Mens Fashion Talk – Selvedge Denim

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I truly enjoy observing mens fashion trends.  I like checking to see what styles are coming out and how different companies put things together.  Through it all, there is one thing that stands out in all online and in store styles – it’s denim.  At the present moment, we are living in a society where jeans are casual, laid back and can be considered work wear.  So denim is not only a staple in any man’s closet but something of an investment.

What is Selvedge Denim?

Currently there is a trend of purchasing only one pair of denim and wearing them daily without washing.  The jeans that are being purchased are raw unwashed denim.  This denim is characteristically a very dark navy blue color, has no visual wear or usage, stiff, which makes them hard to put on at first, and somewhat heavy.  These jeans are untouched and in a virgin state after being naturally dyed.  Meaning that you will be the first to break them in.  They are not going to be pre washed and pre shrunk.  These jeans were meant to have you stretch them out with everyday wear and constant movement.  After a couple of days the denim begins to break down and get softer and more comfortable with each daily use.

The jeans are also priced higher than the pre-washed and pre-shrunk denims that are sold at all major retailers.  They cost more because the raw unwashed denim is constructed with exceptional quality.  The brands pay strict attention to details such as rivets, seams, the cut of the jean, natural dyes used, as well as where the denim comes from and how it was produced.  The most popular styles for raw selvedge denim are usually slim and skinny, although there are also some relaxed fits.

How I Became Interested With Raw Selvedge Denim

During my college years I worked in fashion retail.  During this time a friend introduced me to a brand called “Diesel.”  This was the first time I was exposed to purchasing denim over $100.00.  I was stunned at first, but still inclined to purchase a pair of Diesel “Kurrat” due to how it fit, felt, and looked.  I paid $125.oo for them. They were a slim selvedge cut and the denim was in a raw state.  This was my first experience with unwashed denim.  These jeans were the stiffest and heaviest I had ever tried on and it took a of bit wiggling to get into them.  The salesperson insisted that I purchase one size smaller than my normal waist size because they would stretch.  I ignored them, thinking to myself I needed to be comfortable for the price I was paying.  From that moment, I was hooked.  I loved the selvedge fold when I cuffed my jeans and also, I noticed that I was unable to find a fit like this from any other denim brand that I had tried on previously.  A couple of weeks in, I regretted purchasing my true size and should have purchased one size smaller.  The jeans did end up stretching and with everyday wear they kept stretching a bit more and more.  Ultimately they ended up being my favorite and I pretty much disregarded my other jeans. I narrowed it down to just that pair until minor holes were being formed and fades started appearing.

(Note: Not all selvedge denim needs to come in a raw, unwashed, stiff state.  I have seen selvedge denim that is soft and easier to break in.  Some even have stretch material blended with the denim.)

Fading

Fading was one aspect I really enjoyed about raw denim.  The more stress and strain I would put on the jean, the more it stretched and the more fading would occur.  The most noticeable fades will usually start behind the knees and they will have a “honeycomb” look to them.  After that, the thighs will start to whisker and the knees will begin to get lighter.  Additionally, your back pockets will also start to fade from rubbing on surfaces and may start to shadow your wallet and keys.

After witnessing these  changes I started to looking at the jeans as art and was anticipating breaking them in even more.  I never washed my Diesel Kurrat nor any other selvedge denim after them.  I wore the Kurrat consistently for about 4 months, everyday.  After a while I got interested in more selvedge denim and was eager to purchase additional pairs.  My routine usually lasts for about 6 months tops for all my jeans.  I purchase two at a time: one dark selvedge and one a tad lighter, and I wear the both of them in turn.

Brands that I personally suggest and have purchased include,

  • A.P.C.
  • Naked & Famous
  • Nudie Jeans
  • Levi’s Capital E
  • Raleigh Jeans
  • 3Sixteen
  • Levi’s Made & Crafted
  • Unbranded

I have purchased all these in the past and can say that they all blew me away.  There’s this sense of excitement when I first put them on and attempt to attach the top button and then move.  Each brand was also purchased in different cuts, styles and even colors but stayed true to the non washed raw state for every one.

My suggestions for your first pair

If you ask me if there is one I think you should invest in, I would  say: A.P.C., Naked & Famous, or Unbranded Denim.  Remember to size down one size, as they will stretch.

What is the price point for raw selvedge denim?

$78.00-250.00+ (also depending on where you shop)  The lower price starts with Unbranded Denim and works it way up to Raleigh denim being around $250.00.

Final Thoughts

In closing, if you are looking for some new jeans, I suggest purchasing a pair of raw selvedge denim.  A bonus to purchasing these jeans is the high demand for used selvedge denim.  You are able to wear them out and still make about 50% of your money back by selling them on eBay or finding someone who specializes in purchasing used raw selvedge denim.  You will be surprised at how people in Asia are crazy about it.  I have always made some money back on my old jeans and used it to purchase new ones.

For more about Raw / Selvedge Denim click here

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