Do you know that Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada have their jeans and/or denim fabric made in Okayama, Japan? Today, Okayama-made jeans are globally popular and top international houses produce their denim fabric or pants there. You may already know Okayama denim is good, but do you know why? In this article, we are going to introduce how Okayama has obtained its reputation by talking about its history and its business background.
Kojima of Okayama
Okayama is a state of Japan located in the West side of the main island of Honshu. Within Okayama, the small port district of Kojima is known as the “Denim Capital” and the “Birthplace of Japanese Jeans”. Some even call it the “Holy Land of Jeans”.
Okayama’s Denim’s History
Many textile mills have been in Kojima in Okayama since a long time ago and it has been well-known for its fabric quality. After WWII, the American jean industry entered Japan in the 1950’s and Okayama became the center because of its textile manufacturing background. As a result, a lot of denim factories were built and they say you could hear the noise made by machine looms anywhere in Kojima when you walk there at that time.
Later, denim production developed further and production processes became centered in Okayama. These production processes have 4 main components in indigo denim production, such as spinning yarn to thread, rope dyeing with indigo, weaving thread into fabric and processing woven fabric like sanforization. Usually, in other parts of the world, there are factories specializing in each step and they are not always in the same region. However, in the case of Okayama, they are concentrated in Kojima so all the processes can be finished in the same place. This centralized and integrated production has improved the quality and shortened the lead time greatly.
However, at the same time, the centralized businesses generated stiff competition there. This has further developed not only the market but also the society. Today, Chugoku Design College located in Okayama has the denim production course to educate young people into skilled denim craftsmen. Young people’s ideas and passion keep improving the industry.
Okayama attracts not only denim businesses but also a large number of tourists to “Jeans Street” in Kojima. The street is literally the jeans heaven that hosts more than 30 Japanese jeans shops, mills, sewing factories and processing factories.
OKayama Denim Brands
Okayama’s textile production background centralized all the denim production businesses. As a result, the quality of denim made in Okayama became send to none and receive wide recognition in the world. The denim mecca is the home of the below brands.
Also, “Osaka Five” high-end reproduction jeans brands have their denim products and/or fabric made in Okayama.