3.11.11 - Four years on...

March 11, 2015

It is hard to believe that today marks the fourth year since The Great Earthquake and Tsunami of Tohoku. The day that rocked Northern Japan, also rocked our hearts and spirits. Being born and raised in Kobe, Japan, the damage and repercussions of that tumultous day left an imprint in me that I was unable to easily shake off. Without direct contact to the Tohoku region, I decided that I was going to try and make a difference the best way I knew how. This was our first step into the denim world as Okayama Denim.

We created a fundraising concept which launched in the early summer of 2011 - wearable art in the form of denim bracelets produced by a small family-owned mill in Kojima, Okayama. We sold the bracelets both locally and internationally, and we contributed to the relief effort by donating 100% of the proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross relief effort for the earthquake and tsunami. It helped that HYPEBEAST were there to support us and wrote and supported this concept project. Check out the Hypebeast article here.

Conceptually, the product was made to epitomize Japan in a playful way. We custom produced chopstick covers, each one numbered to signify how many people contributed to the cause. It helped create accountability and transparency in the project from the start. The bracelet itself, was meant to highlight the colors in the Japanese flag. The white and red contrast stitching, along with the red snap button at the top of the bracelet portrayed the aesthetic of Japanese flag.

Fast forward four years, and Japan has recovered tremendously, but the emotional scar will plague the people for a long time. While we should never forget the impact this disastrous event had on the country and economy, we should embrace the bright future Japan has laid out in front of it. Okayama Denim exists today because of the contacts and relationships we built with the fine brand owners and mills in Kojima, Okayama. We respect and appreciate each and every one of our customers that has helped us grow and become who we are today, a company that not only provides amazing Japanese products at competitive prices, but also one that collaborates with the different brands in Okayama to bring new and fresh products to market.

-Written by Okayama Denim Founder & Director, Mehervan Sethi

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