From Nîmes to Kurashiki
It is something of an irony that Japanese Denim has become the most sought after denim product in the world. The history of Denim has seen it travel from its home in France to America and from there to the rest of the world. Jeans or denims have become the most recognisable form of clothing in the world.
Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of denim that has inspired a few enthusiasts to return to the early shuttle looms to revive the creation of a product of exceptional quality and durability and of course, style.
Denim is a sturdy cotton twill with distinct characteristics; two or more white weft threads pass under a dyed warp thread, giving a cloth with a ribbed texture that is dark on one side and light on the other. Although traditionally dyed an indigo blue, it is available in an almost unlimited palette of colours.
Originally called Serge de Nîmes (serge from Nîmes), denim was first made in France by the Andre family. It was exported to America in the late 18th Century where the hard-wearing nature of the cloth made it a practical choice for workwear.
Traditional shuttle looms weave the cloth using a continuous cross- thread (the weft) that is passed on a shuttle back and forth along the length of the bolt. As the thread loops around to make its return journey, it creates a self-edge or selvedge, and it is this distinct characteristic that differentiates modern projectile loom denim from traditional shuttle loom denim.
The story of Denim in Japan started of course with the American love affair with jeans, but this fashion didn’t start until James Dean famously wore jeans in Rebel Without a Cause in 1955. At this time Japan was immersed in its own love affair, with American culture. Numerous Japanese companies sprang up to emulate the clothing and style of American Icons.
At the same time, American companies were abandoning traditional shuttle looms in favour of the much wider and more economical projectile looms that produced a cloth without a selvedge; a few of the shuttle looms crossed the seas and the foundations of the Japanese denim industry were laid.
Japanese companies innovated and improved the processes of weaving but kept the selvedge, which has now become a mark of ‘true’ denim. Japan arguably produces the finest denim in the world, loved by enthusiasts of raw denim and traditional jeans and now exported around the world, notably to America, the UK and France.
Richard Anderson Denim Jeans
The search for a true denim for Richard Anderson started with the history of the cloth and eventually led to a factory in Kurashiki, the home of Japanese Denim. Here an original 1920’s loom weaves the most beautiful cloth.
The respect for heritage and an exquisite attention to the finest detail during the weaving of a cloth that is hand-dyed using traditional vegetable dyes, make Richard Anderson denim jeans an artisanal product.
The Denim Suit
Denim has many uses but the sturdy structure of the cloth lends itself especially well to the creation of clothing that is crisp, shapely and performs beautifully in any environment.
As you can see from this bespoke model, the cloth works exceptionally well for suits, jackets and jeans. This Bespoke one button suit is made using the same 15oz vegetable-dyed indigo selvedge denim.