ONI has always been the king of textured fabric: Slubby, neppy, fuzzy denim have always been their calling card.
In recent years, ONI has continuously pushed the envelope of what is possible. The secret denim has become a staple item for the textured loving denimhead, and he took things further by introducing interesting dyeing techniques like the AIZUMI, black secret denim, AIZUMI x black secret denim, the NI XX series, the ultimate lightweight KIRAKU and many more. Quite recently, ONI also dug out some amazing deadstock fabrics for shirts and jackets, and developed some really insane non-denim fabrics like a covert twill or a British nep selvedge.
As becomes evident with these few examples, ONI is in full swing but they kept their best fabric for last.
To explain why this one is so special, we need to elaborate a little bit. If you are into Japanese denim, you have probably heard of aizome fabrics and kase dyeing. For these fabrics, the yarn are hand dyed in natural indigo. Since every yarn is made by hand, these fabrics boast with excessive character and a unique blue tone. Since this is done by hand, the dye usually penetrates the core of the yarn, dyeing it all blue and making this one of the most expensive fabrics in the denim world. It is an incredibly rare fabric to begin with, since very few people know how to do it and those who do will not be rushed to compromise on their craft. Thus, it comes at a hefty price and not everyone is able to pay it.
ONI has experimented with KASE dyes in the past but they could not solve the pricing issue. Since the end of the 90s, the master behind the brand thought of a way to make a KASE fabric that would be affordable but still look breathtaking.
After countless failed attempts, we present you his absolute masterpiece: the ONI KASE denim.
You can immediately see that this fabric has texture, insane texture even for ONI’s standards. To achieve this, they use two different slub yearns (number 5 and 6) for the weft and another slub yarn (only number 6) for the weft. The difference between warp and weft makes this fabric looks even heavier than it actually is.
For 16oz, this fabric looks easily like 20+.
The mill that ONI worked with to make this happen, spent countless hours to find the right sizing of the threads and the splitting of yarns. Japanese denim is always a labour of love, but this borders on OCD.
But it’s not just the thickness and variety of the yarn that is worthy of your attention: the dyeing technique is unprecedented and it was ONI’s dream to make something like that, preserving the amazing look of AI but pushing down the cost of fabric to an affordable level. Instead of hand-dyeing processes, the cotton is rope dyed. To achieve this rich variety of blue shades, the master has developed interesting indigo concentrations which will be forever his secret. But looking at that denim, we couldn’t care less about the numbers, it’s a marvellous achievement.
ONI told us that no one but the craftsmen in this mill could make a fabric like this. The man who runs the shuttle loom was speechless when it first meters of fabric came out from the machine.
In an email that the master of ONI sent to us he said, this fabric is his “meido-no-miyage” which means, “a gift he brings to heaven. This fabric is so good, he feels he is ready to go to heaven after achieving this.
We gladly present you the cuts in ONI KASE
As always with ONI, quantities are very limited. We tried to get as much as we can but the truth is that demand has been growing heavily over the last couple of years. Get yourself a pair of KASE, who knows if the master makes another batch before he goes to heaven.