Uniting the cutting-edge with classic and timeless

“Jeans are something you can’t live without,” says Masaaki Matsubara, the director of UNIQLO’s Jeans Innovation Center, where his team harnesses the latest in cutting-edge technology as well as heritage artisanal know-how.

The Jeans Innovation Center is in Los Angeles. “California is where jeans were born, and where denim became the people’s cloth.” You can use the most high-tech production and processes, but to make exceptional jeans, the end result must be anchored in reality and have the quintessential low-tech charm of traditional jeans.

Someone with equal passion for the subject is denim and style expert Brix Smith Start. “Jeans are the most important part of a wardrobe,” she says. “They’re part of your daily uniform. The way you wear your jeans is an expression of your unique personal style.”

Brix stresses the importance of knowing what to try on. “Be honest with yourself about what looks good and what feels good to you,” she says.

We enlisted Masaaki and his technical prowess and Brix with her style expertise to help us gauge the three integral factors to jeans: fit, finish, and fabric; and help navigate us to the perfect pair.


Finding the perfect harmony between wash and treatment

UNIQLO strives to find the equilibrium between dyeing and treatment. “The key is to make sure that it looks natural,” says Masaaki. “Even the destruction has to look natural. So for everybody who is involved in creating these jeans, they’re all on the same page, they all follow the same concept of, you know, keeping things looking natural. The designers, the wash technicians, even in the factories. And I mean one thing for example is you’re not going to open any holes in a place that a hole would never open if you were just wearing your jeans.” “You can do so many things with washes,” Brix says. “The wash is so important, because the wash can slim your silhouette. You can take off inches and pounds by getting the wash right for your body.