Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Quiz resolve

The suspense of the denim quiz is killing you, no?

Here are the answers:

1. Thailand, denim from the infamous fake Levi's jeans.
2. Japan, Samurai S0500XX Texas cotton denim.
3. China.
4. Japan, The Flat Head 3000-series denim(wet dog-series).
5. China.
6. USA, Cone Mills. Levi's Vintage Clothing 1963 551ZXX. Supposedly the darkest denim of all LVCs, not sure if it's true.
7. Japan, Samurai S0505XX.
8. China.
9. Europe(Italy/Turkey?), Denim Demon Aajja second edition.
10. Japan, Studio D'Artisan SD-103.

It was hard, wasn't it? It really isn't possible to tell the origin of a piece of denim nor is it easy to pick the 'best' denim when you don't have a brand name or country of origin to go by.
I wanted to illustrate this and the prejudice against, for example, Chinese denim and of course that from other developing countries.

The only thing that matters is to which specification the denim is made. It is certainly possible to get denim from China that's as nice as the better Japanese denim, if you ask, and pay for it.
Cone Mills and Kaihara are big names and it's somewhat of a selling point for jeans with denim from these mills, but you should always try to look past branding and all types of labels.
Cone and Kaihara make a wide range of denim and I've heard that Nudie, Uniqlo, Levi's(for some jeans in their Vintage Clothing collection) and many Japanese brands get their denim from there, but they also make lower-end denim and I doubt that denim is any better than something from Turkey. It's evident that Kaihara makes many different types of denim, Nudie's denim is quite different from the Japanese stuff I've seen, and LVC's is quite different from both of these parties.
I think that a famous mill and brand name doesn't necessarily guarantee a high quality product, but will to some extent guarantee you won't get a really low quality product.

If I were to start my own brand today I would actually prefer to have them made in a relatively low-cost region(I think it'd be easier to enter the market with jeans that cost less than $300, but perhaps I'm wrong), if I could find a mill that was cooperative enough and easy to communicate with - I think this would actually be the weakest point of Chinese factories, some of them probably aren't all that dedicated to their work. I think that for the absolutely best in denim and workmanship, like exotic natural indigo dyes and autistic attention to detail Japan is the only choices, but jeans of good quality can come from all over the world.

For example, Filippa K's selvedge jeans and Cheap Monday's Latjo Lajban Vintage-line are made in China and while I'd never say these are top notch quality they're much better than some people would have you believe. They're easily as good as Italian-made goods(Italy feels a bit overrated to me by the way, I've never really seen great stuff from Italy).

The Chinese denim in this quiz is not the best I've seen and it was dyed with an indigo/sulphur-mix dye.
This is from China too and looks even better I think;

This denim is also from China, it's from 1996;

I hope this post made sense. If this topic interests you, come and discuss it at ringxring.


Conie Jeans said...

Hi there.

I am very interested on your topic about Chinese Fabrics, You mention about Kaihara and I acknowledge them as the best one, but do you know about Kuroki Fabric and what do you think about them? Why Kaihara is often mentioned in every Fabrics discussion.

I hope you can help me, love your work.

Anonymous said... your homework before you speak like an authority on italian vs china, japanese vs turley, this region vs that region, blah, blah, blah.

you are putting out some prejudiced points of view yourself (that which you claim you, yourself are railing against)...

p.s. there is both a kaihara japanese arm AND a kaihara chinese arm of manufacturing and i have worked with both...but you probably knew that already, huh, expert?

spacelounge said...

Hi Conie, I don't have first hand experience with Kaihara nor Kuroki so I'm not the best person to answer your question, but it's not a long shot to assume that Kaihara is among the best in the industry and thus gets a lot of talk.


I'm not saying anything that could be seen as prejudiced at all, in fact I'm saying that origin doesn't necessarily mean anything.
This is pretty much the opposite to prejudice.
You must be able to make this distinction too.

I don't know who you've worked with ( ;)) nor did I know there was a Chinese branch of Kaihara, that's interesting, thank you.
That can however not be used to refute what I wrote, as it suggests, if not proves, that Kaihara makes fabric for many different segments and that Chinese denim isn't so bad after all.

I've never said I was nor posed as an expert, I think it's pretty clear to those who've read this blog that it's from an enthusiast's point of view?
Is my enthusiastic ambition too high?

If you've got something to add or teach me or just give your own, obviously conflicting, view you're welcome to do so.
I'm very interested to hear what you have to say, considering you've already said you're a professional, perhaps even an expert?

David said...

well as I wrote in the previous post I like 2, 4, 8 and 10. I guess that Japanese denim is my thing then, I mean 3 out of four being japanese...

kattis said...

This is the first time I read your blogg, I don´t know if I love it yet,
I had been working w Kuroki Fabrics, Super nice fabric,

spacelounge said...

Hi kattis, it's nice to have you here either way, even if you don't love my blog ;)

Would you like to tell us a little more about the Kuroki fabric? Maybe even take some pictures to show us?
You could put it all at

What are you making with the fabric, jeans?