The Kojima District is the home of Japanese denim. A beautiful one-hour train ride south of Okayama City, on the southern coast of Honshu Island. Centuries of textile tradition and craftsmanship are absorbed into the manufacturing practices of Sugano, maker of CIBI Design denim goods.


Okayama Fest
Meet the Maker Q&A
CIBI recently undertook a road trip across the beautiful landscape of Okayama Prefecture, Japan to Meet the Maker of our favourite Okayama designers, craftspeople and manufacturers to reveal the stories behind the products we are proud to share at Okayama Fest.

Sugano Denim owner Satoshi-san and CIBI sit down for a chat


CIBI Why do you think Japanese denim from Okayama prefecture is loved not only in Japan but around the world?

Satoshi-san It has a profound history. Japanese denim begun from making replica of American denim jeans.  American army came to Kojima and remaking their workwear was the beginning of factories making casual jeans in Kojima. Since then the culture of making jeans was developed in Kojima, the whole town got behind in manufacturing jeans and they still continue to produce some of the best jeans in Japan, especially how they cannot only produce the best denim but they can specialise in making unique special finishes on the denim that no other factories in the world can do. The denim that factories in Kojima produce are second to none. Their techniques and machines now can produce the best quality denim, some with very thick woven fabric which again is special to Kojima. 


CIBI What types of denim do you manufacture and what are the difference between the them?

Satoshi-san We use both raw and selvedge denim. Rigid denim is basically raw denim. Selvedge denim is narrow denim with self finished edge and nice coloured finish. Because it’s a very narrow denim measuring 140cm wide, it is very difficult to cut many pieces out and requires more denim to make a pair of jeans.


CIBI Our CIBI denim aprons are very popular, however working in kitchens they will naturally require regular cleaning. What would you recommend is the best way to wash CIBI denim aprons. hot or cold water, soap, machine or hand wash?

Satoshi-san Up to you! It all depends how you like to wear it! Wash with natural detergent and water is the best. For those who like a more vintage look, wash them frequently to make them softer. Sometimes it is also recommended not to wash for a while as it can develop a patina, further giving them a unique look and feel. Don't worry if you wash it with other things, you can be rough with it, denim is tough!


CIBI you make many different styles of clothing and items, what is the most fun element of making?

Satoshi-san I really enjoy that moment when a customer gets inspired and moved by the product we made! Seeing the finished product when we manage to make something really beautiful is always fun and using a variety of different machinery to produce something new also brings joy. We do not directly sell to customers so when hear that the customers really loved the products we manufactured, we get a lot of joy!


CIBI Which process do you like the most when making the products?

Satoshi-san One thing I really like is the connections with the makers. In clothing and manufacturing, there are many people involved, from making the denim, washing the denim, putting small parts together, sewing, packing and checking the final product. I cherish our relationships working with people from all aspects of life. Only because of the many skilful people that we can make complicated and detailed jackets! There are not many manufacturers who can do what we can these day as many factories have closed down.