International Fashplomacy: Noko Jeans From North Korea

These days, starting a denim line seems just about as formulaic as making a Duncan Hines cake: get some organic cotton, mix in a celeb name, slap on a pricey label, and voilà! That’s not quite the case with Jacob Åström, Tor Rauden Källstigen and Jakob Ohlsson, who decided to go the hard way by starting their jeans line in the least likely of all places—North Korea. According to Fashion Week Daily, the three Swedes “stumbled upon North Korea’s new website, which called for new businesses from battleship building to potato farming.” Random! And yet completely cool that a fashion label would want to really think outside the box and draw inspiration from somewhere totally new. Here’s how they pulled it off.To begin with, it’s not easy to travel to North Korea (you need a visa), let alone start a business there, so it apparently took a year for Noko to get started. When they finally got clearance, the gang was admitted into the country as official guests of the state.

And so Noko (get it?) got off the ground. The styles are on the edgier side with a black wash, slim fit (for girls), and glow-in-the-dark thread details. If you want to get your hands on a pair, they’ll be sold online soon. (They cost about $220 a pair; expensive, but that’s what you get for exclusivity.) Keep your eye on Noko’s website, and in the meantime, check out this cute video about the company’s journey. [Noko Jeans, Fashion Week Daily]