Studio D’Artisan

Founded in 1979 by Shigeharu Tagaki, Studio D’Artisan was the original member of the Osaka 5 and played a huge role in the development of Japanese denim as a whole. Tagaki-san had lived and worked in France for years and came back to Japan wanting to combine the best parts of European fashion with the high level of skill he knew that Japanese artisans were capable of. SDA were the first in many things, not the least of which was charging hundreds of dollars (or tens of thousands of yen as the case was) for a pair jeans back in the 80s, something unheard of at the time. Scoffed at initially, the market eventually decided the Tagaki’s jeans were worth it as the vintage boom hit Japan. This blew ceiling off what had been considered up until then to the the upper limit of jean prices and paved the way for other Japanese denim makers interested in using older, time-consuming productions techniques to become viable and charge the prices needed to survive while using outmoded and time-consuming production techniques.

Tagaki-san has long since left the company, but Studio D’Artisan is still going strong, designing their wares in Osaka and putting them together in, you guessed it, Okayama. The current president of the company, Fujikawa-san, believes that when they hand their jeans over to the customer, that’s only the beginning of the story – the jeans are only half done. Completion, as he defines it, can only occur once the jeans have been worn and lived in, and have become an item unique to their particular owner.

SDA is also known for their adventurous collaborations and wild anniversary releases. Manager Yuji Tamanaha is always on the lookout for new ideas and new directions, and this willingness to take risks has gained SDA a loyal following both in Japan and overseas.