Japan is known for its craftsmanship in many areas, but did you know denim is another area Japanese craftsmen excel in? We know that America was the birthplace of denim jeans but after the second World War, American denim began to trend in Japan. In the 50s, due to demand for American made jeans, companies found a more efficient and cost effect looming process (projectile looms) to make their denim but this took away from the quality.
Fast forward to the late ’70s and a small group of five Osaka based companies (known as the Osaka Five) decided to bring back the traditional way of making denim by using pure indigo, hank-dying them, and using a shuttle loom to create selvedge denim that is durable enough to last a lifetime.
Today, the art of making quality denim is staying alive with a handful of companies committed to quality over quantity.
Described on their website as, “A label shrouded in mystery, ONI Denim of Okayama is one of the most prestigious denim labels in the world. The brand has garnered a cult following for their signature slub denim, which is crafted in small batches by a single party on a single shuttle loom in Japan.” We couldn’t have worded it better. If you can get your hands on these you will have them to enjoy for many years to come.
Samurai Jeans has been around for 20 years working to bring the perfect pair of jeans to their customers. They pride themselves on keeping the Japanese tradition of making quality denim and stand out with their vintage detailing. They also offer women’s denim under the name Geisha.
Known as the first company in the Osaka Five, Studio D’Artisian continues after 40 years to make quality selvedge, hank-dyed, indigo denim.
These brands are certainly not the only companies that still offer selvedge denim but they are a few great ones that you can get started with. Most deliver worldwide but isn’t a hunt for quality jeans a perfect excuse for you to plan your next trip to Japan?