"Okayama denim". This term is often heard these days. As the denim made in Japan, it is known worldwide. It is produced in Kojima, Kurashiki City, Okayama, the holy land of denim. Sangou Kikuta had known that business was thriving there. However, I wonder if he knew that there was only one company in Kojima that had been manufacturing denim consistently.
Showa Corporation was that unique company. His encounter with SANGOU was via an instagram. How modern! It was marvelous to be connected to someone with whom one had no connections at all until then. The posting that was put up at SANGOU, happened to catch the attention of Mr. Hirai, the sales representative. He took the trouble of coming all the way to Tokyo to show him his fabric. More than anything, He admired his spirit of dedication. Needless to say, he was deeply touched.
However, at that time he did not have the faintest intention to take up denim at SANGOU. I felt that there was no point in doing so. With as much great denim already inundating the market throughout the world. The reason was that SANGOU had neither the design capability nor the technology to enable itself to make an entry into that market. Moreover, the jeans that Sangou Kikuta had in mind had already been realized and it had been doing well. Even when it was about putting "Okayama denim" to use, there were already all kinds of manufacturers doing that. He did not feel that he would be able to produce something that would be different from the others. These were the reasons why SANGOU did not take up denim.
However, what he had been thinking underwent a great change while talking with Mr. Hirai. First of all, his perception of "Okayama denim" as mentioned above, changed drastically. It was the realization that "Okayama denim" had been thriving and that there was only one company that had been manufacturing it in Kagoshima, its holy land. In other words, only one company had been producing genuine “Kojima denim”. He felt that most Japanese did not know that.
There was another reason why he was motivated to work with denim at SANGOU. It was the denim weaving machine at Showa. The latter had been using "GL-3", the old-fashioned power loom of Toyota Automatic Looms. In learning about this fact, he felt something that smacked of destiny before him. He recalled that the Ise cotten for the"crown garment" that had become SANGOU's representative product, had also been woven by Toyota Automatic Looms. He knew that Showa was the only company that he should have to make the jeans to match the "crown garment". By the time he finished talking with Mr. Hirai, this idea of his had already been formed.
Thereafter, having decided to take up denim, Sangou Kikuta flew to Okayama. At any rate, he believed in going to the site and to personally meet the people there. He was introduced to President Mr.Takasugi, the President and Mr. Katayama, the Vice Chairman. When he shared SANGOU's concept with them, they lend him their warm attention. Then Mr. Hirai gave him a guided tour of their factory. An elderly man who was standing there, spoke to him. Later on he learned that the man was the Chairman, much to his surprise. He felt what a fine friendly company Showa was on seeing the Chairman himself standing in the factory overseeing the work there. He felt the same way when he talked to the President. With the production center of textile industry being shifted rapidly to China and its neighboring countries, he was deeply moved on seeing their continued dedication to manufacturing, being convinced that there was no place else but Japan where it could be done, irrespective of its cost.
That was how SANGOU jeans began. However, fine jeans had already been inundating the market all over the world. There was no point in making an entry into that market. So he thought of making something that he personally wanted but was difficult to get-- black jeans that were loose. He had observed that for sometime then, skinny jeans that were stretchy, were in vogue and were sold in abundance. Moreover, jeans made with black denim were extremely limited. They were hardly seen. Of course, large manufacturers had been making them, but he felt that their choices were rather limited. That situation led him to decide on making black jeans on the loose side, jeans that had a delinquent look. What Sangou Kikuta had in mind were precisely such jeans. One can feel masculinity in these solid rigid jeans. The fabric to be used would be "Serubitchi Denim", woven with the above-mentioned GL-3 .
It is "Rigid denim" which has exclusively undergone "Sanfo Processing" that was most effective in shrinking the fabric. As it is in the raw state, except for shrinkage, this is also the "reared denim", in the same way as the "crown garment" has been "reared /cultivated". It is the genuine "Okayama Kojima's denim". Moreover, it is"Serbitchi denim" which was produced by the historic GL-3. The pocketsand the patches of the jeans made of this denim, used "Ise cotton". Like the "crown garment", it is fun to wear them while "rearing (cultivating) them". We want you to enjoy wearing our denim products for a long time.