by Lisa Mesbur
Denim may have originated in the US in the mid-19th century, but when looking for a product that’s quite literally a cut above, United Stock Dry Goods sources from the Japanese, who are currently in the business of producing the best denim on the market.
In a word, selvedge. If you’re a denim enthusiast, you’re probably already familiar with selvedge denim, which has a “self edge” that prevents jeans from unravelling, and has a tighter weave than ordinary denim. Japanese selvedge denim is crafted using authentic vintage or reproduction vintage shuttle looms, resulting in a particularly dense and long-wearing fabric with tiny imperfections and variations that lend it character.
Another difference is in the weight and texture of Japanese denim — those used to wearing jeans that are light, soft and pliable right off the shelf are often surprised by the heavy, stiff and slightly rough texture of Japanese denim. The payoff though, comes in the longer term: as Japanese denim jeans age and wear on the body, they’ll conform to your shape like nothing else, and last longer, too. Win-win.
For more info about what makes Japanese denim, and the artisans’ culture that surrounds it, so special, the recently released Weaving Shibusa documentary is well worth a watch.