Godzilla vs. King Kong (or Japanese Selvedge vs. American Selvage)

January 18, 2015 4 Comments

Hello Rivet Heads!

The debate over which is superior is one that will rage on as long as people continue to purchase & wear selvage. However this post is not so much about which is better but rather to clear up a few common misperceptions and myths about Japanese selvage and establish some facts about American selvage.

Let's start with the most common myth of them all, namely the "Japanese mills bought up all the American looms and that's why there aren't any looms left in America". This is simply not true. At all. I have traveled to Japan many times (8+ trips starting in 2002) and have visited all of the respected denim mills that produce selvage denim - Nihon Menpu, Kaihara, Kurabo, Nisshinbo et al and don't recall having ever seen a working American loom in any of the mills. Never. Not one. The Japanese never lacked for mechanical ingenuity and were/are very good at figuring out how to manufacture goods by building/engineering their own machinery including their own looms. In fact, what I did see were a whole lot of Toyoda looms. Named for founder Sakichi Toyoda who established Toyoda Loom Works in 1926. Toyoda eventually became Toyota, one of the largest manufacturing companies in the world. To think that the Japanese would import old, used American looms when they had their own is economically senseless and logistically unjustifiable.

So what did happen to all the old American Hopedale Draper looms? Well, they ended up in scrapyards, fields and sold off for parts. Yep, its quite sad.

Now to clear up another myth. 'Japan has a denim heritage as old as the US.'

Not quite. America was the only country to produce denim up until the 1970's. Shocker! Yep, no one was weaving denim outside of the United States before the early 70's including the Japanese.

Ah, but Kurabo and Nisshinbo are both over 100 years old you say, so what about that!? Correct, but they didn't start weaving denim until the 70's with Kurabo being the first. So where did the early Japanese brands (such as Big John) get their denim before the 70's? Umm, Cone Mills actually. This is not to take anything away from Japanese selvedge at all - it most certainly is fine cloth.       

However, before anyone did anything Cone Mills did it all. Cone invented most of the attributes that make selvage denim so desirable to collectors and denim heads today from patented processes such as continuous warp dyeing (a technique still used today by the majority of denim mills) to the colored iD thread in the self edge of the denim. Couple that with the low technology of the old Draper looms and you get pure, unadulterated American selvage. Cone also developed the denim which brought Levi’s ® jeans their greatest fame and most iconic moments during the decades of the 1920's thru the 1980's.  When you invest in a pair of Brave Star Selvage you are purchasing denim woven in the same factory using more or less identical methods that have been in use for over a hundred years. Nothing beats authenticity - not technology, not reputation, not PR. Cone Mills was and always will be the real thing. So is it even a valid question then - which selvage is superior? Perhaps it's better to use that old maxim to answer this hotly debated topic -'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.'

Stay Raw, Mik





4 Responses

gregory tucker
gregory tucker

March 08, 2016

This the first time I’m buying your brave star jeans I’ve been looking for a nice pair of hard like jeans that are sturdy and tuff but look good and comfortable to wear

Roy Buckley
Roy Buckley

December 18, 2015

Hi Mik , Great Article ?! Iam very pleased to say my 16.5 True Straights arrived today in Padfield Derbyshire UK. and these really are the Dog’s Bollocks ( Testicles ) I have not had a pair this good since the 60s . As you’d ran out of 38s I ordered 36s with the intention of slimming down which I needed to do anyway for health reasons and it’s worked !! Ican just fasten them , a bit tight ,but they are on . So Iam wrapping them up again til xmas day when I know they will fit like a Glove . Even with UK tax and re-postage charge of approx $30 making them around £92 they are a True Bargain and I can’t see any other makes at double or treble the price matching the quality .Many thanks for making a getting old man Healthier and Happier . Merry Xmas to you your family friends and most of all your workers . Roy. p.s Iost 6 kilos since ordering approx 15 lb since !!! . Have a GREAT new year too .

DesignerDon
DesignerDon

February 22, 2015

This was enlightening. North Carolina sourced it from the beginning. Wow.

Joh
Joh

January 21, 2015

I have been looking for a decent affordably priced pair of jeans for the last 2 YEARS! Today i got my slim straiigt 14 oz in the mail. i tried them on and almost started to cry. These jeans are absolutely what i have been looking for. Fit, color, craftsmanship all superior to anything else I have seen on the market.

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SIZING CHART

  

The comparison to LEVI'S fit styles is merely a reference point for those unfamiliar with how our jeans fit since there is no industry sizing standard. Most people have at some point in their lives owned a pair of LEVI'S and is the greatest common fit denominator when trying to gauge jean sizing. Our pattern blocks are unique to Brave Star and have been developed and fine tuned over the years with our head pattern maker and could feel completely different on your body in comparison to a pair of LEVI'S due to fabric weight & composition. One other factor to keep in mind is that the single pair of LEVI'S that we purchased here in Los Angeles to measure and feature on our size chart is not necessarily indicative of how that same style of LEVI'S fits on you when you purchased it since we have found quite a large variance in their sizing depending on where the jean was manufactured, the weight of the fabric and the wash applied to the jean.                                        

Fit Model is wearing size 31 in all fits.

Please allow for a +/- 1/4" tolerance in the waistband vs listed spec.

SIZE 28 29 30      

BRAVE

STAR

31

LEVI'S

510

31

32 33 34 35 36
WAIST 14 3/4  15 1/4 15 3/4  16 3/4 16 17 1/4  17 3/4 18 1/4 18 3/4  19 1/4
F.RISE 9 1/2 9 3/4 10 10  11.5

 

10 1/4   

10 1/2 10 3/4 11  11 1/2
B.RISE 12 1/2 13 13 1/2 14 1/2 15 14 3/4 15 15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4
THIGH 10 1/4 10 5/8 11  11 3/8 11 1/4 11 5/8 11 3/4 12 1/8 12 1/2 12 3/4
KNEE 6 1/2 6 3/4  7 5/8 7 1/2 7 3/4  8 1/4 8 1/2 8 3/4

OPENING

5 7/8  6 1/8 6 3/8 6 1/2 6 5/8 6 3/4 7 1/4 7 1/2 7 3/4

INSEAM

34 34 34 34 32 34 34 34 34 34

 

 

                             

SIZE 28 29 30

BRAVE

STAR

31

LEVI'S

511

31

32 33 34 35 36 38 40
WAIST 15 1/4 153/4 161/4  163/4 16 5/8 171/4 173/4 181/4 183/4 191/4 201/4 211/4
F.RISE

9

9.5 10 101/2 10 1/4 11 111/2 12 12 121/2 13 1/2 141/2
B.RISE 12 1/2 13 13 1/2 14 13 5/8 141/2 15 151/2 16 161/2 17 1/2 19 
THIGH 10 5/8 103/4  11 3/8 11 3/4 11 5/8 121/8 125/8 123/4 131/8 131/2 14 1/4 143/4
KNEE 7 7 1/4 7 1/2 7 3/4 7 3/4 8 8 1/4 8 1/2 8 3/4 9 9 3/4 101/4
OPENING 6 1/2 6 3/4 7 7 1/4 7 1/4 7 1/2 7 3/4 8 8 1/4 8 1/4 8 1/2 8 1/2
INSEAM 34 34 34 35 32 35 35 36 36 36 36 36

 

 

SIZE 28 29 30

BRAVE

STAR

31

LEVI'S

505

31

32 33 34 35 36 38
WAIST 151/4 153/4 161/4 163/4 161/2

 

171/4      

173/4 181/4 183/4 191/4 201/4
F.RISE 10 101/4 101/2 103/4 12 103/4 11 111/4 111/2 113/4 121/4
B. RISE 123/4 131/4 13.75 141/4 143/4 141/2 143/4 15 151/4 151/2 16
THIGH 105/8 11 113/8 11 3/4 12 12 121/4  121/2 123/4 13 131/4
KNEE 7 1/4 7 1/2 7 3/4 8 8 1/4 8 1/2 85/8 8 3/4 9 5/8
OPENING 6 1/4 6 1/2 6 5/8 7 67/8  7 1/8 7 3/8 75/8 77/8  81/4
INSEAM 35 35 35 35 32 35 35 35 35 35 35

 

 

SIZE 29 30

Brave

Star

31

LEVI'S

504

31

32 33 34 35 36 38 40 42
WAIST 16
16 1/2 16 3/4 17 17 1/4 17 3/4 18 1/4 18 3/4 19 1/4 20 1/4 21 1/4 22 1/4
F.RISE 10 1/2 10 3/4 11 10 3/4 11 1/4 11 1/2 11 3/4 12 12 1/4 12 3/4 13 1/4 13 3/4
B.RISE 14 14 1/2 15 14.5 15 1/4 15 1/2 15 3/4 16  16 1/4 16 3/4 17 1/4 17 3/4
THIGH 11 1/4 11 5/8 12 12 12 3/8 12 3/4 13 1/8 13 1/2 13 7/8 14 5/8 14 7/8 15 5/8
KNEE 8 1/4 8 1/2 8 3/4 8 3/4 9 9 1/4 9 1/2 9 3/4 10 10 1/2 10 3/4 11
OPENING 7 3/4 7 7/8 8  8 8 1/8 8 1/4 8 1/2 8 5/8 8 3/4 9 1/4 9 1/2
INSEAM 35 1/2 35 1/2 35 1/2 32 35 1/2 35 1/2 36 36 36 36 36 36