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Most sought after denim


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Figured it might be a cool to start a thread to talk about what we consider tried and tested, true grail (trying not to use that word specifically) status denim. Could be best texture, best details, best fades, you name it. Samurai and APC threads' at one point went to shit because of the constant "if I'm w31, should I get a size 23 (sized down 12 sizes)" chatter and it got real old, real quick. In saying that, I don't think companies should be handicapped because of past user transgressions.

For me, and my limited experience—only in alphabetical order, not popularity:

  1. APC denim
  2. Flat Head 3XXX
  3. Iron Heart 21oz
  4. Samurai 19oz (indigo and black)
  5. Sugar Cane EDO-AI
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1. tender 129: perfect loose-ish cut on me (i take a 4 for 34-35 waist), love the lower rise, great denim that marbles easily (similar to the sda standard denim down to the blue selvedge line but heavier, not your standard five-pocket construction resulting in interesting puckerings (eg, on the front pocket opening) and fades in non-standard spots. 

2. rising sun blacksmith: good cut for me too, actually not too loose at size 32 which has an actual waist of around 34. also offers quirky puckerings and fades because of the almost baroque construction (eg, on the waistband where the duck lining doesn't seem to shrink as much as the denim resulting in extreme puckering on the outside (denim side)). good example of the (eventual) beauty of old cone denim. especially love how the faded spots don't go directly from blue to white like on many japanese denim. less contrasty, but produces a cool, beautiful blue. 

3. sda 103: at bigger waist size (34), the cut is nearly perfect for me for a slimmish pair of jeans. lowish rise, nearly straight stovepipe legs. the denim is probably my favourite ever. super dark blue, crinkles and marbles easily, feels luxurious and thick for 15oz, but doesn't feel too heavy. 

(in this order)

Edited by oomslokop
bobbo's orders
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Maybe obvious but:

1. Denime XX denim (although it can be quite thick/hot in summer)
After the DenimJunkie jeans, a pair of Denime 66XX was the first Japanese jeans for me and ever since I found the fades of the XX remarkable and unique.
From the raw look it is not to different to SDA's 1xx denim but id definitely fades differently.
2. the old Warehouse 14.5oz denim (Memphis cotton, right?!)
The old Sufu WH660 contest brought up a plethora of truly perfectly faded pairs with this denim and for me it's maybe WH's best denim
3. Full Count 13.7oz denim
Praised by many for the comfy denim, it has the right amount of irregularities and the softer fades are a great match to the easy wear.
4. Denime 10th anniversary (1952) and Resolute 710 and Resolute 711
All 3 of them are great in their way. The 10th anniversary might be my secret favourite denim ever. The 710 looks so great when faded and the 711 looks so great when not faded :D 

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Surely the most sought after denim.. is the denim which is due for release in the coming weeks :)
1) Levin Scheme.. 
I'd wanted a pair for'evs.. the one opportunity i had to buy a pair in DS condition, i'd transferred ¥50k to my online Zen wallet.. there was 1 bid on Yahoo which had been there all week.. i was watching the clock tick down before placing my bid... i was as giddy as a kipper.. then the auction finished.. wtaf!.. 'early finish' had been selected by the seller and i'd missed them. Aaaaaaaaaaah.. I emailed Flash.. just a long line of expletives :)
2) Deer Hunters (Hunt's)
I searched for years on Yahoo.. Kamedia Club had a pair.. i tried to buy Ed's pair (posted in the Japanese thread c2008) when he was having a clear out but with my eagerness and Ed's flakiness it never happened.. they were 3 sizes too small for him.. he could have named his price. 
Sometime later i tried to buy Bobbo's worn pair but he'd given them to his brother, he didn't pay much for them so a swap was offered but i couldn't bear to let any of my collection of old SC-47 with arcs and tab go.. so a swap never happened... oh well
That's all that comes to mind.. i've had/got all the other jeans i've coveted over the years.
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This one is kind of tough, like 00 I've been fortunate enough to find a way to get most of what I'm after.
Also, I feel like the subject is two-fold: to me sought after implies that you haven't been able to get you hands the pair in question, while you also mention a more "hall of fame" type of lineup. Regardless, happy to explore both!

Brands I have worn:
Freewheelers - XX variations: I know, I know, here I go again touting FW. I've yet to try the standard 47 and 51 offerings, but in the last two years I've been wearing the S601XX and 601XX-C versions and I've thoroughly enjoyed both denims. There are times where I get a little bored with the denim (not including the S war-era stuff, that was always great) but if you put the time into them they're well worth it. Great patterns, some of the most underrated (at least from the western contingent) repro jeans on the market currently.
Ooe Yofukuten - OA variations: While the differences in each run might be subtle, the changes between each OA lot make them interesting enough for me to try. Every different variety that I've worn looks slightly different, with the exception of them all lightening up fairly quickly without much contrast. Some of the best constructed pairs around, looking forward to the next war-era iteration since it's been some time since I've worn a pair of OAs.
Roy - Cone variations: I own a lot of Roy, and a lot of black seed Cone specifically. While the black seed is one of my all time favorite denims, I feel like some of the earlier Cone that he used was even more special, like the original Cone Project jeans or the SF01. I've been focusing on other brands lately, but I'll likely revisit some Roy soon, maybe I'll start wearing the RS04's I have stowed away. My raw LeRoy's with duck patch might be my most "prized" pair in my collection.

Brands I haven't worn:
45rpm - natural indigo: These have always intrigued me, mainly since they seem to fade very subtly over time. I had a pair of synthetic-dyed indigo jeans from them that I sold, they didn't really do anything for me but the natural indigo seems more interesting.
Slash Overalls: One man brand from Japan, very similar to CSF when it comes to wonky construction and overall vibe. Very popular and hard to come by, some of the worn pairs I've seen on Instagram look great.
Matin Montana jeans: These were pretty limited, released at the end of 2022. I wasn't able to get a pair, they pop up every now and then on Yahoo for exorbitant prices that I'm not willing to pay (which has evidently been making the Matin owner mad). Based off a vintage pair found near the Idaho / Montana border. I've seen a few worn pairs on Instagram that look nice.
Sugar Cane Super Denim Collectibles: These haven't been released yet, but they've been discussed heavily in the SC thread. Newly developed denim for the 43 and 46 pairs, looking forward to trying both.

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This could be a really broad topic depending on how it's interpreted, and I've very little experience in the hobby compared to most of you here. "Sought after" could imply rarity, highly desirable or both and may refer to discontinued denim, specific cuts, or even entire brands. But if I were allowed to interpret the thread as a discussion about what we each perceive to be highly desirable brands/cuts/fabric, then this would be my little opinion on the five that's desirable (based on personal experience and some reading):


  • Tanuki Red Cast fabric (chosen on the basis of denim alone): If there is one pair of jeans in my wardrobe that I genuinely miss, it's these. I grew out of them as they were just starting to look nice. If I could find this denim in an appropriate cut today (new and around RRP), I would run and pounce, not walk, to my wallet and drop my money on them immediately. This is a fabric that has a slight purple hue when raw and just after the first wash, giving way to a beautiful sapphire-blue speckly fade with wear. It holds up well to a lot of washing as well while still returning moderate to high contrast fading. My pair seems to show what I think is three-dimensional fading, which highlights shape when those jeans are worn and giving them a lovely form. Tanuki has a sketchy backstory and rather unclear provenance (Kiya of SE says they are owned and run by Denimio, and I've seen that claim in more than one place), but IMHO, this fabric proves they do know their denim. And in my experience of giving two of their jeans a run-in, I'd say their quality is just fine.


  • Graph Zero 16 oz Herringbone (chosen on basis of denim, cut, details, quality): GZ has epic levels of cool, perhaps reaching or even surpassing the levels of Kapital and FDMTL. I have a lightly faded pair in their 16oz herringbone fabric that is a great slim-straight cut in a fabric that is known to fade spectacularly. Mine is starting to demonstrate some high contrast fading and I'm really encouraged by that example shown in GZ's IG post. Doesn't hurt that they are serious quality in construction and detail, while being a fraction of the price of what Kapital offers. GZ is a fun brand, and you get that vibe from their IG feed. And their cuts are pretty accessible to most body types. It might seem funny to talk about $160 jeans as being "good value for money", but I figured it might hold some water in a forum like this. They are extremely underrated and should get more patronage.


  • The Flat Head (chosen on basis of denim, details and quality): examples of amazing fades abound at this site itself, and FH appears to be one of those brands that's had their heyday and now forgotten in preference of other brands. But I love the level of detail in their jeans and their burly, durable fabric that holds up really nicely to frequent washes while rewarding with high contrast fading and tate-ochi. From what I've been reading, I get the impression that the founder, Kobayashi-san, is more interested in making products with detail and quality, rather than cost and profit margin. It may have contributed to the downfall of his company (which subsequently needed to be propped up with an injection of capital), however I admire that dedication to the craft, at the expense of everything else that is practical. I outgrew a pair of 1002 that was looking beautiful even after just a short period of wear, and now have a carpenter's style 8005A in my rotation that has quirky triple-needle stitching in both the outseam and inseam, plus an additional side pocket. And of course, that crispy, inky (almost black) denim with visible vertical streaking. The cuts don't necessarily work for everyone, with common complaints about unusable front pockets or really low rises. But they are perfect for me. Amongst all my jeans, nothing flatters my arse better than my Flat Head jeans. They just look that good!


  • Roy (chosen on basis of denim, details and quality): I feel like it would be impossible to complete a list like this without at least mentioning this legend and his story. In general, his cuts don't work for me, as they are significantly more roomy than I'd like, and those giant front rises just make me look shorter than I already am. Hence there's a pair of these languishing in my wardrobe. But what I can admire however, is the quality of construction, which is the most obsessive I have seen in any pair of jeans I've ever owned. A seriously high stitch-per-inch count with perfect stitchwork and perfect chain-stitching resulting in equally perfect roping. Plus, the black seed denim he uses is proprietary and now extinct. It just so happens it also fades extremely well, just very slowly. However I think the allure of his brand and products is really from the man himself. When we think, or imagine, those jeans being made by his hands from scratch, and his hands only, with those amazing vintage machines in a dilapidated warehouse, that's when they become even more mythical. His jeans really could be collectibles amongst raw denim aficionados. Today, if you want jeans made by his machines, you gotta look at $800 Buaisou pants. I wouldn't call Roy a jeansmaker. More accurately, he is a master craftsman who just happens to make clothes.


  • APC (chosen on the basis of denim and cut): their cuts won't work for everyone, but for me, they are just about perfect. Their New Standard is a really great cut for peeps who are built slim and lanky, but they are really quite famous for their Petit Standard as well which is even narrower and low-rise. Some of APC's biggest fans have been bold enough to state "nothing fades quite like APC", said in the tone of "APC fades the best". That's a debatable claim in my book. But proof is in the pudding. And there's plenty of fades at this forum to show it. APC does fade fast, and in an attractive fashion. Their cuts are a French kiss...if you're of a certain body type. I have a New Standard and a Petit Standard, both taken off the local marketplace for less than $40 all up. My wife even noticed the PS the day I donned them. "Nice jeans", she says. Can't say she's ever said that about any of my other jeans.
Edited by cause4pause
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Ages ago I got my hands of my Denime Orizzonti-era 506xx. The old XX-denim that they used has been a favorite of mine ever since. Personally I think they nailed the kind of texture I like the most. Lots of life and marbling but not too much. At some point I hope to try my hands on it in a pair of jeans. 

Then there’s Warehouse. They’ve made so much fantastic stuff over the years. I love the marbling from the banner denim but what I still really want to get my hands on is the 2002xx embroidered jacket from the 15th anniversary. Both because of the fantastic embroidered bull and that the 15th anniversary fabric probably was the best they’ve made so far. 

Top of the list is probably the work of Ooe Yofukuten. Well crafted, really comfortable denim (all OA versions I’ve tried) and fits that I enjoy. And I’m a sucker for storytelling, their story is a great one. Still bummed that I found this place too late and missed the days of custom orders. 

Honorary mention for TCB 20’s. Damn, that fabric turned out great. Both my own and for so many others during the contest. It was the perfect all year pair of jeans thanks to the cut and weight of the denim. 

The list could go on for a long time. Evisu No.1’s, Fullcount’s 13,7 oz denim, Denime 10th anniversary 37’s, Resolute 710 etc. So many amazing jeans out there. 

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Full Count XX denim, followed by TCB 50s denim are quite possibly my two favorites of all time. I'm a fan of a lot of the heavy/slubby/textured stuff, but those two are just so comfortable and age so well. I think I've learned that I prefer softer, slower fading denim. 

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You’re right b_F, the other one’s more about jeans than denim per se - I should have read the intro rather than just the title. I quite like seeing a continuity of theme from old threads and reading what people thought about denim 5, 10, 15 years ago (plus observing how tastes and ideas have changed) rather than having duplication because people aren’t aware of pre-existing ones. In this case, however, if it’s just the denim, then I think it’s sufficiently different to stand alone, so I’m happy to leave as is.

Looking back, there are a number of similar favourite jean threads in addition to the one I mentioned - Top 5, favourite jeans, 1 pair to take to a desert island, etc…!


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I love wider cuts and I have a soft spot for pants with a different pattern from the traditional Levi's (even though those represent most of my stash). For these two reasons, some of the denims I most enjoy wearing are the FW Bakehead and Longshoreman, as well as Tender 132. I also have a pair of Samurai HBT painters' pants (SM310DX-P) which are super comfy, but I haven't seen much evo on them yet.

I love the way the SC cotton + sugarcane denims rewards the wearer with nice details pretty fast, and I also like the SDA SD- denim, which was my first foray into high end denim.

Edited by JDelage
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My favorites haven't changed much in a long time. These are all based on fabrics I've personally worn.

  1. Flat Head 14.5 oz "3XXX"/"Pioneer" denim. This is still my favorite after all these years. I love how versatile it is - whether you want high contrast or wash frequently, it turns out great. And especially after it's been worn an extremely long time, 1.5-2+ years, it really looks great. Most other types of denim look too washed-out for my tastes by that duration of wear. I think it has the ideal balance of traditional influence and innovation, and IMO the trendier, over-engineered heavy slub wacky texture fabrics don't come anywhere close.
  2. Samurai 15 oz "Otokogi" denim. Like the aforementioned Flat Head fabric it's known for strong vertical fading, but has a different color and texture to it that's a little less refined, in a good way. This denim gets unfairly overlooked in favor of Samurai's more heavy, wild and dramatic fabrics, but I maintain that it's in fact their best denim.
  3. Pure Blue Japan XX-011 left-hand twill gray weft denim - I've always loved this denim and its unique, steely teal color as it fades. It's a shame it's pretty much offered on one, super skinny fit. I'd immediately buy a straight fit made from this denim.
  4. Warehouse Banner Denim. This is the "newest" addition to my list, as I've been very impressed with this fabric on my 1001xx jeans. It's incredibly comfortable for summer wear (though the fit certainly plays a big part in that, too), and has a nice, detailed texture. To me, it looks very much like vintage Levis/traditional-style denim, and I feel it has more character than the other denim in this class I've handled, like Full Count's 13 oz Zimbabwe denim. I also like WH's 14.5 oz denim from the 800xx, which has a more aggressive texture and appearance, but this one edges it out for me. It's also extremely versatile, depending on how frequently it's washed.
  5. Samurai 17 oz "Zero" denim. Exemplified by its usage on the S3000vx, this is my favorite "heavyweight" denim, though it's not that heavy by contemporary standards. This has a nice, detailed texture (which is a bit like Warehouse's 14.5 oz, but a little more gritty), and especially great dyeing - I love the powdery candy blue shade this denim reaches with some wear. The weight of this denim is just incidental for me.
  6. 3Sixteen Shadow Selvedge. My sole sanforized pick, this denim is some of the best-fading sanforized denim I've seen, and offers some deep contrast potential while also being quite comfy. What's not to love?
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1 hour ago, beautiful_FrEaK said:

Do it, Supermod!

I rather thought this thread is about the actual denim (fabric) of the brands rather than actual models/makeups

This was meant to be about denim fabric per se, not cuts, hard-to-get, or "rare" denims. 

An unpopular opinion of mine is I'm not a huge fan of Cone Mills denim. I have a pair of Roys, I love the details as far as cut is concerned, but the denim is never something I was wowed by. I had a pair of Dutils back in the day (same denim from CM), and after a good year and a half, I came to the same conclusion. 

Some of my jeans, I:

  1. Like the denim, cut is irrelevant
  2. Like the cut, denim is irrelevant
  3. Like both

Any jean that satisfies number 3 solely are the pairs I wear the most.

As far as my list on the first post:

  1. APC denim (quick fader with a really nice deep (but not so deep it looks black) initial blue, yet a great electric blue when worn)
  2. Flat Head 3XXX (vertical fading is unmatched, and I find the weight the best overall, I like the texture feel much like APC denim too)
  3. Iron Heart 21oz (to me, just a heavier version of APC as far as color and fading)
  4. Samurai 19oz (indigo is relatively new to me, but the unevenness and texture is awesome, surprisingly breathable and seems to be a quick fader. Black was probably my first intro in fade-to-grey style denim)
  5. Sugar Cane EDO-AI (the slubbiness and green hue, I find myself checking out this denim the most)
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On denim alone I’ll go 

1) Tender’s 16 oz standard fare. 

2) WH 14.5 oz 6x7 denim (not sure if it’s the same as Memphis denim)

3) Early days but I quite like FW standard fare (the denim used in the 47/51/507xx jacket etc). Just a little more character than standard repro denims imo. I like the softness as well. 

4) TCB 20s for lighter fare. Pretty sure I’d take this over the FC denim but I haven’t worn the FC nearly enough to really make the call. 

HM ) Sugar Cane Edo Ai. Not much one for novelty denims but I do quite enjoy this one. I do with the one they released a few years ago was in a better cut. 

Jury is out on a few other ones for me. I’ll check back in 5 years?

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Denim alone, based on experience - I like Freewheelers, Full Count, Warehouse, Flat Head, Denime, Ooe, TCB. Don't like Iron Heart, PBJ, Boncoura. Strike Gold, Sugar Cane, Samurai, SDA - somewhere between like and dislike.



Edited by Talan
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17 hours ago, blooming said:

I feel like if I wore my Flat Head 3009s more, I'd feel the same way a lot of you do about it. Definitely a fan, mine just haven't started picking up that character yet.

Here's the thing about TFH denim - it's beautiful when brand-new and has the sort of soft, wooly texture and almost purple hue. But after it starts to break in, there's kind of an awkward stage, probably between 2-6 months of real wear, that it doesn't seem like much is happening and it can seem a bit boring or bland. But then it really starts to take off around 6-9 months of wear and just gets better and better.

For those wearing the tighter cuts that show contrast fades more quickly this stage is mitigated somewhat, but I've definitely found this to be the case when wearing the straight/looser fits. Your patience will be rewarded.

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Surprised nobody’s mentioned Stevenson - their denim is an all-time favourite of mine. Very similar to the evisu no.1 I’ve handled in terms its texture and green caste, but not quite as stubborn to fade.

Tender denim is my favourite overall for reasons others have mentioned above. I’ve never tried any of their overdyed fabric but hope to some day.


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Well this is a question that is forever in loop in my mind. I have had love affairs with so many denims for so many reasons. Far fewer jeans (defined as the combination of not just denim but the construction, details, and fit) have I had love affairs with. I will always be searching for the “grail*” jean that hits all the points.

*in the ephemeral concept of unobtainable, but worthy goal of lifelong pursuit.

This is more info than is asked for but you gave me an itch with this question that I need to scratch.

Flathead Pioneer denim was my first Japanese denim. The blueberry fades are unlike anything I have ever seen. The vertical falling is just incredible. The texture and contrast are just a sight to behold. BUT I do not like that level of contrast on my body and fits. Looks a bit too much zoomed out from just appreciating the fabric.

Stevenson has the most amazing construction of all. The attention to detail, accuracy, and execution of single stitch is beyond what others do. Their denim has an amazing green cast with fades that make you work for them. Their fits are unbearable though.

Full Count in general has the most comfy denim around. And in my ethos of jean wearing, where I want to live in the jean, this makes the jean effortless. The fades of both the standard and the XX have the perfect amount of texture, pace of fade, to give everything you can ask for out of a jean, with a fit that is what I like for my body style (40s-50s with a low rise for my ever prominent muffin top).

Sugar Cane denim in general is under-praised.

The new age (last 10 years) ’47 denim is a quiet champion of vintage fades. Spectacular crinkle and marble, texture and irregularity, with a slow pace that gives a vintage, lower contrast but still high texture result. Phenomenal jean on all accounts.

I have several Mister Freedom pieces that use Okinawa and Edo ai and they are up there with the most amazing to witness denims. Textures and colors, fascinating to watch age and color but a bit much to wear.

Warehouse denim is the king of all, texturally. I have worn through several types, banner, old blues, newer 800s, with a variety of wash strategies (hot, hot&drier, cold only) and get magnificent results that I love to examine. But much like the pioneer denim, I love it all primarily for the material, not the way it looks on me. Fits are always okay, details are okay-to-good, just sometimes unexciting.

I have also tried so many more that aren’t worth expressing again: Cone, Orslow, Studio D’artisan, TCB, Evis No.2, and No.1.

But the ones that have totally stolen my attention:

Denime XX. It took me a long time to come around to Denime. They just seemed uninteresting coming from a world of forever iterating new-wave Japanese brands. But I started to take an interest in the Old Osaka 5 (hence the Evis ref), and I came to finding some Orizzonti era Denime. Not only is the fit spot on for my likes but the denim gives me just enough of everything I have loved from Pioneer denim blues and ease of fade, a dash of Warehouse crinkles with the vintagey-ness of sugar cane. I haven’t faded a pair all the way out yet but as a “jean” this might be it.

So my top spot would be Denime WWII - Orizzonti era. As I love WWII details and silhouettes, this would likely be my end-all.

Sugar Cane M-series denims. Perhaps an unlikely choice, but in exploring old-era Japanese jeans, the early 90s, no patch Sugar Cane jeans blew me away with their denim. Some of it on the lighter side, the texture, crinkle and gray caste give such an amazing vintage look. Being lighter is refreshing coming from the heavier weights that are standard in new era. The fits are unlike anything else and ignore common wants for tapers. I am forever on the lookout for a M41001 with laurel leaf buttons and Levi-esque archs in a good size that would give that straight-through-the-hips and stovepipe leg look.

The same goes for their jackets (although I know this isn't about that). Their WWII S506XX from that era, (of which I have like 4 of…) fades so well, wears so lightly, and has the short, blocky fit that is hard to find nowadays. Perfect, no-nonsense jeans and repros. That is what I am finding my heart leans towards these days.

But even at the end of the day, I will always come back to a pair of Full Count 13.7ozers when I am not wearing a jean for a purpose other than to wear a trusted sidekick for yardwork, hardwork, kicking around or otherwise laziness in outfit choice. So what does that say about that jean?

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