you’re in our hood (Los Angeles, CA that is), the MF® HQ has a curated antique Japanese textile selection that fashion designers and fabric developers often find inspiring. Also, our frequently-restocked selection of vintage “Boro Ties” is a good overview of the wide range of traditional Japanese textiles produced in the 19th and early 20th Century.

The dye of choice for cotton in Edo-Meiji era Japan was natural indigo, preferred for its darkness (light colors were reserved for the elite), colorfastness, beautiful hues reminiscent of the surrounding sea (check out the blues in Hokusai‘s masterpiece: “Great wave off Kanagawa“, 1831), and even insect-repellent and antibacterial properties. Motifs were applied to the textiles with different traditional methods, from discharge pastes “bassen” (抜染), to intricate ikat weaving techniques such as “kasuri” ().

As the domestic cotton industry prospered in pre-industrial Japan, demand for indigo also increased. Aizome Masters from the Awa Province had the goods, and supplied artisan dyers, home weavers and makers all over Japan with their premium “Awa-ai”.

The “Japan Blue” (i.e. natural indigo) craft still exists today. The tradition in Tokushima Prefecture is passed on by five main surviving Awa-ai dyers, keeping those indigo vats alive, local families focused on quality vs. quantity, natural indigo vs. synthetic, crafting in small batches vs. mass-producing, and a far cry from the international fast-fashion garment-dyeing industry embarrassing track record.

In all fairness, if you’re into vintage or ‘heritage’ denim, synthetic indigo has been commercially used since the 1890s, and is most-likely the type of dye used on the warp yarns of your favorite pair of selvedge jeans. Considering the fabric of, say, a much-coveted pair of original vintage 1940s Levi’s 501 XX – still a reference for all of the heritage denim industry today – was milled with synthetic indigo yarns, not natural indigo, speaks volume.
Natural indigo is not for everyone, as the dye tends to penetrate deeper in the cotton yarn, thereby limiting the desirable high-contrast fades most denimheads look forward to.
I purchased my first pair of natural indigo-dyed jeans in Kyoto in the mid-90s, I believe from the Fullcount or 45rpm brand, and I remember the somewhat slow and muted contrast fading process.

Back on point. Led by Fukutomi Sensei, creative director at Toyo Enterprise, a small group of textile experts from Sugar Cane Co embarked on an epic Awa-ai denim project sometime in 2020…
They got their feet wet by meeting with natural indigo Institute officials, and their hands blue by experimenting with local Tokushima artisan dyers. Visiting Ai-no-Yakata”, the Aizumicho Historical Museum, was also a must.
A color target was decided, a very dark shade of indigo, a hue referred to as “Kachi-iro” or “Katsu-iro (勝色). These Kanji characters literally mean “color of victory”, a specific indigo shade traditionally associated with good fortune, and samurai warriors’ superiority in the battlefield. Legend has it that samurai wore dark indigo garments under their armor in combat, to help prevent wound infections.

After all that R&D, a reputable Kojima mill was approached with the project’s specific: the warp yarns would be Toyo’s own proprietary fancy blend of 70% cotton x 30% sugarcane fibers (the bi-product of the cultivation of sugarcane), and were to be rope-dyed using a blend of synthetic indigo and Awa-ai indigo. The denim mill then got busy weaving the Awa-ai warp yarns with natural weft yarn on narrow shuttle looms.
The result of that endeavor is an outstanding indigo fiber denim selvedge twill, 13 Oz., dark, hairy and neppy, milled in Japan, for one’s eyes dazzlement and legs’ enjoyment!
Mina Sama, otsukaresama deshita!

We were lucky enough to procure some yardage of this Awa-ai denim goodness, and cut a few CAMPUS BLOUSE and CALIFORNIAN Lot64 sets, right here in California, USA.

This is the second iteration of the MF® CAMPUS BLOUSE pattern, a woven fabric interpretation of our classic veg-tan leather Campus jacket. The corduroy collar on this edition (leftover yardage from the Continental Rive Gauche production) is a nod to the iconic 1950s blanket-lined Lee® Storm Rider, one of McQueen’s off screen go-to jackets in the 1960s-70s. Refer to this blog post for the saga behind morphing the Campus Jacket into the Campus Blouse.

We figured we’d match our fancy jacket with a pair of cool MF® CALIFORNIAN’s, in one of our most popular and classic Lot64 cut.

The Mister Freedom® CAMPUS BLOUSE and CALIFORNIAN Lot64 are designed and made in California, CA, in collaboration with Sugar Cane Co, both cut from premium SC Awa-ai fiber denim milled in Japan.


Mister Freedom® CAMPUS BLOUSE Awa-ai fiber denim edition.

An original mfsc pattern inspired by 1930’s sportswear ‘Cossack’ type unlined leather jackets, with all construction/pattern edits necessary for a woven fabric MF® original adaptation.
Shell: Sugar Cane Co “AWA-ai” fiber denim (blend of 70% cotton x 30% sugarcane fibers), 13 Oz., white/green line selvedge ID, dark indigo hue, dry, hairy and neppy, milled in Japan.
Collar: 14 Oz. wide wale corduroy, 100% cotton, cognac brown color, milled in Japan.
Trims: Black tea-core leather trims (pocket stops/side straps).
* Woven fabric interpretation of our classic veg-tan leather Campus jacket.
* An original pattern inspired by 1930’s sportswear ‘Cossack’ type unlined leather jackets, with all necessary construction/pattern edits.
* Arm/cuff construction borrowed from our Ranch Blouse pattern.
* Trim 1930’s silhouette.
* One-piece back.
* Fully unlined, clean flat-felled seam construction.
* Slash pockets with leather arrowhead pocket stops.
* Side gussets featuring concealed Awa-ai denim selvedge ID.
* Adjustable side straps pattern inspired by our Drover Blouse.
* Keyhole button holes.
* Brown corozo wood ‘Cat Eyes’ buttons (aka ivory nut)
* Mister Freedom® original ‘The Sportsman’ black & gold rayon woven label.
* Made in California, USA, in an ethically-responsible and small family-owned factory.
The Campus Blouse Awa-ai denim comes UN-WASHED, and is cut so that the measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry.
We recommend the usual protocol before wearing:
•Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation.
•Machine spin dry cycle, and line dry.
•Wear briefly while still damp to set creases, then hang until fully dry.

My leather Campus jacket size is 38. I wear a 36 in this Awa-ai denim edition, after cold-soak/line dry, consistent with the sizing of my Campus Blouse Midnight Denim. I am about 5’7 ~142 lbs.
Please check actual post-soak measurements on our chart to dial in what works for your specific body specs/preferred silhouette.

Disclaimer: Using alternative methods for the initial shrink (such as soaking in hot water/full machine wash/heat dryer etc) may result in different sizing measurements. Do not boil this denim jacket, as it has leather trims.



Mister Freedom® CALIFORNIAN Lot64 Awa-ai fiber denim edition.

Inspired by vintage 1950s-1960s era five-pocket blue jeans. Our LOT64 cut features a traditional fit, classic rise, with a slightly tapered leg for a 50s-60s vibe.
Sugar Cane Co “AWA-ai” fiber denim (blend of 70% cotton x 30% sugarcane fibers), 13 Oz., white/green line selvedge ID, dark indigo hue, dry, hairy and neppy, milled in Japan.
Pocketing: Fancy NOS 100% cotton twill, woven stripe (navy blue pinstripe on white background.)
* Classic vintage five-pocket blue jeans pattern and fit.
* Classic mid-rise.
* Button fly, original MF®-branded ‘silver’ tack buttons.
* Selvedge leg outseam.
* Fancy NOS stripe twill pocketing.
* MF® original white “M” stitch design on rear pockets.
* Natural cowhide leather MF®-branded patch on rear pocket. Will patinate with age.
* Twelve types of 100% cotton threads used for construction (gauge and color combination.) Main colors are yellow and orange.
* Coin pocket with concealed selvedge.
* Selvedge button hole fly placket.
* Hidden back pocket reinforcement rivets, with top pocket bar-tack stitching.
* Unmarked copper riveting for pocket reinforcement.
* Original MF® paper pocket flasher. Please note that some product photos above feature a black early proto flasher, not the red (“Sakura” edition) actually designed and used for the Awa-ai Californian production.
* Made in California, USA, in an ethically-responsible and small family-owned factory.

The Californian LOT64 AWA-Ai denim blue jeans come UN-WASHED and are cut so that actual measurements match the labeling AFTER an initial cold soak/line dry. We recommend the usual protocol before wearing:

  • Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation.
  • Machine spin dry and line dry.
  • Wear briefly before fully-dry to shape and set creases, then hang until fully dry.

These Lot64 Awa-ai are considered true-to-size.
A tagged W32 will most-likely be the right size for an individual with an approximate measured waist of +/- 32 inches, and with average body proportions. Note that your natural waist is a bit bellow belly button level, not bellow the hips.
I (5’7 ~142 Lbs.) opted for a W30 in these, for a classic silhouette. I went un-hemmed and un-cuffed for a “sloppy” period stacking for a change.
The waist size that will work best for you depends on how you like your jeans to fit. Please refer to size chart.

CARE for your Awa-ai denim garments:
Wash when necessary, as with other premium denim garments.
We recommend turning the jeans and jacket inside-out to avoid potential marbling of the denim fabric. Wash separately from light-colored garments.
Machine wash with cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. Using hot water/heat dryer may result in excessive and irreversible shrinkage.
As with all indigo-dyed denim, temporary croaking (color bleeding) is to be expected, and the indigo color could potentially rub on light color garments and furniture. Indigo rubs can easily be spot-cleaned using a small amount of laundry detergent on a clean damp cloth.

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles red brick HQ, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support,

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom®



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