ラグ & ボーンが考えるオーセンティシティという哲学。


Kaihara-mind : Alchemy of Indigo


At Kaihara, the first company in Japan to realize integrated production from denim fabric spinning through dyeing, weaving, and final processing, the finest raw cotton for denim is directly imported from manufacturers overseas. The raw cotton is blended using our trademark know-how, and by producing the thread for weaving ourselves, we are able to strike a balance between high quality and low cost.

“一貫生産の確立” を目指して1991年に建てられたのが、この紡績工場。求める糸質によって、リング紡績とオープンエンド紡績の2つのラインを使い分ける。常に安定した品質を担保すべく、工場内はすべてオートメーション化されている。

This spinning mill was built in 1991 with the aim of establishing integrated production. The two lines – ring spinning and open-end spinning – are used for different purposes according to the desired thread quality. The entire factory is automated in order to ensure consistent, stable quality.


Ever since its founding in 1893, Kaihara’s experience and technical ability – fostered through bingo-gasuri indigo dyeing – have been unsurpassed. The thread for weaving is tied up like rope and put through indigo liquid, pressed with a roller, and oxidized by being exposed to air. This process is repeated numerous times, lending the thread a characteristically vivid indigo blue. The core of the thread remains white, which is why the jeans have a vintage feel after wash processing.


Although indigo is a symbol of Japan, its cultivation was banned during wartime. Based on the belief that our high-level indigo dye techniques are what define the quality of Kaihara denim, Kaihara vigorously adopts the latest technology while also taking on a role in ensuring that traditional techniques thrive in the future.

糊付けされたタテ糸にヨコ糸を打ち込み、布に織り上げる工程である「織布」。「カイハラ」の工場では、ヘビーウエイトなデニムに対応するプロジェクタイル織機、細番手のデニムに用いられるレピア織機、そして、〈ラグ & ボーン〉も採用しているクラシックなテイストのヴィンテージデニムを織り上げるシャトル織機など、300台以上もの織機が常に稼動している。

Fabric weaving is the process wherein weft yarn is interlaced with starched warp yarn, and woven into fabric. At the Kaihara factory, we have over 300 looms in constant operation, including projectile looms for heavyweight denim, rapier looms used for denim made of fine thread, and classic shuttle looms for weaving vintage denim, which are also used by rag & bone.


Even if you have beautiful, artlike denim fabric, it is no use if the quality is scattershot. Original fabric that has completed an interim inspection is singed to remove the fluff from the surface, starched to give the fabric body, given skew prevention to protect against distortion, pre-shrunk to prevent shrinkage and dry processed before finally completing its journey to become a product. This careful process is what gives Kaihara denim its characteristic texture and nuance.

マーカス・ウェインライトが “恋に落ちた” カイハラデニム。

The Denim He fell in Love With

「カイハラのセルビッジデニムに代わるものは、世界のどこを探しても見つけられない。彼らにしか実現できないアートなんだ」。マーカス・ウェインライトを〈ラグ & ボーン〉設立へと導いたきっかけのひとつであり、“オーセンティシティ” というブランド哲学の確立の道標となったのが、彼が初めて自身のためのジーンズづくりに勤しんだアメリカ・ケンタッキー州の工場で出会った、カイハラデニムだ。

「カイハラ」のセルビッジデニムは、〈ラグ & ボーン〉のみならず、“クオリティ” をスローガンに掲げる世界の錚々たるブランドのデニムづくりに、もはや不可避な存在だ。その唯一性は、ひとたびカイハラデニムを体験した人であれば、誰もが認めるところだが、これほどのグローバルな評価と信頼、そして比肩なきブランド力を支えているのは、正藍染の絣製造からはじまった創業120余年の老舗企業の、ひたむきな努力と革新性にほかならない。


事実、マーカスはカイハラの藍色に “恋に落ちた” ひとりである。
「インディゴはマジカルな染料であり、デニムもまた、マジカルな生地。この二つがカイハラの技術によって交わることで、ほかでは到底叶えられない “着るごとにどんどんよくなる独自の風合い” を実現している。奇跡のファブリックだよ」


“温故創新” をスローガンに、変化を恐れず挑戦をやめない「カイハラ」は、これからの未来をどう見つめているのだろう。前出の藤野さんは、同社の展望をこう話してくれた。

“Something better than Kaihara’s selvedge denim? Even if you search all over the world, you’re never going to find it. It’s an artform only they are capable of creating.”One of the motivating factors that led Marcus to founding rag & bone – a guidepost for establishing his brand’s philosophy of “authenticity” – was something he encountered in the Kentucky factory where he first endeavored to make jeans for himself: Kaihara denim.

Aside from rag & bone, Kaihara’s selvedge denim is now an indispensable part of denim production for the world’s foremost brands that put “quality” in their slogans. The uniqueness is noticeable by anyone who has tried Kaihara denim even once, but the true reasons for such global recognition and trust, as well as Kaihara’s incomparable brand strength, are none other than the single-minded effort and innovation of this well-established company, which started over 120 years ago making authentic indigo-dyed kasuri fabric.

Koki Fujino, section chief in Kaihara’s sales department, has this to say :
“Indigo, or as its other name ‘Japan blue’ suggests, has been an essential dye in the lives and folk art of Japanese since the olden days, but it is extremely difficult to control. Using the high-level indigo dye techniques that have been cultivated since our founding, we are confident in our ability to bring out the world’s most balanced colors, and have devised better ways to realize the perfect blanching that brings [our denim] closer to vintage jeans. The balance of the calculatedly uneven thread with the loom’s settings… The textures only we can create are, I believe, made possible by a great number of people.”

Marcus is truly someone who has “fallen in love” with Kaihara’s indigo blue.
“Indigo is a magical dye, and denim, too, a magical fabric. By bringing these two together through Kaihara’s techniques, a ‘unique texture that gets better and better every time you wear it,’ something no one else can possibly achieve, has been realized. It’s truly a miracle fabric.”

For Kaihara, too, denim is the fated fabric that rescued the company from bankruptcy. At one point, changes in society and lifestyles cast a visible shadow over kasuri fabrics that were made with cotton and wool, which had until then been the company’s bread and butter. Around this time, a new fad that had started among young people and students was jeans: in other words, a different raw material for those at Kaihara to apply indigo dye to. They quickly set their sights on denim fabric.

Taking as its slogan, “Creating the future with the past,” Kaihara has continued to challenge itself, undaunted by change. What does the future hold? Mr. Fujino, quoted above, spoke to us about the company’s prospects.
“Besides simply quality and ingenuity, ultimately we are also aiming to be number one in the world in terms of denim sales volume. Someday, we also hope to manufacture and sell our own brand of jeans. Furthermore, just as our predecessors took Kaihara to great heights after encountering denim, we too are hoping to try and create a new fabric ideal for indigo dyeing.”

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