How A Scissor Became Our Logo
Throughout Jason Denham’s career, he has collected over 2,000 pairs of tailoring scissors, each with a unique story and past. But there’s one scissor that’s the most important: his first pair of tailor’s shears which he bought at university in the 1970s, and which inspired the brand’s iconic logo.
“I’m a strong believer that every brand should have an icon, and without hesitation, the scissor was the most natural choice for us,” says Jason Denham. “The scissor is the most important tool for a jean maker; it creates the first cut of a garment and determines the shape and model of a jean. The scissor is a multi-talented tool and a distinctive element of our brand.”
Every pair of jeans in DENHAM’s collection is embroidered with the scissor logo, each of which is meticulously crafted from 691 stitches.
The Logo Artwork
The Logo Artwork
The original logo illustration was rendered by hand, then painted with a blue watercolour wash as a nod to the brand’s indigo roots. The result is a unique artwork that combines craft and technology. The scissor is also a metaphor for the DENHAM team spirit, with the two blades working together for a greater result.
The Collector Speaks
Jason Denham shares some of the stories behind his scissor obsession and ever-growing collection.
How did you start collecting scissors?
I collect all kinds of products and memorabilia around our business, but scissors have become a big part of our archive. The first scissor I collected was a tailor’s shear that I bought while I was in university, 25 years ago. Since then, I have collected over 2,000 pairs of vintage tailor’s scissors from all over the world — Japan, Germany, England, France, Spain, Greece and more. It’s amazing how many countries have developed beautiful scissors!
What’s the piece from your archive you like the best?
Too many to mention. However, my first scissors are memorable and framed in our studio. We also have a pair of French scissors from about 1550 that are incredible — they’re the oldest piece in our archive and the piece I’m most fond of.
How do scissors inspire you in your work?
Scissors are the most important tool for a jean maker, as the cut is the essential part of the jean. The scissors is a very multi-talented tool.
Do you organise exhibitions of your scissors?
We show the collection in our headquarters, stores and showrooms all over the world.
How did you become one of the greatest scissor collectors in the world?
We discovered that when hunting for scissors (mainly on eBay), we were always bidding against the same person, David Gensler, a collector from the U.S. Finally, in 2013 we acquired his collection of 220 museum-quality pieces.
The Scissor Collection
Today, Jason’s personal scissor collection includes tailoring shears from around the world. Special highlights include shears from 16th century France and a pair that belonged to Andy Warhol. “We showcase the collection in our headquarters and showrooms all over the world,” he says. “Plus all of our stores have a selection, often displayed in glass cases or frames.”
‘This is the oldest pair we have in our collection – it’s a French master tailor’s scissor,’ says Jason. ‘We think they’re from about 1550; in those days, scissors were operated by two people. Every star on the scissor tells you how qualified the tailor was.’ Made from heavy forged steel, the large central pin was held by an assistant who balanced the weight, while the master tailor worked the shears.
Jason witnessed these scissors being made, in person, on a trip to Tokyo. They were crafted by hand in a fire by Mr. Okawara, the last artisan who makes scissors using this traditional method. ‘He hammered them from one piece of steel, then hand-painted them in blue in white for DENHAM’s colours,’ Jason recalls. ‘They are also super, super sharp!’