The Slub Masters most coveted line of Selvedge is making a comeback. Combining an irregular denim weave with a meticulous hank dyeing process (hop over to our boy Ali’s write-up for the full breakdown
) featuring Tokushima Natural Indigo, the result is some of the most beautiful and sought after Japanese denim on the planet.
Back in stock
Pure Blue Japan AI-019-WID 17.5oz. Double Natural Indigo Selvedge Jeans (Relax Tapered)
Pure Blue Japan AI-013-WID 17.5oz. Double Natural Indigo Selvedge Jeans (Slim Tapered)
Pure Blue Japan AI-019 17.5oz. "Rain" Natural Indigo (Relaxed Tapered)
Pure Blue Japan AI-003-WID 17.5oz. Double Natural Indigo Selvedge Jeans (Regular Straight)
Hank dyeing is a tedious process of hand dyeing the individual cotton threads in a rope-like fashion, a process also referred to as Kasezome in Japan. The entire process is conducted and regulated by the Tokushima Japanese Indigo Artisans who have been recognized as intangible cultural treasures by the nation. Natural Indigo dyeing practices date back nearly 800 years with each generation of shokunin (Japanese for Artisan) honing their craft over a lifetime training.
The Japanese Indigofera plant, or Persicaria tinctoria, from which the leaves are derived to create Natural Indigo, are grown in Tokushima. Each batch is tediously dried and processed for a year prior to becoming part of the Sukumo for the Natural Indigo dyeing process. Pictured above we not only see the dried indigo leaves and branches of the Indigofera plant, but also the root and soil of the plant.
All of these components are added to the indigo bath to create a thicker consistency in order to help the Natural Indigo Sukumo bind to the cotton yarns.
The different elements help create a balanced dye which must be mixed before and after each time the yarns are Hank dyed by the shokunin, in order for the indigo to effectively penetrate the yarn.
Here we see a sample of fabric which was briefly dipped and agitated in the indigo vat to demonstrate the process of oxidation once removed. As soon as the fabric is removed from the vat you can see the intense deep green color as a result of the oxidation. However after a rinse, you are able to see the beautiful lighter hue of indigo.
Pictured above, we see the different hues of indigo which are the result of the increasing number of dips in the dye to achieve the ascending darker colors.
For the Hank-dyeing process, the shokunin will slowly dip, twirl and finally ring out the yarn bunch. This process is repeated multiple times. Following this, the yarns enter the rinse process which is conducted on custom-made machines produced for the dyeing factory. The water itself is not discarded after use but filtered and recycled to be used again for the rinse process. The shokunin will then ring out the yarns after they have been rinsed in water.
The yarns featured above have all gone through approximately 12-16 rounds of dyeing and will now be re-spun onto wooden bobbins through the spinning process, in order to be weave-ready for the shuttle loom to produce the fabric.
Pictured above are the machines responsible for spinning the yarns.
Each yarn goes through a tedious process of being manually placed by hand onto a machine which will then feed the shuttle loom to weave the fabric.
The shuttle looms used to produce the fabric are each hand calibrated and maintained by the factory workers, with each machine capable of only producing a few meters of fabric each day.
The Hank dyed nature of this denim fabric results in an extremely unique hue of Indigo, placing this fabric in an entirely different league compared to your typical rope dyed jeans. One notable trait of Natural Indigo dyed denim is the extremely slow fading process which results in a much more balanced aesthetic of color over time.
While this denim is stunning when unwashed, the sheer barrage of texture is revealed once the jeans have gone through a soaking process.
Compared to a raw version of these jeans, the wash process can almost be said to "activate" the slub of the fabric and reveal a highly variegated amount of Indigo hues.
The first of three cuts featuring the Double Natural Indigo Denim, the AI-013-WID was the very first model of the lineup, which first hit the site about three years ago. When these initially released at the end of 2017, less than 50 pairs were produced. A testament to the extremely tedious process in order to produced this fabled fabric.
Fast-forward to 2020, which saw the fan-favorite Relaxed Tapered model joining the ranks. Compared to the Slim Tapered model, the -019 cut has a lengthier front rise, a wider thigh and aggressive taper from the knee down to yield a flattering silhouette.
This year, we are stoked to announce that the Double Natural Indigo Selvedge Jeans are also available in PBJ's classic (and one of our personal favorites!) Regular Straight cut.
Aptly named the "Rain" Denim, the undyed weft version of PBJ's "Aizome" series Selvedge features a lighter tone of Indigo when compared to the WIDs. The lighter hue accentuates the streakiness of the fabric in tandem with the undyed yarns in the weft.
Preceding the Double Natural Indigo version of the "Aizome" Jeans, the AI-019 has remained one of the most popular models in our lineup over the years.
PBJ's "Aizome" Selvedge Jeans restock on 7/4 @ Midnight (JST)