The Japanese are a curious bunch: they adore simple things, yet they pay close attention to detail. Just take a look at the home products of Muji, the clothes of Yohji Yamamoto, and the paper architecture of Shigeru Ban. It’s this love for restraint and perfection that make Japanese-made products a favorite around the world. The same thing applies to denim.
Denimheads know that denim made from Japan are the world’s best. It’s a relatively new market, but when paired with Japan’s innate pursuit for perfection, premium construction, and artisanal craft, you know you’re going to get something good.
But what makes Japanese denim superior compared to others?
First, most Japanese denim are made using old shuttle looms, some dating back to the 1924 Toyoda Model G models. Compared to new looms that can create fabric with speed and precision, old shuttle looms have imperfections that denim fans love. The Japanese have also mastered the art of dyeing (dating back to kimono dyeing hundreds of years ago), which can create different colors.
Because of the rigorous process, Japanese denim has become an art form. And it’s an art form that’s discussed in Weaving Shibusa, a love letter to the craft. It is a documentary that explores Japanese craftsmanship and dedication, one that gives access to this sought-after garment. The cast is made up of world-renowned vintage denim experts; the highly regarded “Osaka 5,” responsible for the country’s denim revival; and innovators who helped establish Japanese denim as the world’s best.
The trailer offers a fascinating peek into a world that hasn’t changed since 1924. Spaces are filled with ancient-looking machines churning out fabric in the beautiful colors of dusk. Machines have not replaced humans, and they painstakingly handle each pair of jeans as if it were a newborn. One individual quips, “No matter what machine it is, it cannot make jeans by simply being turned on.” Another adds, “It is hard to determine if we are making art or clothes.”
Weaving Shibusa is a film that should be watched by those who value quality and who appreciate well-made items. It’s a look at how people devote their lives to pursuing a single thing and doing it well. It’s about passion, dedication, and obsession. Let’s not forget the star of the film: the jeans.
Watch the trailer below:
Weaving Shibusa will be screened on November 19, 8pm, at Cinema 3 Central Square Cinemas at Bonifacio High Street. Tickets are available at Signet for P250 or with every purchase of a pair of Japanese denim jeans (until ticket supplies last). Signet is located at Retail Unit GF3 Shangri-la at the Fort, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.