First Principles is a digital store for tailored denim that prioritises a personalised fit above all else. Customers visit the flagship on Little Collins Street to be measured with a trained specialist. From there, an individual’s digital patterns are stored in an online database, allowing customers to use a three-dimensional “curate tool” from the comfort of their home for future purchases.
Denim is from the Kurabo Mill in the Okayama prefecture in Japan, which was founded in 1888. The mill uses natural dyes and all the denim is hand-loomed.
Unusually for a denim shop, you won’t find any merch on display. It looks more like a tailor – with rolls of fabric, denim swatches, threads, buttons and zippers on a large console table in the centre of the store. There are polished wooden floors and rendered brick walls, accented by flamingo-pink neon that reads, “Born in Japan, made to measure”. Two circular metal fitting rooms have heavy canvas curtains.
The customer is in control at almost every point of production, and can customise – using an iPad – the style, cut, hardware and waist height for the perfect pair. Within four weeks a parcel will arrive on your doorstep.
The business has a low-waste process. It resists mass-market trends, instead focusing on timeless, classic cuts, and it uses quality fabrics that will last. It only makes a pair of jeans when someone orders it – no square of material that goes to waste.