For an American lover of Japanese denim, Japan Blue feels like it was made just for me. The fact is, it kinda was. Well, me and the rest of the western world.
If you are familiar with Momotaro, then you know their uncompromising level of quality that runs down into every fiber of their denim. Unfortunately, that same unflinching stance on quality was also applied to their cuts. There was becoming a big demand for skinnier and more tapered cuts, but Momotaro didn’t budge. A compromise was made. In 2010, Japan Blue was created by Hiroki Kishimoto under the Japan Blue Group. The idea was to use the same high quality fabrics supplied by COLLECT to construct simple, high quality jeans with modern slim cuts. The result is a high end denim with great construction and cool looks for a very low price. usually between $120 and $180.
To Just to clarify a point, there is a big misconception about COLLECT Co. Everytime you see anything mentioned about them they are referred to as “COLLECT Mill” and that they make the fabric for Momotaro and Japan Blue. I thought this was true until a very reputable source said:
“I can tell you that “Collect” isn’t a mill. Collect is a fabric agent. That is, they buy from several mills in Japan and resell the fabric. They do not own any weaving machines or dyeing or finishing or anything. I have heard they recently bought their first ever weaving machine, but they also told me that 7 years ago so I don’t believe it.”
I had to get to the bottom of this so I contacted Japan Blue directly. This is what they had to say: “We (COLLECT) own weaving mills. JBJ also uses that denim fabric. But our mills are not so big so we also order from other mills. For our heavy and rough denim we order from Shinya mills. For our light and smooth denim we order from Own mills.”
Japan Blue Group is comprised of Japan Blue, Momotaro, Collect Co., and Rampuya. COLLECT sources denim for some of the finest companies in the world, including Momotaro. Rampuya is also dyes the yarn for Momotaro and makes the most concentrated indigo in the world. Being able to utilize both of these companies in-house allows Japan Blue to create their own fabrics from scratch, controlling every step of the process, just like Momotaro does. On every pair of Japan Blue it states, “Material is a key factor to determine the quality of jeans,” and their denim is a strong argument for this statement.
Here I have had the chance to review two of Japan Blue’s most interesting models:
Here is a video on the process of Japan Blue’s handmade jeans.