The company Samurai Jeans from Osaka was founded in 1997 and will celebrate its 20-year anniversary soon. For people who are tightly interested in Japanese denim, Samurai is definitely a denim icon and a cult object.
As representatives of Samurai Jeans say: “We try to make jeans that would be like a samurai blade, strong and reliable.” Not without a reason, a silver thread is woven in the selvedge. It symbolizes the sharpness and reliability of katana. On the patch of classic Samurai Jeans models are printed the famous Japanese fencers Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kodziro.
Unlike all the famous “five from Osaka” (Studio D’artisan, Denime, Evisu, Warehouse, Full Count), who focused primarily on the reproduction of old samples of American classic jeans, Samurai are the next generation of Japanese jeans production. The key thing for them is not only the proximity to the authentic American classics but the development of these traditions and their own unique identity.
At Samurai, this detail is expressed in absolutely everything. We can see jeans with a silhouette and some details reminiscent of Levi’s 40s or early Lee jeans, but with a fundamentally different denim, heavy and harsh, (not unlike the character of a medieval Japanese warrior). We see bolts and rivets, whose form is clearly recognizable in the old American classics, and such details can be complemented with symbols from Japanese drums, Sakura images and other purely local elements which have roots in Japanese culture. This very successful combination of borrowed tradition and completely original Japanese look, added on with diligence and quality, makes Samurai a real choice of perfectionist and denim-aesthetics.
It is possible to look for a long time on its denim with characteristic “knots” and humps, to notice a lot of interesting details, some of which will not be known immediately. For example, the arches stitched in Indigo in the model 710 will be noticeable only after a while, and a special lining on the pockets of Jeans series Jin, will make the embroidery visually volumetric not immediately. We all know that Japan does not produce a lot of cotton, but Samurai Jeans use exactly their own cotton in some of its limited editions, grown directly in Japan in very small batches, without the use of chemistry.
Like many other Japanese brands, Samurai Jeans attach great importance to the material itself, carefully selecting raw materials.
For their classic heavy models, Samurai Jeans prefers to use cotton with a short fiber (often a mixture of Texas and Australian varieties). These raw materials turn out to be heterogeneous on all length and rigidly twisted thread. This denim has a very expressive texture and a very fast fading.
At the same time, Samurai Jeans also plays the field in long-fiber varieties. For example, the Yamato series is a selection of Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton which give the smooth denim an almost deprived slubby-texture.
When you receive the long-awaited package with the first pair of jeans from Samurai and with a thrill of getting a new, still-smelling-of-paint pair, you may wonder the hardness of this denim. The break-in for these jeans goes very fast and they become comfortable in a few days. Very quickly, the denim will become more and more comfortable and there will not be left a trace of its former hardness.
Below we will try to take a look at some popular models and series.
This series contains the most popular models of Samurai Jeans, made from different denim. This is exactly what the manufacturer considers as classics. These models have the marking of XX. Here we use two kinds of denim: Kiwami and Otokogi
This kind of denim is one of the most famous of Samurai Jeans. Having a density of 19oz, the raw material here is a mix of short-fibred varieties of cotton from Texas and Australia. The thread is rigidly twisted, thus, at coloring, the indigo dye does not penetrate very deeply and such denim gets very fast fading. The texture of this denim has moderate heterogeneity (slubby), which becomes more pronounced as the jeans acquire contrasting abrasions. The silver thread is woven in the edge.
This is a denim with an average weight of 15oz. Threads for this kind of denim are also spun from varieties of cotton with short fiber. As a rule, Otokogi also acquires rather fast fading. The texture has very noticeable longitudinal strips, which acquire over time a very beautiful contrast fading. It is worth to say that this kind of denim keeps the shape and has a very little stretching. The silver thread is woven the edge.
The silhouette of the 710 model is considered to be the flagship, the most famous and popular of Samurai Jeans outside of Japan. For 20 years this model remains almost a hallmark of the brand.
The cut is quite modern and has no direct references to old American jeans. Here there is a medium-high rise and slightly tapered shape of legs. Some prefer to wear these jeans due to a more spacious fit, choosing the size of the looser, but some prefer a tighter slim fit. 710-E are good in absolutely any case:)
Model sewn of Kiwami denim of 19oz (if you want to determine the type of denim in Samurai Jeans look carefully at the burlap pocket, there is always a symbol on the classic models). There is an arch on the pocket, pointed in a color of raw denim. It will be noticeable when the jeans already get fading. There is a red tab with the title in capital letters SAMURAI, which is a reference to the times of Levi’s with big E.
On a leather, there is a patch which depicts the famous fencers Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojirō during their duel (the first, as it is known, won a landslide victory). The silver thread is woven around the edge, symbolizing strength and sharpness of the Samurai blade.
510-This is the first model of Samurai Jeans, first released in 1997 (however, then denim density was 15oz). Its style is more inspired by denim classics of the past years (Samurai do not always give direct indications for the year or another “source of inspiration” but probably this fit inspired by jeans 50-s). A fairly high rise is combined with a straight leg, relatively spacious, but not extremely wide.
Here they used denim Kiwami, which is characterized by fast fading and texture with vertical stripes “raindrops”. There are versions in 19OZ and 21 oz. There is a full suite of classic parts. Unlike the 710-th model, the arch has bright thread lemon color.
The model was first introduced in 2006 and gained popularity after the contest on a cult foreign Forum Superfuture. Supertalk. Fit of this model represents a direct regular with regular rise. Its a classic straight silhouette, in the spirit of modern 501 and availability of all recognizable parts of the Samurai Jeans, including a leather patch, embroidered back pockets and arches on the red tab.
A relatively new model of Samurai Jeans, also made of Otokogi denim. It was conceived by the manufacturer as a tribute to modern fashion. Here is used a slim style with the tapered form of the legs. At the same time, it is worth saying that you are unlikely to see the aggressive tapering as it is it is fairly balanced. Recently the model has become more and more popular. On the basis of this style was released one of the models Samurai to the 20-year anniversary of the brand.
Zero is popular series as well. Completely made of one type of denim of different density,
this series contains jeans sewn from Zero Denim 17/21oz. Such models have VX marking.
In its most classic and widespread form, this denim has a density of 17oz and a few 21oz versions of this denim are produced. Here we also see a mix of short-fibered varieties of cotton from Texas and Australia. In contrast to the above options, Zero Denim is characterized by a slight heterogeneity and a more pronounced slubby texture than the previous variants. Zero also gets a very fast fading.
Jeans has a straight modern style with a low rise. It is necessary to note that Japanese manufacturers often mark these as slim-fit jeans which are not wide, but straight. The style is close to a modern regular fit. Therefore, when choosing a model, it is worth to pay more attention to the actual measurement of jeans.
It uses Zero denim in a density of 17 and 21 ounces per square yard. There are all the classical details (contrast stitching red and lemon threads, leather patch of goat leather, red tab with the inscription in large letters SAMURAI, hidden rivets, bolts with brand symbol, etc.)
Slightly less common 5000-I model made of black Zero Denim. The filling thread here is left unpainted, only thread basis is painted in black with the addition of sulfides.
Fading Black denim gives a grayish tint, making it into a special spiderweb pattern. If you are fond of denim, keep at least one pair of black jeans in the wardrobe- they’re a real investment.
Modern straight model in the slim fit. This time it is really moderate slim with direct leg and low rise. Available in versions with a density of 19 and 21oz (the second variant is much less common).
The exact opposite of the previous model. These wide straight jeans with the high rise. Silhouette is based on Levi’s mid-40 ‘s when jeans were common American working clothes. There are some details, clearly indicating the source of inspiration. The arch of the back pockets here not embroidered, but are painted. It was historically done during the second world war in order to save funds. This paint can and should gradually wear away, so no need to try to save it somehow. Also on the pocket, there are missing rivets, is also a reference to those times, as a form of bolts made in the form of a “doughnut”. At the same time, it is completely original jeans (as mentioned above). Here we use the beautiful bright red burlap pockets, the symbolism of cherry blossom on bolts and recognizable interlocking silver and Red threads on edge.
Just as the Zero and XX series were inspired by the details of Levi’s jeans, Jin’s Samurai Jeans series is inspired by Lee’s style. And in exactly the same way, including in their jeans elements of American classics, it retains full identity. This applies to both denim and jeans.
This series is characterized by denim with a density of 17oz with left-hand twill (LHT), which is quite rare and is a direct reference to Lee. One of the variants of this denim has a smooth soft texture without a pronounced slubby with a thread of the basis painted in a light shade of indigo and gray weft thread.
Another option is the opposite, visibly slubby, with thick rich dark Indigo color. In the first case, the edge is the blue thread, the second blue, and silver.
Straight jeans regular fit with low rise similar to 5000-th models described above. With enough soft and smooth bright Indigo denim, such material also will acquire fading, but it will happen with somewhat lower contrast than the classic thick and rich Indigo. There are rear rounded pockets in the spirit of Lee with lining at the bottom. When jeans are already thoroughly faded this lining will look effectively on the Pocket. Pockets are reinforced rivets from threads, instead of hidden belts. There is a rivet in the groin, the patch is made of a relatively thin leather and constructively allows you to pass the waist belt.
These same jeans made of more dark denim with a more heterogeneous and some deliberately rough texture.
Jeans of this series, despite some references to Lee (for example, rounded pockets and stylized arch in the form of ~) the manufacturer is as far as possible from the American classics and maximum saturated with details characteristic for Japan. If the “heavy” classics of type XX or VX are characterized by some severe “monumental brutality”, the emphasis on the elegance of jeans in this series is rather emphasized. The series are very generously saturated with interesting details.
This is a denim with an average density 15oz. Here Samurai Jeans uses a mix of cotton Pima and Egyptian cotton (40% Pima/60% Egyptian). The texture of this denim is relatively smooth and soft with small vertical “stripes” and practically without slubby texture. It is difficult to confuse this denim with heavy denim from short-fiber cotton.
There is visible light weft thread. Fading of such denim is not very fast comparing to Kiwami or Zero, but it is very beautiful and differs by a gradual transition from darker to lighter shades of indigo until you see an unpainted middle of the thread. The basics (usually cotton threads with long fiber colored deeper). At the same time, it worth to note, that jeans from this denim keeps a shape and do not “suffer” from superfluous stretching. The silver thread is woven around the edge.
One of the hits of the brand. Jeans with a low rise, very tight fit in the hips and a straight cut legs without tapering. Today it is the narrowest model of Samurai Jeans. The patch for jeans of this series is made of leather of wagyu cows, it has a light shade at first and gradually darkens. The print on the patch also gets a darker hue. Yamato Jeans have silver fittings (rivets and bolts) with the symbolism of sakura flowers. Coquette is sewn with a triple seam and silver threads, blue and red colors. After the appearance of fade seams will look very impressive. The pockets have a rounded shape and an embroidered arch slightly reminiscent of Lee. Inside, the back pockets are sewn with a soft lining.
Jeans with the same details as the 003, but with a wider fit (like the 5000 model). Details and accessories are similar to the previous model.
Women’s models are traditionally produced in the Geisha series.
Has a density of 16 oz. These use different varieties of raw cotton short fiber, and the yarn is tightly twisted. This denim is characterized by fast fading and sensation. The texture of this denim is not such a slubby, as, for example, a Zero, however, this kind of denim, too, has a characteristic “nodules”, which will be visible when jeans thoroughly faded. The color of this denim has a very dark shade of indigo, weft unpainted thread slightly looms. For this reason, this denim seems even darker. A pink thread is woven at the edge.
Straight slim-fit with a middle rise. On the leather patch, there is a print of a geisha with a fan and Sakura. Burlap pockets are made of checkered flannel.
Samurai Jeans is one of the most noticeable, bright and charismatic phenomena in the world of Japanese denim. It is also difficult to find another Japanese denim brand that have so many limited and anniversary editions. If you want to get the best feeling from your new pair of jeans (which can be very different from the variety of models of this manufacturer), a fast beautiful fading and a lot of interesting details, then you definitely need to buy your first pair of Samurai denim. And after wearing it for a while, you will understand and get on your own experience why jeans of this brand are so beloved all over the world!