Settled nice and mellow behind the sleazy chaos of Manhattan's Canal St. and away from the hoity-toity of SoHo's main artery is a place called Blue in Green. The cool-cat name is inspired by a track from the Miles Davis's album "Kind of Blue" and the fact that it's located on Greene Street -- get it? The men's lifestyle boutique, which opened last month, is unique in its devotion to bringing exclusive Japanese labels stateside, especially the J-Jeans like Oni, Sugarcane, Samurai, Warehouse, Pure Blue and John Bull.
"I call them the denim-worshippers," says the one-named Jahream, one of the three co-founders, of his fanatic shoppers. "They'll come in and go straight looking for the selvage." For those not in the know, "selvage" is the very edge of the denim fabric which guarantees the rarity of a pair of dungarees. "They know the brand, the model name, number, the special hidden rivets, everything." This denim mania akin to the designer sneaker frenzy has really reached a new frontier of exclusivity. While it's hard to understand how anyone could care so much about something as innocuous as the inseam on a pair of pants -- something only you and whoever does your laundry will ever see -- these denim worshippers willingly shell out $200-$600 for the prestige of the pristine edge.
Yuji Fukushima and Gordon Hefner from Japan and Virginia, respectively, make up the other two parts of the fashion trinity and have their own clothing label called "Hefner & Yuji." The three visions collided when they met at the Lotus club one night in 2005 and Jahream began repping their line. Jahream grew up in Harlem and his current aesthetic sensibility was inspired by his old neighborhood. "I lived fashion. Coming from Harlem, I had no choice but to be fly," says the 26 year-old. "I was designing my own clothes and image consulting. I learned everything from the streets -- of New York, London, Japan. When I went to London, I got a job at the Zandra Rhodes Fashion & Textile Museum and helped them organize the hip-hop fashion exhibit." Jahream has his own line called "Children of Da Curb."
Blue and Green, which sits shoulder to shoulder with another menswear shop, Cloak, features fashion-forward urban threads that attract boys and men whose testosterone levels get a major jolt from collectibles and of course, looking fly. Aside from the denim and house labels, the store also carries sneakers, backpacks, toys, jewelry, art and furniture by hot Japanese street brands like Swagger, Phenomenon, Low Hurts and American designers PCP by Princess Warren, Telfar, Oliver Helden, Monotype, Sharpeye and Complete Technique. Throwing a little dash of the glamour into the mix are washcloths by Vivienne Westwood and YSL exclusive to Japan. Rare and precious imports also mean a higher price point but the Blue and Green guys know exactly who their customers are. "[Our clientele] are people who want to feel good about the clothes and care about quality and exclusivity," says Jahream. "The clothes are high-end but not crazy expensive. Also you can get it in SoHo, instead of crossing 3,000 miles."
8 Green St., (212) 680-0555. Mon.-Sat., 11-8 p.m.; Sun., 12-7 p.m.