I love all the cloak and dagger bullshit that goes on in this thread.
Seriously every developer has "exclusively" made "1940s" Cone denim. Roy, Rising Sun, RRL, LVC, etc. Those are nothing but industry buzz words. America is incapable of producing a top tier denim like the Japanese. It's like comparing a ZR1 to an LFA.
This was a switch to save money. Any denim that was "specifically designed" the Japanese mills could have designed even better versions of the same denim, hands down. Any speculation that RRL broader goals are to be "Made in America" will also never happen given that the brand is becoming mass produced, unless labor here somehow becomes cheaper than in China, India, or Turkey.
They can't even get half the descriptions right on their website. It makes me wonder if the "team" even cares about RRL at all. Cone is good denim (More specifically White Oak.. because Cone has mills in Mexico and China that make cheap mass produced denim..) but Japanese denim is light years better. Lets just all agree to disagree.
I agree with you on a number of points. I've always rated Japanese denim extremely highly and I always felt the LVC White Oak denim was pretty poor. But you talk to the LVC guys and they'll disagree. What annoys me most of all is the fanboys that instantly see Japanese Fabric and automatically believe its superior to anything other countries make without fully understanding the total picture.
And I'm sure price as you say was a big plus as well in the switch.
I have to say i like the Cone fabric RRL are using for the rigids. It will be interesting to see how they fade. But then both rigid fabrics from Japan that RRL have used in the past couple of years have faded completely differently and I prefer one over the other.