記得一開始認識Loop & Weft這個品牌，看見官網首頁寫到「Best Knitwear made in Japan」這行字時，心頭不禁一陣疑惑，暗忖著他們有必要這麼囂張嗎？不過在仔細讀過品牌歷史，以及認知到他們在工法和細節上的講究後，你會慢慢地理解到，這幫人原來沒有空口說大話。
位於奈良市的Loop & Weft，由以前在牛仔褲公司工作的Ryota Seguchi在2011年成立。而在成立品牌之初，Ryota Seguchi只是想做出既好看，又能搭配牛仔褲的上衣，但他卻陸陸續續地，從設立廠房，添購古董紡織機，到海外訂購上乘原材料，最後還從全國招來手藝嫻熟的職人，只為了讓品牌能生產「搭配牛仔褲的上衣」，可算是一不小心就做過頭，還做出了驚人的成績。
I recall when I first got to know the brand Loop & Weft, I came across the following statement on their official webpage— “Best Knitwear made in Japan”. I was perplexed, wondering to myself if such a display of arrogance was warranted. However, after carefully reading through the brand’s history and learning about the extent to which they care about detail and craftsmanship, you would gradually come to realize that it is not just empty talk.
Based in Nara City, Loop & Weft was established in 2011 by Ryota Seguchi, who had previously worked for a denim jeans company. In the brand’s infancy, Ryota Seguchi only intended to design appealing tops to wear with jeans. Nevertheless, for the sole purpose of manufacturing “tops to go with jeans”, he went from setting up a factory, purchasing antique weaving machines, ordering top-notch materials from overseas, to even hiring skilled and experienced artisans from all over Japan. Quite unintentionally, he went all too far and took the world by storm with his outstanding achievements.
就以品牌中受歡迎的「LRC1051」T恤為例，看似一件普通T恤，卻是由百年歷史的Tompkins紡織機編織，並以100%純棉製作成斜紋布，最後加上職人的巧手，並依循著老軍用內衣的特徵，諸如像羅紋編織法等細節去完成。而且這不光是投入成本就能完成的事，需要借助經驗老到豐富的職人，才能操作這些動輒百年的老機器以完成任務，才有這件厚磅挺身，但穿起來極度舒適的「普通T恤」。除此以外，Loop & Weft也有用埃及長絨棉、英式桂花編編成的「LRC1050」開胸針織衫；也有天竺棉、四平針編成的「LRH1016」亨利領T恤。品牌在材料和工法上的精湛，可謂族繁不及備載，而回頭說來，能把衣服做得那麼龜毛挑剔，喚自己作「Best Knitwear In Japan」，也只能說是一種職人式的自慢罷了。
Take the brand’s most popular “LRC1051” T-shirt. At first glance, it looks no different from an ordinary T-shirt. Yet it was actually knitted on a century-old Tompkins knitting machine using diamond cloths made of 100% pure cotton. Artisans’ skillful hands gave it the finishing touch by incorporating details with reference to the characteristics of old army undershirts, such as rib stitch. Such a feat is not achievable simply by lavishing money. It requires experienced artisans’ expertise in using old machines at least a century old in order to give birth to this “ordinary T-shirt”, which is both solid and extremely comfortable to wear. Apart from that, Loop & Weft’s “LRC1050” is a cardigan knitted using long-staple Egyptian cotton and British double seed stitch. “LRC1016” is a Henley neck T-shirt knitted using Tianzhu cotton and four-needle stitch. It is simply impossible to fully capture the brand’s excellence in their use of materials and their craftsmanship. In any case, given their fastidiousness when it comes to making clothes, we can only regard their self-proclaimed statement “Best Knitwear In Japan” as a sort of artisan’s pride.