Kaihara Selvage honeycombs
Kaihara Selvage honeycombs

Kaihara Selvage – A Love Story

A love story

On a momentous spring day in the year 2000, Maria Erixon Levin, designer and founder of Nudie Jeans (who, at the time, was working for another noteworthy denim brand), had a serendipitous encounter with a fabric sample that would change the course of her career (and the entire world of denim) forever. While attending a fabric week in Brussels, she stumbled across a sample from Kaihara, located in Fukuyama, Japan. She adored it so much, it came home in her bag as a cherished souvenir. Even though the fabric was too expensive for her employer at the time, it sparked a curiosity in Maria's mind. The following year, Nudie Jeans was born. All these years later, it's easy to see why Maria made the "Dry Selvage" our selvage. But at the time, having the foresight to build an entire brand on a single fabric – that took guts. It's credit to Maria's phenomenal talent and great eye for denim that we can still be mesmerized by this iconic fabric today. It's our first love and we'll never let it go.

Even though the fabric was too expensive for her employer at the time, it sparked a curiosity in Maria's mind. The following year, Nudie Jeans was born."

Kaihara Selvage a love story. The orange thread

Our selvage denim is a time-honored craft, woven on vintage shuttle looms in Japan that date back at least 70 years. Perfected by artisans over decades, our selvage denim is the best the world has ever seen – it's even organic.

Kaihara Selvage a love story. The orange thread

Our selvage denim is a time-honored craft, woven on vintage shuttle looms in Japan that date back at least 70 years. Perfected by artisans over decades, our selvage denim is the best the world has ever seen – it's even organic.

This is Kaihara

Nudie Jeans' Kaihara selvage denim is crafted by one of the finest denim mills in the world, which has produced high-quality fabrics for over 70 years. The Kaihara Mill is located in Fukuyama City, in Hiroshima Prefecture, which has been a hub for kasuri production for centuries. With a history of indigo dyeing dating back to 1893, Kaihara are masters of their craft, with other denim mills seeking their unique expertise for their own indigo dyeing. It's this deep knowledge that gives "Dry Selvage" such an intriguing aging property.

As a result of its tight construction and generous use of starch, our "Dry Selvage" has an unmistakable 'crispiness'. Its rich indigo tone born from warp yarns being dyed with a bottom layer of black sulfur and multiple subsequent dips in indigo. In addition, the depth that the black sulfur adds remains at the unabraded areas, while the crispiness makes the denim form creases readily. Two traits that, with wear over time, render a wide span of indigo hues and contrasting wear marks.

The orange thread

The Orange 'selvage id' hasn't always been orange. Up until 2011, we used the red selvage id that Kaihara initially assigned to the fabric. With our commitment to use only organic cotton, we asked Kaihara to convert the fabric into organic. At the same time, we also asked if we could have our own selvage id color.

From 2011, all 'Dry Selvage' jeans came with the Nudie Jeans orange selvage id. And despite a name change (it was known as 'Dry Orange Selvage' for a while), the fabric has remained the same as it was in 2001 when Nudie Jeans was founded. So, with that little piece of Nudie Jeans history, you can roughly put a date to vintage Nudie Jeans – ain't that something?

The use of orange and white yarns at the selvage id is not just a nod to the iconic selvage of the past, it also serves a functional purpose. Because it's stable, an inherent trait of selvage denim, the edge doesn't need to be finished by an overlock stitch. A nifty function that also adds an eye-catching pop of color. And while the selvage might seem like a small detail, it means the world to us. It's the epitome of denim manufacturing and the result is the most beautiful and well-crafted denim there is. We are committed to maintaining this craft, so you can turn your jeans into tomorrow's vintage.

Selvage means the world to us. It's the epitome of denim manufacturing and the result is the most beautiful and well-crafted denim there is."