Despite the busyness at last week's men's tradeshows, I was able to visit with the denim technicians at BIG JOHN, who flew in from Japan to show at PROJECT NY. The brand has long been a pioneer of authentic denim craftsmanship yet is intently focused on forward-thinking innovation.
In 1940, BIG JOHN founder Kotaro Osaki set up shop, manufacturing workwear and U.S. military-inspired pants. Then called Maruo Clothing Company, the label was already in tune with trends, reacting to the popularity of American-style clothing in Japan.
After WWII, the company started selling imported American-made used clothing, remaking pieces to fit the Japanese market. Throughout the 60s, the label continued to improve upon the US-made fabrics it was importing. BIG JOHN became the first brand in the world to develop denim washes, calling them BIG-WASHING. This achievement was followed in 1973 with the company's first completely Japanese denim fabric.
In the 80s, BIG JOHN developed the world's first purposely uneven yarns and created its RARE JEANS selvedge denim using power looms. This method continues to inspire vintage and replica styles the world over.