On my second day in Malaysia I met with Chie, the owner of The Yard, who also happens to be the proprietor of Cheese Denim. Although I had heard of the Cheese Brand, I heard about The Yard from Aqif who walked me over to Chie’s store. At the time, The Yard was closed, but the next day we made arrangements to meet Chie to see what denim he had on hand and to find out more about the Cheese Denim brand.
It was late in the afternoon by the time our taxi arrived, so we stopped for a quick lunch of Indian rice, chicken, and veggies. Then, we were off to the denim shop just a block away. The shop entrance could be described as an alley. If you plan to visit I would advise you to take a taxi. But not just any taxi company and definitely not the ‘blue ones’, since their prices are double the normal. Note, however, that taxis may get caught in traffic which makes it difficult to predict the actual cost. On one trip we paid 35 MYR one way, on another we ended up paying 129 MYR. Either way, you want to keep the phone number and address to the store close because you or your driver may need additional guidance finding the place. It is a little tucked away and Kuala Lumpur taxi drivers may not be familiar with the area. Once inside you will realize that it was worth the travel, and actually with Nusantara right around the corner, to visit both in one day is the smart way to go.
My first questions to Chie were based around the denim culture in Malaysia. I was honestly surprised that the owner of a rival denim shop and rival denim brand would bring a possible customer to his doorstep. He just smiled and responded that they have a community here and that’s just how they do it. He would do the same. Can’t help but respect that. Chie was working in retail marketing with some pretty popular brands before he took the plunge into selvedge denim. As I listened to his story I got the impression that he felt restrained working for someone else. He explained some of the rules for marketing different products when working for someone else and how this posed some challenges for him. He seems to enjoy the freedom of creating his own products from his own vision, and hand picking other items to sell in his shop. After this short conversation, we headed to the denim racks.
In his shop Chie carries a mix of brands from Japan, the US, Malaysia and Canada representing models from Momotaro, Sugarcane, Kapital, Flathead, Naked and Famous, Red Cloud, Unbranded, Ceremony Fine Goods, and of course Cheese Denim. He also stocks Voyej, Tom Rich, and other accessories. He has a few premium vintage items for sale as well. While I took the opportunity to get a hands on look at many of the models I had never seen up close, Chie took the time to point out the features of each pair I was interested in, and to show off some of his faded Cheese models that he has on display in the store. I’m just now realizing how much time we spent in the shop. Quite a few groups of people came and went while we were chatting or looking through his inventory. The price of the taxi is worth it to see just one of these denim shops, the fact that there are two of them so close, definitely makes them both a “must” visit to any denim head going to Kuala Lumpur.