Japanese denim has been popular around the world, because of the high quality, the craftsmanship.
There are basically the 4 main steps.
Spinning – Dyeing – Weaving – Finishing.
These steps can be done by separate companies, though there is only one company who does all 4 steps in their facility.
That's Kaihara in Hiroshima, Japan. Kaihara is renowned company, produces 50% of denim shares in Japan. The other company is Kuroki, based in Ibara, Okayama prefecture. Kuroki operates 3 steps out of the 4 main steps, from dyeing to finishing.
Kojima, Okayama prefecture is known by the popular jeans makers. Since Kuroki is in Okayama prefecture, many jeans makers use their fabrics, or using their yarn to weave their original fabrics.
These 2 companies are known by their dyeing technique, “rope-dyeing”. They only dye outside of the yarn, and keep inside of the yarn white. This is the reason why it will age nicely.
Kaihara has been talked about lately because of their collaboration with Uniqlo. Uniqlo introduced their jeans using Kaihara selvage denim at 3,990 JPY. That's unheard of. To produce selvage denim takes a long time, with the quality of Kaihara should bring up the cost. Popular jeans makers in Kojima, Okayama prefecture sell their jeans anywhere from 20,000 JPY to 30,000 JPY, some are over 30,000 JPY.
Then, what's the difference?
Kaihara developed denim just for Uniqlo, for their low priced jeans. This was a huge thing in Japan too, that many people review their jeans. When you compare the Jeans from Uniqlo to the jeans among other known brand jeans makers, “difference is obvious” according to those reviewers.
However, good selvage denim would easily cost you more than 10,000 JPY, that people don’t mind getting the selvage jeans from Uniqlo.
There are many bloggers talking about how the Uniqlo jeans age compares to others, and actually getting pretty good reviews.
But, in terms of silhouette and how they are made, that's the other reasons for this price point.
These known jeans makers, they are passionate about denim and jeans. They study the original fiber, go through a dyeing process so many times to create their own colors, combination of different yarns to weave special denim, study human bodies to create the best design and silhouette.
Of course, there are differences in products. Like in anything, whether its suit, shirt, shoes, cars, electronics, in anything. There should be reasons for being so inexpensive.
Now, people hyped up about Japanese jeans makers, but they are pretty much the same in my opinion. The difference probably being specs, design and silhouette. Fabrication, details, and sewing technique are pretty much at the same level. Some might produce their own cotton, own indigo mixture, dyeing process, but the end result is pretty much the same. They will all fit differently, you will still have to find the best fit for yourself.
Or, if you are not too fussy about the details, purely want to decent denim jeans at low price, probably Uniqlo jeans would be your best bet.
Those of you would like to customize your jeans, choose the fabric, buttons, rivets, stitch, size, we offer customize made-to-measure jeans using Japanese denim, hand crafted at Denim Works (Betty Smith) in Kojima, Okayama prefecture.