Kokura Textile Inc., a pioneering manufacturer of Kokura-ori fabric in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, has developed the innovative “KOKURA DENIM” using advanced technology and taking advantage of the high density and other features of Kokura-ori fabric. KOKURA DENIM, which participated in the “JAPAN Brand Development Assistance Program” in 2021 and first made its debut in the U.S., will launch domestically as a factory brand of the company in September 2021.
Kokura-ori, which is durable and of high quality due to its high density, is said to be the origin of Japanese denim. Since the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868), it has been used in hakama trousers and obi sashes for samurai throughout Japan, and after the Meiji period (1868-1912), the gray Kokura-ori called “Shimofuri Kokura” became very popular, especially among students who followed a “bankara” style that relates to the spirit of a samurai and emphasized inner meaning and quality over outward appearance. Although the production of this fabric was once discontinued in the early Showa period (1926-1989), it was later restored and revived in 1984 as a hand woven style, and later revived as mechanically-woven “KOKURA SHIMA SHIMA.”
The most distinctive feature of “KOKURA DENIM” is the expressive gray color with white spots reminiscent of frost. This is created by using mokuito or mottled thread, made by twisting white and black threads together, creating various expressions which can be enjoyed differently depending on the viewing angle and amount of light. The use of cotton thread, which is finer than ordinary denim, makes the fabric dense and firm, breaking in and fitting to the body better with more usage, and becoming smoother and lustrous in texture as it ages. In a buyer questionnaire conducted during marketing research in the U.S., “KOKURA DENIM” was highly evaluated for its unique marbled pattern, which differs from blue jeans, as well as its strength and supple texture that is unique to Kokura-ori.
A new product, “Hakama Denim,” made from “KOKURA DENIM” fabric, will go on sale as a limited edition from September 16, 2021. The design was created by Kunihiko Morinaga of world-renowned fashion designer ANREALAGE. It is a piece that symbolizes “KOKURA DENIM,” which is about innovation in tradition.