The Mill

We are excited to introduce our newest brand: Tanuki.

Hailing from Okayama, Japan, Tanuki is a newly-formed denim label built on a collective of knowledge and a passion for quality. Founded by a group of gifted craftsmen, the brand prides itself on mastering every level of the denim process. With decades of cumulative experience in denim manufacturing, the “super-team” behind Tanuki is able to manipulate shuttle looms to create unique fabrics, sewing them into jeans that elevate Japanese denim to yet another level.

The foundation of Tanuki is their team of expert craftsman, who have experience in the denim industry from running looms, to sewing Kibata (Japanese raw denim), to managing some of the largest denim brands in Japan. For the creation of this project denim experts of all walks have come together to create a product that will bring Japanese denim to the next level. The artisans wish to remain unnamed because the product is meant to speak for itself. 

The Tanuki was chosen as the brand's symbol for its roots in traditional Japanese myth. The people behind Tanuki are old traditional denim makers, but like the mythical raccoon-dog changes its shape, they are transforming the image of traditional denim. Their logo 二 (Ni), the Japanese character for two, also represents this concept. The bottom line represents the past, tradition, establishment, and peace. The top line represents future, change, and strength. The red and white follow the colors of the Japanese flag, which honors their roots as Japanese denim makers.

Tanuki's greatest strength is in their experience working with Kibata. Unlike other brands that began as stores or from parent companies, Tanuki is built on the backs of denim makers. Kibata is a very difficult material to work with, and many brands will make the mistake of assuming it shrinks the same across all sizes. This results in strange fit issues like pockets that do not work, or rise that is too short, or lack of flexibility in areas where a person moves. Tanuki works with a formula developed through time to avoid the problems that other makers have, and have brought in European pattern cutters for advice on fit, resulting in the perfect denim clothes.

Our first shipment brings us Tanuki’s 15oz “Retro” and 16.5oz “Natural Indigo” selvedge denim fabrics. The Retro fabric was first created in the 70's by members of the Tanuki team when trying to develop a very dark and strong denim. When the vintage denim craze hit Japan the fabric was by far the most popular, but was discontinued in the late 90’s. The dark color is achieved through using two indigo dyes, one light, and one dark. Because of this it is a slow fading denim that creates beautiful ranges of blues.

The N fabric uses natural indigo, which usually makes fabrics four times more expensive because of the hand labor and amount of dye used. The price of this denim is possible because of Tanuki’s refined rope dying technique, which uses less dye to achieve a deep color. The fabric uses low tension weaving with slubby yarn to create a uniquely textured denim.

Both fabrics come unsanforized in true heritage fashion, and are offered in the tailored Slim and Tapered fits - a contrast that honors the fundamentals of the Tanuki brand.

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For more information on Tanuki, send us an email or tweet us your questions on Twitter.