Meet Mohd Hasri Abdul Rani, but you can call him Chie. He is the founder and creative director of a local label specialising in all things denim – Chie’s Denim, better known as… Cheese Denim (#TeamCLEO loving this killer word play).
Clue us in on Cheese Denim’s birth story.
The brand idea came from my wife. Back then, I would buy [a pair] every month, alter the cut and then complain it wasn’t “right”. So she said, “Go make your own jeans, lah!”.
What is the Cheese Denim ethos?
I believe raw selvedge jeans that’s of the same standard as Japanese brands can be made locally and sold at an affordable price without compromising the material and quality. To achieve this, materials used are sourced from Japan and the US but the jeans are sewn locally so we can offer lower prices to denim aficionados here in Malaysia. People generally have this impression that anything made in Malaysia lacks quality – Cheese Denim is here to prove them wrong.
Have you always been a die-hard denim fan?
I wouldn’t say I’m a die-hard fan but I do have a deep interest. I remember going to thrift shops and bundle stores to look for selvedge jeans during my high school and university days, flipping through racks hoping to score a bargain. I still have my very first pairs that got me [hooked] – vintage Levi’s 501 from the ‘70s and Studio D’Artisan from the early ‘90s.
What makes a pair of Cheese Denim different from other labels?
Fabric and hardware (rivets, buttons, zippers) are sourced from Japan. Denim used for all our jeans are dyed with pure indigo so they don’t fade as easy so you can enjoy the evolution of your jeans slow and steady.
What are your favourites from the design archives, and why?
I have two – the first being the SF-09X which is a medium rise, slim, straight cut with slight tapering, made from 18 oz low tension, raw selvedge denim. This model promises a great fade regardless of how you wear them. The other is SF-515X which is my rendition of Levi’s 501 from 1966. This is my personal favorite pair and I only made 10 pieces of this model for Cheese Denim’s 5th anniversary in 2015. I’m going to re-release this model sometime this year.
What’s next for CheeseDenim?
The brand will expand its selvedge offering with more vintage inspired jeans and jackets this year. Also, I’m looking at collaborations with two local brands – Devise and Super Sunday!