History and denim have a long intertwined existence, with credibility and trust going to those who have been doing it the longest and are still around to tell their story. Big John can claims the honor of being the first to plant the denim flag in Japan, arguably the best denim producing country at the moment. The company traces its roots back to 1940 when Kotaro Osaki founded Maruo Clothing, Inc., which produced uniforms and would later become Big John.
After WWII, Maruo clothing began importing American jeans and tailoring them for the Japanese customer. With the liberalization of imports in the '60s, Maruo manufactured and treated jeans using Canton Textile Mills fabric. In the late '60s, the Big John brand was formed and manufactured jeans using Cone Mills denim. Finally, in 1973, Big John created the first ever 100% made in Japan pair of denim jeans. The brand was wildly popular throughout the '70s, and continued to lead the denim industry in breakthroughs. In the '80s, Big John was the first brand to create Japanese selvage paving the way for virtually every other denim brand on this list. Big John's current offerings all hark back to their archives, and any denim nerd worth their indigo should hold this brand in high esteem.