why japanese denim is the best in the world
New documentary Weaving Shibusa is the story of the craftsmanship behind Japan’s love of denim.
It might not have the storied history of its American counterparts, but if you know your denim, you'll know that Japan has a reputation for making the very best in the world. First arriving in the country via the Levis-clad G.I.s that occupied the nation following World War II, blue jeans came to represent a permissible form of rebellion in a society attempting to rebuild itself following the trauma of the war; a passport out of the conformity of the early 1950s and a teenage ticket to the idealised optimism of James Dean, Marlon Brando and youthful American soldiers.
Denim became a big deal, sure, but the real story lies in just how quickly the Japanese would establish their own highly original and localised industry; a combination of huge demand, economic miracle and a centuries old textile industry that prided itself on extraordinary attention to detail, combining to create the much-praised 'selvedge edge'.
It's this level of craftsmanship that's documented in Devin Leisher's Weaving Shibusa, premiering on 6 August at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco and previewed in the trailer below. Touring some of the most acclaimed denim factories in the country, the film uses its unprecedented access to meet the artisans behind the weave, offering a closer look at this most premium of industries. Check out the trailer, below, and find out more about the film here.
Text Matthew Whitehouse