The next few posts I plan on giving some details about the different components of my wardrobe.
Quick disclaimer: I don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to raw/selvedge denim and did my best to make sure all the information regarding raw denim provided here is accurate, if anything is incorrect just let me know.
What is raw/selvedge denim?
Where I’m from, most people don’t know what raw denim is. Those who do, generally see it as some next level sorcery fashion stuff. I wont dive too deep into the rabbit hole of raw denim, just far enough for you to understand the benefits I saw in wearing raw denim. I’m pulling the following two definitions from Heddels.com, which is a great place to learn more about raw denim and other durable goods if you’re interested.
Selvedge denim – “The selvedge refers to the white edge of a piece of fabric that secures the edge of the fabric and prevents unraveling. Selvedge denim are made out of denim woven on an old-style shuttle loom with a continuous weft and a narrow width (usually around thirty inches).” – Heddels
Raw denim – “Raw denim, also known as dry or unwashed denim, is denim that has not undergone any of the usual washing and distressing processes. It comes straight off the loom and is cut and sewn into jeans and then sold to you. It is stiff with a deep blue color and has a distinctive sheen. Raw denim allows the wearer to personalize the pants for his/her unique shape, with creases and fade marks forming to his/her body type.” – Heddels
Heddels goes on to explain that this was how jeans were originally made; (go ask your grandpa if you don’t believe me) fresh off the loom, unwashed, stiff, and full of dye and starch.
Generally speaking, raw denim is supposed to be more durable, and last longer than denim you’d buy at the mall. Also, with prolonged use, there begins to be a “fading effect”.
Why I decided to wear it
When deciding my wardrobe, I was going to go with some nice and easy Levi’s. But long story short, I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for and begun scouring every brand of pants, jeans, and corduroy I could get my hands on.
A little backstory – While an intern in Denver the previous summer, I was educated on the wonders of raw denim from a co-worker. He told me, “When you wear raw denim, it eventually will tell a story about you, where you’ve been, what you’ve done.” I can’t say it was in this moment that I was sold, he also told me that medium-high end raw denim can cost anywhere from $150–$300+. However I liked the concept behind wearing raw denim, the story.
I was about out of options for what kind of pants I would wear. I had decided on a pair of Levi’s 511’s because they were a slimmer fit, I found five of the exact same pair at a Rack, and they were all a dark indigo. I had purchased them and everything when a couple days later, on a whim, I decided to go checkout the pants at Gap.
I found one pair of my jeans (on double clearance), tried them on, and knew these were the jeans I’d wear. It took some time tracking the remain pairs down but when it was all said and done I only paid $20 for each pair. Quite a steal considering they were selling them on their website for full retail of $108.
Apart from that, I realized, to wear the same thing everyday, and see a physical change, would be more meaningful. “Started from the bottom now we’re here” mentality.
What I wear
I bought mine summer 2016 direct from the store. They don’t say they are “STRETCH” like Gap’s website does now, so I’m assuming that I got an older model.
These jeans are considered by raw denim “experts” to be, “Entry Level” raw denim, which is generally anything under $150 or from a major corporation like Gap. Generally speaking raw denim will come from companies specializing in just that, raw.
I’ve worn only two of my six pairs of jeans. I haven’t washed either of them, make sure to hang them up (folding them is bad for fading), avoid lots of water, and obviously, wear them as much as possible. In April, I plan on giving them their first wash at the six month mark.