James McNally on the Wonderful Nerdiness of Japanese Denim

The trend-spotter and style blogger gives you a lesson on the peculiarities of Japanese jeans.


Gap, Uniqlo, and even True Religion make perfectly serviceable selvage jeans, but even though this specialty denim is no longer niche, there is a community of denim purists who would die before wearing any of these easy-to-find brands. The selvage world can be intense and overwhelming, though, so here are a few options with guaranteed denim cred—you just have to put in the months of wear to break them in. All of them are available at Blue in Green, the mecca for Japanese denim in the United States.


One standout feature here is the slubbiness of the denim: The company uses a single-shuttle loom machine, which has been manipulated to produce jeans with an undeniably lively feel that ages into a satisfying fade.


The Studio D'Artisan D-1507 is limited to 120 pairs, is dyed with natural indigo from the renowned Tokushima prefecture, and has a red-white-and-blue selvage line inspired by the French tricolor. In other words, there are plenty of dorky details to get into.


Samurai uses 100 percent Texas cotton, known for its short fibers that provide a lovably rough and uneven denim. The S8000JX-N is inspired by the story of Sanada Yukimura, a famous 16th-century samurai, and incorporates a metal insert along the selvage edge to evoke armor.


Blue in Green worked with Momotaro on the design of the 0705BIG. Key facts: The style is made from a 15.7-ounce denim, woven with cotton from Zimbabwe, and washed once in seawater from the coast of Okayama.

If you're hard-core about your jeans, start reading James' blog on a daily basis.

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