The textile industry has always prospered in Okayama, especially in the city of Kojima. During the 1960s, imported used jeans were becoming very popular in Japan and the production of jeans using imported denim as well as the creation of denim fabric was growing in Okayama. Presently, Okayama is a well-known production center of high quality denim around the world. Denim from Japan, especially from Okayama has a reputation among denim enthusiasts as some of the best in the world.
There are many reasons why Japanese denim is considered better than some types of denim. One reason is that most denim made today uses synthetic dye which is cheaper and contains less impurities than natural dye, while Japanese premium denim often uses natural dye. Another important trait in Japanese denim’s quality is the cloth that the denim is made from; It is made using selvedge, which refers to the natural end of the fabric which, when made into a pair of jeans, prevents damage and fraying.
Okayama denim is specifically, denim fabric and products made in Okayama and by it’s residing brands and companies. Okayama is one of the largest production centers related to denim in the world, with places that specialize in weaving, processing and sewing. Okayama Denim has wide range of availability, from long-established stores to newly-born factories and designer brands. In Okayama there are many styles to choose from, such as navy blue jeans, unprocessed denim, damaged denim and crushed denim. In addition to denim production, Okayama also focuses on tourism for denim enthusiasts with it’s many shopping streets related to designer denim products.
Selvedge refers to the natural end of a roll of fabric from which denim products are created. The cost of producing selvedge denim is generally more expensive because it can only be woven at a width of 31″, about half the width of non-selvage denim. Selvedge denim is woven on old looms that require more skill and adeptness to operate, leading to a tighter, denser weave along with many imperfections in the denim that makes each cut unique. Selvage denim is typically woven with a distinct red stripe, although many other colors are also used. The red stripe of selvedge denim symbolizes the high quality of Okayama denim.
Speaking of well known Okayama denim, Momotaro Jeans is one of the most reputable jean brands. Momotaro Jeans predominantly features its signature Japan Blue and after the jeans fade a bit from wear you’ll have a one of a kind pair. Momotaro’s jeans are also famous for their price, with some of their styles reaching upwards of 200,000 yen.
Kojima Genes is another popular Okayama denim brand that boasts its history of being a traditional Kojima jeans company. It offers various styles of jeans from work clothes to vintage wear.
Denim Kimono & Yukata
Denim kimono and yukata are also available in Kojima, Kurashiki City. They are made using Zimbabwe cotton woven with dyed yarn, a denim kimono looks similar to shiny linen. Much like jeans, you can wear denim kimono and yukata as casual wear. Yukata is a type of informal cotton kimono that is becoming popular among young people and they are often worn on special occasions during the summer, such as a bon dance or to go to see fire works. If you are interested in purchasing one in Kojima, you’ll be able to choose from a multitude of patterns and colors.
Kojima Jeans Street
Located on Ajino Shopping Street in Kurashiki City, Kojima Jeans Street is a street lined with famous denim companies and shops. Many tourists and denim enthusiasts from Japan and abroad gather here to buy some of the best jeans in the world. Kojima Jeans Street consists of more than 30 different shops, such as Momotaro Jeans, Kojima Genes and Kojima Tenryo Denim. Ajino Shopping Street is about a 15 minute walk from JR Kojima Station.
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Kojima Jeans Street
Address: 2-2-85 Kojimaajino, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture
Access: 15 minute walk from Kojima Station
Website: Kojima Jeans Street (Japanese)