At a certain level near the top of the raw denim industry are a number of real standout denim manufacturers. From the still relatively speaking low 200 dollars to the closer to premium 350 dollar price tag, here are 6 pairs of top drawer raw denim.
The Japanese-centic nature of the list reflects the attention to some of the finer points of raw denim craftsmanship and denim sourcing in the Japanese premium raw denim market, as well as sadly the exorbident shipping and duty costs.
1. Iron Heart 634S
Iron Heart‘s signature jean, a straight cut modelled and crafted to be worn for decades over motorbikes and days of hard work, is an excellent option in the 200-350 dollar price range.
Taking inspiration from 20th century American work and biker wear with 21st century updates and then drawing on the best of Japanese craftsmanship and materials, one of Iron Heart’s interesting updates is being able to take a very heavyweight denim and make it exceptionally comfortable.
These are probably the most comfortable 21 Oz. denim you’ll ever try on. Available for $350.00.
2. Mister Freedom Californian Blue Jeans (Lot 54)
These jeans from Mister Freedom are the lightest of the denims on this list, the 12 Oz. New Old Stock selvedge indigo unsanforized denim in a 1950’s era blue jean inspired Mister Freedom pattern is a great denim option for summer.
These are crafted with the uptmost of care using the best available materials and construction, everything down to the beford cord pockets and hand stitched M back pocket design are carefully thought through. Available at: Self Edge for $250.00.
Momotaro are an interesting option in the 200-350 dollar category, as they’re one of the most popular premiere denim options and have travelled more widely than most Japanese denim names do. Momotaro are sold in most countries, so their premier priceline has gone down slightly from what it was in the days Japan was the sole country of distribution.
That being said, they really haven’t experienced the decrease in quality some brands in the same phase go through, and are one of premiere Japanese denim’s best, so are well worth a look at when searching for your next favorite pair. Available at: Blue In Green for $315.00.
4. The Real McCoy Joe McCoy Lot 906S
These straight cut jeans from Japanese brand with a real eye to vintage Americana The Real McCoy are another great option in the upper end of the denim market. These are a 14.75 oz unsanforized Japanese denim, made in Japan with inspiration from mid-century Americana.
The Real McCoy’s are a well known and well trusted brand when it comes to material sourcing, craftsmanship and generally coming up with premiere products. These, given their slightly lower weight of denim, will be one of the easier wear-ins of the premiere denim market, and will also last exceptionally along with most of this list. Available at: Blue In Green for $285.00.
5. Pure Blue Japan XX-005
With a name like Pure Blue Japan, it’s hard to imagine that the denim would be anything but the best. As they’ve made this list, clearly the denim is right up there with some of the best in the world.
PBJ original slubby texture denims, which include the XX-003, XX-004, XX-005, XX-005BK, XX-007, XX-009, XX-010, XX-013, NC-005, and NC-013, are all woven using the same single shuttle loom machine. The machine is manipulated and rigged in such a way as to create this unique loose and uneven weave; and only for use by Pure Blue Japan.
This, like the last option, is also a 14 Oz. denim, so will break in without as much fuss as some of its heavier colleagues in this list. As the name implies as well, these jeans are made in Japan. In typical Japanese denim standards, every detail right down to the Sheepskin leather patch, is meticulously thought through. Available at: Blue In Green for $275.00.
6. Edwin ED-47
These rainbow selvage jeans from Edwin are last, but definitely not least, on this list of premium raw denim options. Edwin takes a real pride in craftsmanship and sourcing of their excellent Zimbabwean denim, this being a prime example of the brand’s signature ‘Rainbow’ selvedge which they’ve been crafting since 1963.
The ED-47 are a straight cut, regular fitting jean cut from a relatively heavyweight authenticly sewn denim. They’re also one of the more ‘dressy’ options which wear quite well through most social situations. Available at: Mr. Porter for $230.00.
Which on this list is your favorite? Are they pairs of raw denim that you think we missed? Let us know in the comment below.