Kiriko Made’s Jeans Take Japanese Fabric Tradition to New Levels

Every new jean company seems to have a gimmick: jeans for hockey players, jeans for cyclists, selvedge everywhere. More often than not, these gimmicks fall flat and are revealed for what they really are – poor attempts to improve upon the classic five pocket jean to gain marketing traction and buzz. This makes what Kiriko, out of Portland, has accomplished all the more appealing. Kiriko has found is a way to put their own spin on a classic which, paradoxically enough, is subtle and attention grabbing. More importantly, it doesn’t take away from what should always be the stars of the show when it comes to jeans; the denim and the craftsmanship and care in making them.

Kiriko first popped up on our radar back in March 2015, when we featured a shout-out about their first jeans collection.

The brand was launched in 2012 by partners Dawn Yanagihara and Katsu Tanaka. Yanagihara has since moved on, but Tanaka has cultivated a small team of designers from Portland and Japan who obsess over Japanese fabric tradition and bring textiles originally reserved for kimono’s and blankets into other garments, denim included.Kiriko’s denim and apparel are made in Japan, though they do make one-of-a-kind items in their Portland workshop.

Dressing Up the Cuffs

Looking at the jeans, the first thing you notice is the Japanese fabric stitched into the cuff of the pants. Kiriko offers two options of fabric, wave and asanoha. Both fabrics are blue and white; wave being base blue and asanoha base white, and work seamlessly with anything you’d wear with denim.

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The Wave is a classic straight fit in 13 oz. Fukuyama denim. The first thing you’ll notice, obviously, is the Japanese fabric stitched into the cuff of the pants. Kiriko offers two options of fabric, wave and asanoha. Both fabrics are blue and white, wave being base blue and asanoha base white, and work seamlessly with anything you’d wear with denim. The fabric can be a little jarring at first, but after a few days it starts to seem silly that every jean maker doesn’t embellish the weft side of the fabric for cuffed denim. There is a slight line where the fabric is stitched inside the pant but you really have to look for it and it doesn’t affect the drape or stacking.

The denim itself is a gorgeous and versatile 13 oz that will transition well from cooler weather to summer months. While it lacks some of the intentional mistakes and tension play of other Japanese denim, it is certainly not uniform and looks like it will fade well over time. A nice chunky, red selvedge id works well with the cuff fabric. The patch is buttery, thick and hand embossed.

The Skinny On Fits

Take note that this is an aggressive straight fit. While the jeans fit true to size, the rise may be a bit lower than the norm for those used to heritage-influenced cuts. This is in no way a deal breaker, but it did take some getting used to.

The pocket bags, while ample, are only just long enough to store larger smartphones. Phones in the iPhone 6 Plus and Nexus 6p size range will peek just above the top of the pocket. They won’t fall out or feel insecure, but they will be there. These are minor concerns with a product that is, overall, a nice complement to any denimhead’s wardrobe, adding a little flavour at the cuff without going overboard.

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Kiriko extends their passion for Japanese fabrics into a full range of apparel and accessories. Their patchwork scarves are unique assemblages that any denimhead is sure to love. They also offer jackets embellished with fabric, shorts, aprons and handkerchiefs.

See all their products here or click straight through to the denim selection.

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