What is raw denim?
As you might have guessed. We pride ourselves in only working with raw denim. But what is it?
Most jeans that you have purchased through life will have a pre-washed or “distressed” look that comes right when you buy them off the shelf.
This means that the denim won’t stretch or change much because it already has the features of a pair that has been worn for a long period of time.
This in turn, takes away the personal characteristics of wearing a pair of denims from the start to create those personal fades, we denim-heads are striving for.
That is why you should buy a pair of raw jeans.
So in general, raw denim, is untreated denim cotton except for perhaps a sanforization process, which we will go through later here.
Selvedge, selvage or selfedge denim?
Selvedge denim is made using vintage low speed looms called “shuttle looms”.
Basically “selvedge” is the technical term for the narrow, tightly woven self-finished edges.
These edges arise when denim manufactures use the old school shuttle looms.
This creates these natural ends on each side, and prevents it from fraying or unraveling.
Shooting a shuttle loaded with the weft thread, back and forth during weaving without cutting the thread, creates the selvedge.
Shuttle looms are slower, louder and require the skill of master artisans to operate.
The end result is a denim with a hand woven feel that cannot be mass produced.
Sanforized vs unsanforized denim
This is a question we get a lot since we occasionally have “unsanforized” denim.
Raw denim comes in two types:
Unsanforized is a rough raw denim that will shrink a few inches when it is first soaked, hence some aptly named “Shrink-To-Fit” denim.
Sanforized denims are generally considered to be “pre-shrunk”, and will not shrink as much.
Although, every raw denim fabric shrinks around 2-3 percent after the first wash or initial soak.
First wash after 6 months?!
There have been many questions about this, regarding why you shouldn’t wash your raw jeans at first.
In general we recommend not washing them before 6 months, mainly because the fade potential decreases since you wash out all the indigo dye.
Since the yarn is dipped in “indigo-dye” the indigo is not 100% absorbed into the material.
And if you wash it, you’ll loose that blue/black color before it has time to create fades.
If you feel the jeans are starting to smell.
Apply a light cleaning spray, or simply hang your jeans outside for 24 hours, or put them in the freezer… Yeah, the freezer.
Denim weight is the weight of the fabric per square yard measured in ounce.
Some people may look at a pair of 10 OZ stretch denim and believe it’s the same as wearing a pair of 17 OZ denim.
Most people that are used to wearing lighter denim might have a hard time buying heavier denims.
But fear not even a heavyweight pair will become comfortable over time.
Heavier denims will create better fades.
Heavyweight denim will be a real commitment and could take weeks even months to break in.
They won’t feel great wearing and takes a real denim head to master.
Although the fades that can come out of them will be astonishing.