What is Japanese Denim and Why It Matters


Denim is timeless. A good pair of denim jeans will last you for decades. No other material has the same cost-per-wear. Denim jeans will take you from a casual day at the office to catching a red-eye flight or hitting the town with your girlfriends. While fast fashion trends come and go, denim will never go out of style.


Japanese denim is in a league of its own. While American denim is your everyday go-to, Japanese denim is the luxury choice that will elevate your closet. It’s a hidden gem of the fashion industry and one of the best-kept secrets for plus-size fashion.


Sante Grace is bringing our love for Japanese denim to the American market by launching one of the first ranges of plus-size Japanese denim. Until now, this premium fabric and its artisan craftsmanship have been almost exclusively reserved for straight sizes.


Japanese denim is an artisan craft that uses traditional dyeing techniques to create garments that will stand the test of time. The beauty of Japanese denim is that it molds to your body to create the perfect fit. Have you always wanted jeans that fit like a glove? You need Japanese denim!


We’re deep diving into the world of Japanese denim, sharing why it matters, and how this traditional technique is a perfect solution for plus-size women.


Meet Japanese Denim

What makes Japanese denim unique is its artisan craftsmanship. The denim is woven on vintage shuttle looms, unlike the modern looms used in Western factories. These slower looms produce denim that is half the width of the American denim made on modern looms.


Japanese denim is a luxury because of the craftsmanship behind it. It is made on vintage looms that are 60 to 80 years old with denim production considered an artisan craft. The vintage looms create ‘selvedge denim’, another term used interchangeably to describe Japanese denim. The edges are wrapped in a red thread, whereas Western denim is frayed and left unfinished.


You can spot Japanese denim by looking at the cuff of the jeans to see the thread line, called the ‘selvedge line’.


What is Japanese Denim?

While you’ll find selvedge denim being made in most countries, it’s highly sought after from Japanese manufacturers. You can think of Japan as the ‘made in France’ of the denim world. It’s the manufacturer’s stamp that adds instant luxury.


Japanese denim has a rich heritage and continues to be viewed as an artisanal craft that focuses on quality over quantity. While most of us view denim as workwear or casual wear, Japanese denim takes a more refined approach.


What makes Japanese denim more expensive is its width. This denim is woven to a 31” width, half that of non-selvedge denim. The vintage looms can only be operated by skilled artisans who are trained to work with specialist machinery. These looms create a tighter weave that is unique to each piece of denim.


Most denim on the American market is ‘fast-fashion’, while Japanese denim is a luxury and more sustainable option due to its longevity. The artisan nature of Japanese denim means that its unique characteristics make the fabric more adaptable. Every time you wear it, the fabric will start to mold to your body to give you the perfect fit. No more jumping into your jeans!


Japanese denim takes most of its inspiration from classic American styles, from the styles worn in ‘50s movies to the quintessential Levi jeans. While they may look similar, Japanese denim is the luxury cousin of American jeans.


How is Japanese Denim Different?

While you might think Japanese and Western denim look the same, there are subtle differences that you’ll notice on closer inspection. Japanese texture starts with a rough texture that becomes softer with wear, just like a real leather jacket. As your denim starts to age, it adapts to your body shape.


Don’t let the rough texture of Japanese denim put you off. While it can be a sharp change from the pre-faded denim you find in mainstream fashion, Japanese denim comes with plenty of perks.


The denim reflects Japan’s rich textiles and manufacturing history, incorporating the fabric dyeing used for traditional kimonos. Other techniques carried over from kimonos include kasuri dyeing which creates more electric hues and richer fades in the denim.


Comparing Japanese vs. American denim will show you how the former uses traditional, natural dye, while American denim uses an artificial dyeing process. Each piece of Japanese denim looks different as the natural dye fades differently. It means every pair of jeans is completely unique, while American denim looks like it’s cut from the same cloth.


Another difference to look for in Japanese denim is its weight. It’s a heavier fabric than Western denim, even in a country famous for its lightweight fabrics. American denim weighs an average of 14 oz, whereas Japanese denim weighs 20 oz.


The beauty of Japanese denim is that it’s designed to last you a lifetime. This durable fabric is a modern luxury that you wear every season, from your summer travels to running errands in winter.  Japanese denim is worth its weight in gold.


Why Japanese Denim Matters


Japanese denim is a fashion insider secret that we’re excited to be bringing to our plus-size community. Our Japanese denim collection brings this artisan craft to the Western market with each garment specially designed for plus-size women.


Have you struggled to find plus-size denim that hugs your curves and boosts your confidence? Try Japanese denim. This thicker alternative to normal denim creates a richer fade over time with durability that will last for decades. Wear your denim with love and watch as the fabric creases and fade with time for a one-of-a-kind look.


Getting plus-size denim right isn’t easy – but we believe Japanese denim is the solution. This moldable fabric adapts to your curves over time to fit like a glove. Japanese denim is a luxury garment that will love you back.


Are you looking for a splurge purchase to kickstart your plus-size capsule closet? Look no further than our Japanese denim. Everything from the stitching to the zippers is made to the highest quality, following the Japanese artisan tradition. Shop the latest luxury plus-size arrivals at Sante Grace today.

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