While the true popularization of denim occurred in the United States, Japan is the fabric’s undeniable spiritual home. Like most other clothing categories, Japan has taken its time to learn the process of making and dyeing denim to an unprecedented level. Viewing the process as an art rather than a necessity for workwear has led labels like Kapital, EVISU and visvim to define domestic production ahead of the leagues.
Given the fabric’s resilient and functional roots, denim fits perfectly into the traditional Japanese sartorial mindset: the beauty of an item lies in the story it tells. There is no other fabric that bears its scars, marks and imperfections like indigo-dyed denim, and in Japanese hands it becomes the canvas of true artistic expertise.
Basically, Japanese denim has always been an exercise in lasting quality. The signature heavy cottons and natural indigo dyes remain unchanged, but as style oscillates in its cycles, exterior designs are returning to the center of on-trend glasses. Popular in the early 2000s, labels like Evisu and True Religion (which are not strictly Japanese, but are explicitly inspired by culture) underpin the Y2K revival in fashion, adding another reason for ” why you should wear Japanese denim ‘list.
So while it’s undeniable that your APC New Standards or Levi’s 501 are timeless staples, examples like Kapital’s patchwork designs appeal to a more specialized ensemble. But, an increased focus on material perfection also means an increase in price. It should be remembered that these pairs are made to last a lifetime, so it becomes extremely important that you get the right one. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Japanese denim jackets and pants to guide you through the beautifully complicated world of denim.
Shop the best pieces of Japanese denim below.
japanese denim jackets
Visvim 101 jacket
This visvim jacket is typically Japanese. Although visually understated, it is constructed with the highest quality materials right down to the buckskin patch on the reverse side. The heavyweight pure cotton denim has a slightly waxy finish thanks to the deep black dye.
Denim jacket Junya Watanabe
There’s a reason denim jackets are the go-to fall pick. A good denim jacket will go with everything in your wardrobe, and with the addition of a warm sherpa lining, this Junya Watanabe iteration is designed to keep you warm, too.
Kapital appliqué-embellished denim jacket
The high quality and high prices of Kapital have made it an exclusive club within the fashion industry. Designs like this 12oz denim jacket complete with hand-applied suede patches and embroidery have made it a marker of denim purism.
Kapital denim jacket
Everything that is done by Kapital is a final “if you know, you know” situation. The iconic smileys embroidered on each arm will turn the heads of those who “know”.
UNDERCOVER Straight Leg Jeans
The perfect fit of jeans does not …
Kapital No.4 Plant Dye 5p Monkey Cisco Jeans
Dyed using a pure vegetable dye, this pair of Kapital jeans has an unorthodox green hue that’s reflected by a section of multi-fabric patchwork that crosses both legs to add texture.
Junya Watanabe x Levi’s patchwork jeans
The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi recognizes imperfection as well as beauty. This is why repairs and quilting elements play a big role in the life of Japanese denim. This collaboration pair sees Junya Watanabe putting her twist on a classic pair of Levi’s.
COMME des GARÇONS Paneled Jeans
With a striking cropped length, these COMME des GARÇONS jeans blend four slightly different shades of indigo into one beautifully harmonious ensemble.
Kapital embellished jeans
There isn’t too much embellishment when it comes to Kapital. Remaining tasteful in a way, this pair of embellished jeans showcases a range of visual additions ranging from iconic references to unsold fabrics. Each pair is unique.
DISTRICT. Worn jeans
Part of what makes your own denim special is that it becomes a story of your life with. Every spill, stain and tear makes the pair more meaningful. If, however, you want the desired aesthetic without the 20 years of hard work, there is no better place to get your worn out jeans than NEIGHBORHOOD.
EVISU seagull pocket jeans
The iconic EVISU seagull motif adorns the back pockets of these raw indigo jeans. Cut to a straight leg with no frills, this pair is a must-have that pairs perfectly with any t-shirt and sneaker combo.
Want to continue browsing? Head to the Highsnobiety store for more products we love. Highsnobiety has affiliate marketing partnerships which means we may receive a commission on your purchase.