It turns out that there are plenty of options for those looking to lighten their look, and while this is by no means an exhaustive list, we chose to turn our focus to the following five pairs.
1. Naked & Famous – Vintagecast Broken-Twill
We’ve come to expect innovation from the Canadian brand, and this pair of denim is no exception. In this case, they’re innovating by looking backwards, as this denim’s hue hearkens back to bygone days, with a much lighter, almost electric blue. This offering is the third generation of the broken-twill series, the original being the greencast followed up by the royalcast.
The jeans are marketed as a raw option to the traditional indigo. Not only is the color distinct, but the broken-twill denim also offers a relatively unique option from the right-hand and left-hand twills featured by many brands. It’s available in WeirdGuy and SkinnyGuy fits.
- Name: Naked & Famous Vintagecast Blue Selvedge
- Weight: 12.5 Oz.
- Denim: Japanese vintagecast broken-twill in indigo
- Fit: WeirdGuy and SkinnyGuy
- Available at: Blue Owl for $155.00 YSD
2. Big John – M1 Straight Leg Ruri
BIG JOHN is one of the original Japanese denim companies leading the charge in the repro movement; paying close attention to vintage details and offering products that display a respect for what has come before.
The M1 Straight Leg Ruri is a “cowboy jean”, with a high waist and slight taper in the leg. The denim itself has been dyed only 3/4 of the normal amount, accounting for the lighter color seen in denim of the past which BIG JOHN refers to as, “ruri.” The jeans also feature fully printed pocket bags and a gold selvedge line.
- Name: BIG JOHN M1 Straight Leg Ruri
- Weight: 14.5 Oz.
- Denim: Japanese raw red-eyed gold selvedge
- Fit: Straight with a slightly tapered leg
- Available at: Tate + Yoko for $185.00 USD
3. Oni Denim – Low Tension 20oz Secret Denim Tapered Leg
Oni is as big of an enigma as far as companies go, as there isn’t too much out there about the company itself. In fact, their owner, Mr. Oishi, forgoes dealing with the press in order to focus as much time and energy on their denim. This particular pair, the Low-Tension 20 Oz. Secret Denim, as the name suggests, is made with techniques which are kept under wraps.
What we do know though is that the weft yarns are dyed beige for “a color reminiscent of cotton growing in the wild”. While not as light as the previous two pairs above, the denim does have a deep blue which is lighter than traditional indigo. However it was made, it’s most certainly intriguing.
- Name: Oni Low-Tension 20 Oz. Secret Denim Tapered Leg
- Weight: 20 Oz.
- Denim: Oni Japanese rope-dyed selvedge denim with beige weft
- Fit: Mid/high rise with a tapered leg
- Available at: Blue in Green for $325.00 USD
4. Samurai Jeans – 17oz S0210XJII-RR Limited Edition
Samurai hardly needs an introduction as it has grown to become one of the most popular Japanese denim companies. They’re renowned for their attention to detail, and this pair lives up to the brand’s reputation with a whole slew of special detailing.
The “RR” in the title stands for “Revival and Reproduction”, a limited edition jean complete with a 15th-anniversary coin pouch and button. The warp is pure indigo with grey-dyed weft yarn, giving it the left-hand-twill denim a subdued cast. The light blue is offset by the contrast yellow stitching, and the denim comes complete with a selvedge line that features a single thread of silver lamé.
- Name: Samurai S0210XJII-RR
- Weight: 17 Oz.
- Denim: Japanese “Sword Selvage”; left-hand-twill selvedge denim with indigo warp and grey weft
- Fit: Mid-rise with slightly tapered leg
- Available at: Blue in Green for $345.00
5. Fullcount – 1108 Selvage Sweat Fleece Denim
Fullcount has been around for more than twenty years and was the first Japanese company to use Zimbabwe cotton. They’ve been offering classic cuts in raw denim since 1992 and they consistently produce unique goods. While the other denim on the list boasts more of a blue shade, we couldn’t resist including this pair for it’s intriguing materials and enigmatic coloring; a subtle white which is almost grey.
One can only wonder what the hand is like. Sweat fleece warp threads are interwoven with denim weft yarns to create the jeans, accounting for the uneven texture. Complete with a goat-leather patch, this pair offers something completely different than your traditional indigo.
- Name: Fullcount 1108 Sweat Fleece Selvage Denim
- Weight: 13.75 Oz.
- Denim: Japanese sweat fleece warp with denim weft selvedge
- Fit: Straight with regular rise
- Available at: Blue in Green for $76.25 (note only 38 and 40 are available)
Of course these are only a few options in a sea of lighter-colored denim out there. If there are any alternatives we’ve missed that you enjoy, sound off in the comments below!