The Fatigue Pants (OG 107) and OrSlow

Square pockets? Typically almost always green? A military garment turned punk, anti-war protester, skater, even Ivy?

credits to FreakWoodDesigns.com

Yes ⁠— all of the above. Join me for a quick jump into the history of the fatigue pants, including my favorite pair.

If you’re into heritage menswear at all, or if you’re a military repro nerd you probably know damn well what ‘Fatigue pants’ are. You can pick one of your favorite brands and you won’t be surprised to find out they have probably made their own model of the fatigue pant or even a straight military reproduction from a vintage pair they found. For me, this is OrSlow’s version of the OG-107 pant. Before we dive into that, lets talk a bit about the history of the pants themselves.

1952 ⁠— The Fatigue pants, as we call them now, were crafted from the previous draft of the well-worn Herringbone Twill military utility trousers of WW2, part of the M1943 Uniform. They were reborn as a more versatile and slightly more modern pant to fit a variety of builds and complete a bunch of tasks anywhere from digging ditches to working on tanks (as most military garments are). They were originally part of a set which you have probably also seen several times ⁠— named the OG-107, the ‘OG’ stood for Olive Green while the ‘107’ was the military’s color code for their ‘grey green’ of the garments. The uniform itself also went through several subtle changes through the years ranging from Type 1 (1952 – 1963) Type 2 (1963 – 1964) and finally Type 3 (1964 – 1989) based on what was needed for cuts, fabrics and weight throughout its career until being completely retired in 1989.

Type 1 OG-507 (OG-107 but different fabric)
credits to digitalcommonwealth.org and wikipedia.com

That wasn’t quite the end, though. The garments were worn casually once soldiers got home from the war or deployments, as well. Then in the beginning of the 1970s they were donned by veteran soldiers vehemently against the Vietnam war and other protesters marching against the military conflicts, too, fully flipping the previous connotation of the uniform into a symbol of peace. This is because a lot of these uniforms ended up in secondhand shops or military surplus stores, and due to the simplistic and easy-wearing design, they were worn by quite a few walks of life throughout the years including punks to make a statement and outdoorsmen and women for their utility purposes. They were even as casual wear for the fashion conscious, although they were typically paired with more easy-going clothing options like plaid button downs and loafers, or even sneakers to differentiate themselves from their previous generation of stricter, more uniform historical wearing.

John Kerry at Veterans Against the War March 1971
credits to Associated Press
1978 London skin & punk
© photo by Paul Wright – Punks at a Right To Work march in Brighton (1978)

Originally part of a military uniform, these pants unintentionally outgrew their origins and became a part of something a lot bigger. You’d be hard pressed to not find an article about these somewhere else, or your favorite brand’s version of these iconic trousers. Which brings me into my favorite pair. The OrSlow fatigues you’ve probably seen on someone in this community, including me.

Why OrSlow? Well, that’s a fair question. Let’s talk a bit about OrSlow and the creative head Ichiro Nakatsu behind the brand’s creation in 2005.

Ichiro said himself he wanted to make a brand that focuses more on the ‘slow’ process and creation of an item, rather than the typical ethos of fast fashion. OrSlow was born from his love of vintage clothing and particularly denim dungarees he grew up wearing since he was a small child. Ichiro himself said, “With every detail and stitch, you can tell the time and effort put into these particular garments. Most of the clothes worn as modern everyday clothes have evolved from clothes that existed in the past.” He realizes that these aren’t all exact replicas and, at the same time, they don’t need to be. As an owner of many OrSlow pieces, the fabrics on each item speaks for itself, and in my opinion, leaves nothing to be desired.

Let’s talk a bit about my pair!

Me – Wearing my OrSlow fatigues.

I’m lucky to say I haven’t had any issues up until, well, a week or two ago where the top button on the fly popped off. That was an easy fix though, as I just sewed it back on. Overall they’ve been a fantastic pair of pants that I’d recommend anyone if they want this style or cut. (They even come in a ‘slim’ fit which is a more modern tapered leg interpretation of the original 107 uniform.)

You can see the color is dependent on the lighting, moving from different shades of green. That is the beauty of the fabric. Oh, did I mention the fabric yet? The stuff is absolutely gorgeous. It’s pretty close to what you’d expect from OrSlow, but in case you don’t know what to expect, let’s talk about it a little. OrSlow products are made in Kurashiki in the Okayama Prefecture of Japan where they mainly use vintage Reece, Singer and Union Special sewing machines. The grasp for attention to detail and vintage inspired fabrics is seen in the fatigue pants and, obviously, all of their denim as well. Ichiro himself said the time spent in the 2-hour drive of nature and country side towns between his home and the mills where he grabs his fabric is huge source of inspiration for the brand itself. I feel this is apparent in the beautiful uneven slubiness that is in the fatigue pants weave, imitating the imperfect that nature may bring in our every day surroundings. As mentioned, they are not an exact replicant, but they don’t need to be. There is something beautiful in having something new that is born of old. Especially when they are rarely bettered!

Overall I’d highly recommend these fatigues. They may not scratch the itch for repro heads but they will fill the spot in your wardrobe for a casual pair of pants that fit damn well, and age damn well, too. There’s also many wonderful retailers, but I’ll drop some links here just to get you looking. Support local and small businesses! They deserve it!

Meadow Web (Sweden)

Independence Chicago (Chicago, duh)

Standard & Strange (California)

Second Sunrise (Stockholm)

Thanks for reading!

Published by indigo amateur

Just a guy who likes to talk about clothes.

2 thoughts on “The Fatigue Pants (OG 107) and OrSlow

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