Tough Denim: No No Noko

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Published December 11, 2009

In 2007, Swedish designers Jakob Ohlsson, Jacob Åström and Tor Rauden Källstigen founded a fashion brand that would manufacture jeans in the one country sealed tight from towards the rest of the world. What started as a shot in the dark, a single email addressed to the nation of North Korea, would eventually lead to an official trip, and invitation from the North Korean government to begin production in the summer of 2008. The first collection in Fall/Winter 2009, called Maneuvers In The Dark, consisted of two models, Kara Slim Fit and Oke Loose Fit, and a total run of some 1,100 pairs.

Last week, Noko Jeans intended to launch its Noko Jeans Museum, a temporary showroom for the  label at PUB department store, a Swedish equivalent to Bloomindale’s. But the launch was halted by the store, whose spokesman said that the strong associations of Noko—and the country’s agenda—caused the store’s change of heart. They’re still available online, for the political denim wearers among you.