Uniqlo recently dropped a new indigo/workwear line titled “Pure Blue Japan”. The Japanese mega-retailer has long been known for its collaborations with niche high end designers like Jun Takahashi and Michael Bastian. This, however, is not one of them.
The collection is said to be “Inspired by authentic Japanese indigo denim” and features raw selvedge jeans, denim chore coats, and indigo-dyed sweats. The name and the products might lead you to believe there was some connection with cult Japanese denim brand Pure Blue Japan. If you thought this was your chance to snag some cheap jeans from the slub denim masters, unfortunately you’ll have to keep waiting.
We spoke with PBJ’s Kozue Tamura who said, “We are very surprised that Uniqlo released ‘Pure Blue Japan’ collection. We have nothing to do with that.” He continues, “Uniqlo is a huge company. We are quite a small company, and therefore we have no relationship to them.” We have not yet heard back from Uniqlo.
The vast majority of Uniqlo’s consumers probably won’t experience any confusion, plus heritage denim is already saturated with nearly every permutation of the words “Blue” and “Japan” (Japan Blue, Real Japan Blues, Blue Blue Japan, etc.), but more than a handful of fast-acting denimheads will be disappointed when their purchases arrive.
PBJ can’t do anything legally as they don’t own the international trademark for the name, they operate under Syoaiya Ltd. instead. Uniqlo can claim ignorance, yet someone at the company had to have known of PBJ’s existence. Simply Googling “Pure Blue Japan” brings up a host of information about the brand.
The products themselves appear to be made of better materials than Uniqlo’s mainline, but not up to the same standard as their discontinued Made in Japan jean from a couple years back. You can get a full look at Uniqlo’s website, or you can stay here and dream about the collab that could have been.