In recent years, most popular Japanese denim brands are known for their high-quality materials and techniques all around the world. Of course, the industry continues to grow, as consumers increasingly seek out quality over quantity. But have you ever wondered why Japanese denim can develop with such a fast speed, what makes their products well-known all around the world? Today, we will help you answer these questions clearly and in detail. Besides, the following list of the top 20 best Japanese denim brands we recommend will provide you a closer look at the famous industry. Let’s finger out them together in this article today.
1. What is denim?
Denim is made from strong cotton and has a subtle diagonal ribbed pattern thanks to the twill weave. Cotton twill fabrics are warp-facing, which means that the weft threads go under at least two warp threads. Besides, the warp yarns are more noticeable on the right side. The diagonal ribbing is the distinctive feature of denim that sets it apart from fabrics like normal cotton and canvas.
In fact, post-WWII Japan’s obsession with American culture led to the growth of Japanese denim. Anything from the United States culture was welcomed by almost all Japanese at that time, especially blue jeans. But Kurabo Mills in Kojima, Japan made jeans using fabric sourced from America in the 1960s. After that, they even created a kind of their own fabric. What made their fabric outstanding and famous was that it was from old looms and used natural dye.
2. What is Japanese selvage denim?
And how about Japanese selvage denim? It is also known as selvage denim. The selvage denim with tight waves is created with old-fashioned shuttle looms. In sewing, the edge of the fabric is tightly wrapped, so there is no need to wrap complicated edges. Therefore, selvage denim fabric does not break and curl like mass-woven denim. Moreover, using selvages in jeans prevents them from unraveling and keeps them looking neat.
3. Why buy Japanese denim from Japan?
So, why do customers all over the world desire to have Japanese denim jeans? The reasons obviously come from the quality and design of Japanese denim. There are too many factors combining to create a perfect pair of Japanese jeans, which makes their names special in this competitive industry. They have a unique weaving and dyeing technique, the best quality and vintage styles as well as exclusivity.
These are all essential aspects of attracting customers. We can easily see that although every famous best Japanese denim brand makes sure of the common standards, they still have their own features. That’s why the following list of top 20 brands with their websites will make you understand more about Japanese denim.
>>> Read more: 10+ popular American denim brands
4. Top 20 best Japanese denim brands you should know about
Momotaro was founded in 2006 in Kojima which is known as the origin of Japanese denim. The brand is famous for the handmade selvage denim jeans made of Zimbabwe cotton. Besides the special material, their products were created by a natural indigo dyeing process. The jeans of this brand rarely fade during the customer’s usage, they are even slightly darker.
4.2. Oni Denim
The Japan denim brand was established in Okayama. Their technique of making jeans is still a secret to all people around the world. Details about their weaving skills are closely guarded. Moreover, they are well-known for a rare kind of selvage denim jeans. Regardless of the techniques used, the finished jeans are distinctive for their skinny fit and distinct textures.
4.3. Japan Blue Jeans
Japan Blue Jeans was founded in 2010 in Kojima. This is one of the most famous Japanese denim brands for raw selvage denim at a great price. They can balance between high-quality and a reasonable price. The brand name provides raw selvage denim at a lower cost than many competitive labels. Besides, they still make sure the quality of each product.
4.4. Blue Blue Japan
It is one of the early names in this industry. Blue Blue Japan was founded in the early 1990s and is situated in Tokyo. The Japanese selvedge denim brand is famous for the natural indigo dyeing process that changed every season. Moreover, every single of Blue Blue Japan has its distinctive features and color, which makes this brand famous all around the world.
Evisu was established in 1991 in Osaka. In the beginning, the company only produced 14 pairs of jeans per day. Each item was hand-painted carefully with some special decoration by founder Hidehiko Yamane. Moreover, people are often addicted to this label through its urban styles. Especially, rappers, streetwear kids are quite interested in this style.
4.6. Iron Heart
Iron Heart was founded in 2003 in Portsmouth, England. The brand is known for heavyweight fabrics as well as the high-contrast range because their designs are inspired by Japan’s motorcycle community. Thanks to the collaboration with some other labels, this brand improved its quality considerably.
The brand name was formed in 1977 in Tokyo. 45RPM is well-known for its unique dying techniques. They use two types of dying, including Ai and Indigo. However, both of these materials are used in Japanese loomed denim, which contributes to their high attractiveness and lower cling ability.
Tanuki is known as a new Japanese selvage denim brand that was founded in 2016 in Okayama. The company was established by a group of seasonal artisans. Denim that isn’t fixed or pre-shrunk was known as the company’s trademark. Many people might think that such raw denim can lead to problems with sizing, but actually, we think these denim pieces are worth purchasing. With a focus on American workwear styles and old-style manufacturing, this brand offers the best of both worlds.
Kapital was established in the 1980s and its name was from patchworked vintage materials. Don’t think that makes their products cheap. The named after the city of Kojima known as the capital of Japanese denim. The brand was famous for jeans made the first item was sold at $1,682 and even trial versions’ price from the brand is usually available for purchase.
>>Read more: Top 15 Best Japanese Menswear Brands 2021 You Must Buy.
Chimala was founded in New York City, in 2005 by two vintage collectors. It is estimated to be the favorite brand of true denim lovers. Chimala is well-known worldwide because of its high-quality handcrafted pieces from fabric that undergo a careful production and creative design process. Many of their items become the must-have ones in fashionistas’ collections.
4.11. Samurai Jeans
The label was founded in 1997 in Osaka. And obviously, it is also known as one of the best Japanese raw denim brands with creative fades and details. Samurai Jeans has been discovering and applying the power of the fade since the late 1990s. The founder of the brand, Tohru Nogami, combines Japanese flourishes with American trends to create an ever-evolving line of clothing designed with originality in mind.
4.12. The Flat Head
The Flat Head was established in 1996 in Nagano. Here is also another brand that is famous for its unique fades. In addition to raw denim, the company’s mid-weight denim ages perfectly and never fade. Besides jeans, other products from this Japanese raw denim brand like jackets, wallets, or accessories are also welcomed by worldwide customers thanks to their high quality.
4.13. Studio D’Artisan
Studio D’Artisan started in 1979 in Osaka and is known as a part of Osaka Five. A pioneering Japanese brand, this brand was the first to make hank-dyed jeans on a shuttle loom. That’s the reason why Studio D’Artisan’s reputation spreads when Japanese raw selvage denim booms in the 1990s. In some cases, they still make their own fabric and weave to make inexpensive jeans, which are often in limited supply and sell out quickly.
4.14. Pure Blue Japan
Pure Blue Japan is well-known as a Japanese denim brand for both men and women. Even, they provide some tops and accessories. A unique dyeing process was used to produce its jeans, which were handmade from textured Selvedge denim. When you buy an item of the label, you even have a chance to see photos they take throughout the aging process of their products.
4.15. Big John
Big John was founded in the 1940s, in Okayama. The Japan denim brand is known for pioneering the Japanese denim industry. Big John is also known for 100% Japanese denim jeans production, which makes their name outstanding from others. Moreover, it stays updating current with the newest trends. That’s why we have one of the best Japanese denim brands when we combine all the above factors in one brand.
4.16. Mister Freedom
Christophe Loiron, a French immigrant living in Los Angeles, has a desire of making classic American clothing. He came to Japan to find a high-quality fabric. Although the materials are Japanese, their products are inspired by Americans. This unique feature makes their brand outstanding among many local labels.
4.17. Sugar Cane & Co.
The vintage style of this brand is inspired by workwear since the ’70s. Denim is made to last, so durability is a priority. Sugar cane yarn is often blended with cotton in the brand’s creations, which is evident in the Hawaii or Awa models. Such a move would be better for the environment. Please note that the jeans of this best Japanese denim brand tend to run in small sizes.
4.18. Full Count
The Japan denim brand was founded in the late 1980s in Okayama. As its name, the brand is known for the source of Zimbabwean cotton denim fabric. Similar to Studio D’Artisan, the brand is also a part of Osaka Five, in spite of establishing in Okayama. Thanks to the top quality of fabrics to make comfortable jeans, their products are welcomed by a lot of customers.
Although TCB was just founded in 2008 in Kojima, the brand is also becoming famous quickly. If you wonder the meaning of this brand name, it stands for “Taking Care of Business” and “Two Cats Brand.” It is also another Japanese brand inspired by Americans. One of their advantages is the reasonable price and high quality. That’s why they are given much love from customers all over the world.
Shinsuke Takizawa’s Neighborhood is another Japanese denim brand that draws inspiration from American heritage and culture. The Neighborhood’ Stockman denim jacket stands out among other denim jackets and is essential for every man’s wardrobe. Especially, with the man love streetwear, they cannot the cool and modern items from this brand.
5. Where to buy Japanese denim clothes?
5.1. In Japan
If you have a chance to visit this country, you can easily find all denim products from the above brand on Japanese streets. There are a lot of stores of these labels in Japan. Some famous cities like Okayama, Kojima, Osaka will be the ideal destinations if you have intentions to collect Japanese jeans.
5.2. Outside Japan
When living outside of Japan, you’ll need to use the internet to get the best Japanese denim jeans or using a Japanese shopping proxy service. We provide you with a platform through which you can order any Japanese denim items, and then we deliver the best products to you through our proxy services.
6. General FAQ about Japanese denim
Q1. What is raw denim?
Almost all Japanese denim brands are famous for two main types: selvage denim and raw denim. Raw denim isn’t usually pre-washed, which makes raw denim fade naturally over time. Meanwhile, many other kinds of jeans are often washed before they are sold. However, when you buy a pair of raw denim, you’ll have a set of naturally faded jeans that are stylish and distinctive.
Q2. Is Japanese denim cheaper in Japan?
Compared with American denim, Japanese is surely cheaper. However, you don’t think that all Japanese denim jeans are cheap. They can be often over $300 a pair. All their products have high-quality and creative designs to make their own labels. It might be that Japanese stores have lower prices than Western ones, which leads their denim cheaper.
Q3. Is denim from Japan?
Actually, it’s not from Japan. Since the mid-19th century, denim has been used in the United States. In 1873, Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Nevada, manufactured the first pair of denim pants. Gradually, the demand for jeans increased considerably. Then, he moved production to the facilities of dry goods wholesaler Levi Strauss & Co. The company was known for supplying Davis with bolts of denim fabric. Japan is just famous for denim because of the quality and design of each product.
Q4. Why is Japanese denim considered the best?
After WWII, nearly all denim in Japan was imported from America. Kurabo Mills, however, decided to produce its own denim fabric in the small town of Kojima. The Japanese denim was quite different from typical jeans. To produce their selvage fabric, natural dyes were used, and it was woven on old looms. Native brand Big John incorporated the denim into its “M” Series, and a new industry was born.
Although America is well-known as the origin of jeans, Japanese denim is given much love from customers all over the world. Above is the collection of the top 20 best Japan denim brands. Each label has its own advantages and features. You can believe that all the items from the top brands are high-quality and creative. If you prefer Japanese denim, you cannot ignore the above brands because they all ensure their quality of materials and distinctive designs. We hope this article will help you choose your favorite items easily.
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