SugarCane Jeans are uniquely Japanese denim made from — you guessed it- sugar cane. For many years, SugarCane Jeans were a ferociously guarded Japanese secret but today the brand is attracting global attention. Interestingly, SugarCane prefer to use the vintage term ‘dungarees’ in preference to the term ‘jeans’ to describe their product: “The word ‘jeans’ has become the vernacular for faux denim fashion wear that masquerades as the tough, classic waist overalls history made famous.”
ORIGINAL SUGARCANE DENIM FABRIC
SugarCane Jeans are constructed of fibres derived from the plant that gave rise to the brand name SUGARCANE. Sugar is made from sugar cane, which seems simple enough, but not everyone knows that sugar cane and its byproducts contain essential amino acids and enzymes necessary to fuel and rejuvenate our bodies. Likewise, byproducts from sugar cane are used to fuel automobiles in Brazil in order to have a less harmful impact on the environment rather than found in burned fuels of a purely fossil origin. Following these facts in a rather philosophical approach, the textile specialists at SugarCane were the first in the world to produce a selvage denim fabric made from woven cotton yarns and sugar cane fibres.
WHAT MAKES OUR JAPANESE DENIM DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS?
SugarCane original vintage denim jeans were developed from the accumulated results of more than 20 years of research and experience of vintage jeans reproduction. The features of our jeans are that they do not resemble any other pair of manufacturer’s jeans. The jeans we make are based on ‘5 Pocket Denim pants with rivets’ that the great forerunners made but are not just a copy of their external appearance.
SugarCane Jeans are cut from original and truly outstanding Japanese selvage denim. Japanese selvage denim is arguably the finest in the world and is made on old style shuttle looms rather than modern projectile looms. In simple terms this means that the cross thread goes back and forth during the weaving process. Modern looms shoot each cross thread through individually, hence the edge of the cloth is frayed rather than clean. No shuttle looms have been made for over 40 years as they can only make cloth about 30 inches wide whereas projectile looms can make cloth 60 inches or even wider for much less money.
VINTAGE DENIM REPRODUCTION
We have thoroughly analyzed our forerunners jeans from the 1900’s in chronicle order from yarn, dye, weave and construction to components. We have with us the actual results of fabric woven and colour fade test on the original pants worn. In order to create our own original jeans, it took over 20 years of research. To perfectly reproduce denim fabrics from 50 to 100 years ago in today’s advanced period is extremely difficult. To begin with we had to look for old power looms that had worked to weave denim fabric in those days, restore them and adjust them to weave the fabric we have. It was not easy to revive the old machines that disappeared a long time ago due to rationalization. Nowadays, the old power looms are not so unusual but in the early research stage, satisfactory fabrics could not be woven on the old looms found. It was a joint operation with the weaver of trial and failure and advanced step by step.
Yarn is also a very important factor for vintage denim; the cotton is carefully selected, blended, spun and indigo dyed exclusively for each model. Through many processes we finally had success in developing perfect vintage denim of which the surface looks rough and uneven, and indigo warp yarn fades like original old vintage denim. We believe that authentic vintage jeans can only be revived by the same process as original jeans and so had to search for a sewing factory that still has old sewing machines and experienced sewers. Our denim fabrics, after inspection, are delivered to our sewing factory to be cut and sewn. Also the original rivets, buttons and patch are put on by the bands of well-skilled workers. Every pair of SugarCane jeans is completed this way.
Originally the Indigo that was used for so-called ‘Vintage Denim’ was not 100% pure indigo but synthetic. We wanted to use 100% pure indigo which we have developed to dye ‘SugarCane’ denim by traditional Japanese dyeing techniques by hand and not by machine. The first model ‘SugarCane Awa’ is made of sugar cane denim dyed by Awa indigo. Awa used to be one of the popular places producing indigo, located in the western part of Japan. The second model ‘SugarCane Okinawa’ is made of sugar cane fibre and indigo produced in the region of Okinawa, Japan. The third model ‘SugarCane Hawaii’ is made from sugar cane and indigo imported from Hawaii.
The newest, fourth model is ‘SugarCane Edo’. Edo is the name of an era in Japan from 1597 to 1868. The yarn for ‘SugarCane Edo’ denim is dyed by a method invented more than 200 years ago. This original ‘SugarCane’ denim series are the products made by a combination of know-how that we have learnt from long experiences of vintage reproduction and our Japanese tradition that we are still proud of.
If you are looking for a pair of truly vintage Japanese selvage jeans then these are the true originals amongst an illustrious list of “pretenders to the crown!”