130002-367ProductRegular Raw Selvedge Jeans
Kuroki is a manufacturer of selvedge denim with a long tradition in the textile industry. The company is located in Okayama of western Japan – the birthplace and ‘capital’ of Japanese denim – and has been specialised in the production of high-quality denim twills since 1970, using traditional indigo dyes to achieve unmistakable blue shades.
Kuroki’s qualities range from soft and lightweight 5 oz. to super-heavyweight 28 oz. denims, all woven on vintage Toyota shuttle looms manufactured before 1960. Shuttle looms allow for weaving with low tension and produce fabric rolls with a self-bound edge, selvedge, either in solid colours or jacquard patterns.
Praised for its depth, the authentic look of Kuroki’s 100 per-cent cotton denim is achieved through a traditional rope-dying process that has been used for indigo dyes for centuries. Because the yarns are dyed bundled together, the core of each yarn stays white and the shade varies slightly between the inside and outside yarns. This intentional unevenness is transferred into the fabric, giving it an organic and handmade expression.
The Kuroki mill currently employs 63 skilled professionals, who combine time-honoured methods with industry innovations to produce quality fabrics with a long lifespan.
Technique Selvedge denim
Selvedge, or self-edge, is the clean and self-binding end of a roll of denim fabric produced on a shuttle loom. On shuttle looms, a shuttle device carries one single, continuous thread of the horizontal weft yarn back and forth between both sides of the loom; this seals the edges and ensures that the fabric will not fray. A fabric roll produced on a shuttle loom is traditionally 36 inches wide, or one yard (91.5 centimetres), and when cutting the pattern for a pair of jeans, the two ‘self-edges’ are used as natural outseams.
Shuttle looms were the standard until mass-production of denim began in the 1950s, when the more efficient projectile loom replaced many of the traditional machines. A shuttle loom can produce about 150 rows of weft yarn per minute, whereas the projectile loom averages over 1,000, and on fabrics that are twice as wide. Since the weft yarn does not loop back around the edges on the projectile loom, it has to be cut at both ends, and when sewing a pair of jeans the frayed edges need to be finished with overlock stitching. The tightly woven selvedge bands prevent fraying and ravelling, but also denote a slower and more traditional craft process.
The coloured line that often runs through the selvedge was originally used as an identifier for different textile mills, to indicate where fabric had been produced, but is today mostly a decorative feature.
history Coin pocket
Jeans are commonly referred to as ‘five pockets’, but when the first pairs were made to outfit miners in 1870s California, there were only three pockets – one in the back, placed to the right, and two in the front.
Soon, a smaller extra pouch, about 9 centimetres wide, was added inside the right front pocket. It was originally included to protect pocket watches, thus called a ‘watch pocket’, but was in reality used for any small belongings like tickets, matches or coins.
From the first years of the 20th century, blue jeans were designed with two back pockets and the extra pocket was gradually downsized to about 7.5 centimetres. Smaller and less commonly used for carrying watches, it has since then become known as a coin pocket.
Founded in 1992, Pimkie is an apparel manufacturer and exporter based in Bangladesh, whose factory has been ranked one of the most modern in the country. Its 1,500 employees work in platinum- and gold-level, LEED-certified factories (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) to produce woven tops and bottoms – particularly denim. In fact, its skilled workforce produces 2.8 million denim pieces each month. They are putting their denim expertise to work for ARKET, producing jeans with a more sustainable wash.
PRE-WASHED DENIM – Wash jeans inside out, either by hand or in the washing machine in cold water and on a gentle cycle. Take them out of the machine as soon as possible after the programme has ended to avoid creasing. Hang to dry.
RAW DENIM – One of the distinctions of raw denim is the high-contrast wear patterns that appear around zones like your knees, lap and pockets. They make raw denim very personal and are unique to your body. If you want these patterns to develop you will need to wear your jeans for a period before their first wash and wash them infrequently after that. If you prefer less contrast and an even fade throughout the fabric, wash your jeans more often.
Turn the jeans inside out and hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent to retain as much indigo as possible. You can also wash the jeans in a machine on a gentle cycle but be sure to wash them alone or with similar colours, as the indigo dye will bleed. Do not tumble dry. Hang to dry – and put an old towel under the jeans to catch any dye that drips.
Be careful when wearing new raw denim as the dye may transfer to light-coloured surfaces, such as shirts, underwear, canvas trainers and furniture.