Pure Blue Japan, or Syoiya as the brand is normally known outside of Japan, was created by Kenichi Iwaya in 1997 at the young age of 25. Based in Kurashiki, Okayama, Pure Blue Japan, or PBJ, specializes in super-slubby, low-tension materials similar in some regards to Oni’s fabrics. Some models of their jeans are dyed using natural indigo sourced from nearby Tokushima prefecture, or with ‘Kakishibu’, a beautiful dark orange dye made from persimmons. And much like many of the other Japanese denim houses, Iwaya-san says he is happy to stay small, seeming to know that any attempt at increased production would be impossible without compromising the level of quality he has taken such care to maintain.
Iwaya-san’s first love was indigo dying and this is evidenced by the indigo leaf sewn into the back pocket of his jeans, and also by the fact that he keeps his selvedges blue instead of the usual red in an homage to the color of Ai, or Japanese indigo. Not interested in following fashion trends or trying to replicate vintage jeans, PBJ looks to make something quintessentially Japanese, and they have succeeded. For something truly different, have a look at their Purple Face jeans which feature a deep indigo warp thread with a purple weft – the only jeans out there that are going to fade from purple to indigo. Iwaya-san has also promised himself he’ll come up with two new fabrics each season…just another reason to love PBJ.
For a great review of PBJ jeans, check out Nick at Stridewise.