This is one reason why I prefer Japanese-made jeans to jeans made in, oh I don't know - let's just say Macau:
"Take the legendary Kato Jeans designed by Hiroshi Kato, who draws all his ideas in a sketchbook and takes them to a tiny downtown factory. He then sits down with the supervisor to give minute instructions on exactly what he is aiming for... A pair of Kato Jeans is hand-crafted and marvelously detailed - even the thread on the pockets is dyed to his specifications.
Mizra, also manufactured in Kyoto, combines craftsmanship, eco-friendliness and retro-Japanese motifs. The brand's designer, Yoshiyuki Iwagishi, says that the process of creation is more important than anything else and that 'torturing and killing' himself over a silhouette or a particular fit is second nature.
Mizra jeans are distinguished by a slim, elegant leg line; the antique kimono fragments used on the pockets and hems; and Iwagishi's use of traditional Japanese dyes, made from soy beans and wood charcoal, for example. No two Mizra jeans are the same because every pair is finished by hand.
After Kyoto, hard-core denim fans head west to Okayama Prefecture, the official pilgrimage site for artisanal jeans lovers.
Long known for its dye and indigo industry, Okayama is home to more than 100 family-owned factories that serve Japan's designers and such European brands like Dior Homme and Dolce and Gabbana.
Most Japanese jeans designers swear by Okayama indigo: a deep, ocean-blue shade. Most of the work in these factories is still done by hand and follow methods that are centuries-old.
Kapital started out in Okayama in 1995 and is now said to have the truest, deepest shade of blue, with understated designs that fashion critics say show a reverence for denim.
These days, Japanese denim faithful will own one pair of a mainstream jeans company, one pair of a foreign brand and one pair stitched to perfection by a relatively unknown artisan/designer.
At a shop called Garage, meanwhile, things have evolved beyond the simple act of selling and buying. Garage is owned by a young couple who open the shop - which combines the store, the manufacturing room and the living quarters - only for several days a month. They did not want their names to be used, saying they prefer to remain inconspicuous and have the focus be the product.
Their jeans, called 'Cracker,' are displayed on the ground floor. People can come in and try them on but no one buys a thing until the wearer and the designer look long and hard at the mirror to decide whether a particular pair fits like a charm.
If anything is amiss, in the designer's eyes, the potential buyer is politely discouraged: Sorry, no deal. One customer described the experience: "It's like unrequited love. I'm heartbroken."http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/...rts/Rjeans.php