In the late 1960s the first Japanese factories transformed their indigo dyeing techniques to suit the production of denim fabrics. In the 1970s the first non-American jeans were made in Hiroshima. For the Japanese, it was just a matter of connecting the dots. By making use of their indigo dyeing and weaving skills they created the first domestic denim labels. Although Levi’s was very popular in Japan, they developed their own denim, mainly because the American denim brands were not always doing the smaller Asian body frames justice. When Levi's had to upscale its production during the late 1970s and early 1980s, they moved away from their original shuttle looms and started to mass produce denim. The Japanese fanatically imported the old Levi's machinery and continued the make denim fabrics on old-school shuttle looms. So, why would you commit to Japanese denim? According to Katsuhito Manabe from Momotaro Jeans, the highest level of Japanese denim fabric is made from Zimbabwe cotton. This cotton is superior to all other variants because of the perfectly balanced humidity and sunshine in the African country. When you take into consideration that the next step is to dye the premium Zimbabwe cotton threads in Japanese natural indigo baths – a costly and time-consuming process – we don’t have to further explain why Japanese denim are often referred to as 'slow denim'. Besides running his denim brands Momotaro and Japan Blue, Manabe creates denim fabric for brands such as A.P.C., Tenue. and Benzak Denim Developers. The effort that goes into the production process as well as the design, is why it is rightfully referred to as premium.