Sugar Cane Selvedge denim Jeans Comparison: Okinawa vs Hawaii

Sugar Cane is a Japanese brand that specializes in producing high-quality selvedge denim jeans with a vintage feel. Some of their jeans are made from a blend of cotton and sugar cane fibers, which gives them a unique texture and character. The amino acids contained in sugarcane make denim have certain antibacterial, deodorizing, and antistatic properties, which is a differentiating point compared to other pure cotton denim. In this post, we will compare two of their popular models: the Okinawa and the Hawaii, to help you make an informed decision when choosing the perfect pair for yourself.

Before getting started, you might be wondering which indigo is used for these Sugar Cane jeans?

Both Ryukyu indigo and Hawaiian indigo are natural indigo. Let me briefly explain the production process with Ryukyu indigo. Ryukyu indigo is extracted from plants that are picked in the middle of the year and at the end of the year. The indigo leaves are immersed in water and allowed to rest until the pigment components seep out from both the leaves and stems. As time passes, the pigment components are slowly extracted. The duration of soaking should be adjusted based on the temperature and water temperature. After a sufficient amount of pigment has been extracted from the indigo leaves, lift them out and eliminate the foliage. Right after removing the indigo leaves, a delightful emerald green liquid is obtained.

Ryukyu indigo and Hawaii indigo are two different varieties of indigo plants that are grown in distinct regions and may exhibit variations in terms of their characteristics, cultivation methods, and cultural significance.

Sugar Cane Okinawa Jeans

Geographical Origin

Ryukyu indigo is primarily cultivated in the Ryukyu Islands, while Hawaii indigo refers to indigo plants grown in the Hawaiian Islands.


Ryukyu indigo is commonly derived from the Persicaria tinctoria plant, also known as Ryukyu ai. On the other hand, Hawaii indigo typically refers to Indigofera suffruticosa, a species that is native to tropical regions including Hawaii.

Cultivation and Climate

Ryukyu indigo is cultivated in a subtropical climate, requiring warm temperatures and high humidity. It is often grown as a perennial plant in well-drained soil. In contrast, Hawaii indigo is adapted to a tropical climate and can thrive in a wider range of soil types, including volcanic soil.

Cultural Significance

Ryukyu indigo has a long history in Japanese culture and traditional textile dyeing techniques, such as bingata. It is highly valued for its deep blue color and is considered a cultural heritage of the Ryukyu Islands. Hawaii indigo, although historically used for dyeing purposes in Hawaii, may not carry the same level of cultural significance as Ryukyu indigo.


The composition of the indigo pigments may vary between Ryukyu indigo and Hawaii indigo. The specific concentrations of indigo precursors, such as indican, and the resulting dye properties might differ, potentially influencing the final color achieved when dyeing textiles.

It’s important to note that there may be additional variations and factors involved in the cultivation and characteristics of Ryukyu indigo and Hawaii indigo, as different cultivars or local practices may also exist within each region.

Now let’s get down to business and talk about the similarities and differences between the two jeans.

They are both made from high-quality materials and have excellent details and features. Here are some of their commonalities:

  • The jeans are made from a 14oz denim with 50% cotton and 50% sugar cane fiber
  • Both are dyed with natural indigo and woven on old shuttle looms
  • The denims have a green line selvedge finish
  • The jeans are one-washed, which means they have been pre-shrunk and softened, but still retain some of the raw denim qualities.
  • This particular silhouette boasts a comfortable, classic fit with a regular straight shape based on the Levi’s 501XX 1947 iconic cut
  • One-washed
  • These jeans fit comparably to the Sugar Cane 1947s.

Both jeans are excellent examples of Japanese selvedge denim craftsmanship, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on your preference and style. Here are some key distinctions between two iconic jeans:

  • Hand sewn back pocket (green stitching vs yellow stitching)
  • Leather patch (A python leather, and the logo is painted in lacquer vs hair-on-hide leather with a Hawaiian turtle branded with a hot iron)
  • Inner pocket pattern
  • The Okinawa jeans have a darker and richer indigo color than the Hawaii jeans, which makes them more elegant and classic. However, they may also be less lively and less contrasty than the lighter and faded indigo color of the Hawaii jeans.
  • THe Hawaii’s fabric has a grainy feel which is far more ‘prickly’ to wear

In conclusion, both the Sugar Cane selvedge denim Okinawa and the Hawaii are great options for anyone who loves selvedge denim and vintage style. Both jeans exhibit exceptional quality, durability, and craftsmanship, making them worthwhile investments.

Momotaro Jeans 15th Anniversary Review: Embrace a Legacy of Superior Denim

What Makes the Studio D’Artisan 18oz “GODZILLA” selvedge jeans So Special

Kojima Genes RNB 102R Selvedge Denim Review: A Great Pair of Jeans for Everyday Wear


Stan is an adventure enthusiast with a love for the outdoors and American heritage brands like Red Wing and Filson. With a background in environmental science, Stan combines his outdoor experiences with a commitment to sustainability. His reviews go beyond functionality, exploring the brand ethos and craftsmanship. Stan inspires readers to choose gear that's durable, environmentally responsible, and true to American craftsmanship, making his advice indispensable for outdoor aficionados.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below and subscribe to our newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *