Originally Posted by Rev
DENIM EDU and FAQ for the Denim Newb:
Feel free to PM me to add any info you think should be here, I'd like to keep updating this for everyone who is interested in dry denim to be able to read.
What is dry/raw/unwashed denim?
All those terms basically mean the same thing. Dry, raw, unwashed all mean denim that has been sewn together to make a jean and has not touched water. The indigo used to dye the thread is still on the jean unlike every other jean you see in the store that has been pre-washed or pre-distressed (ie. Abercrombie/Hollister) to look a certain way.
What is the F**king point?
The thing people seem to remember about dry denim is the "6 month rule," which is actually quite arbitrary. Dry denim is very stiff and when you wear it it will crease and fade according to your lifestyle ie. knee fades, crotch fades and tears, thigh fades, thigh creases, honeycombs behind the knees, whiskers etc. etc.
After a certain period of wear (ie. 6 months) you wash your jeans finally rinse the extra indigo off your jeans (not all of it mind you, but a good amount). The indigo will bleed out most out of all these creases and damage marks and less along the non-worn parts of the jean, which will create a great conrast and create a jean similar to the ones you see in stores already pre-distressed, except better. Much better, more unique, cooler and specific to you.
Really 6 months? Dude, won't that stink?
6 months is an arbitrary rule. My Nudie Even Stevens could have been washed around 4 months, but I didn't, and still haven't, and they're going on 9 months at this point. Wash them when it feels right, when you see really obvious creases and wear and all that. If you wear them once a week in 6 months you won't see shit. You wear them all week for 3 months you will probably see some great wear.
About the smell. I have never run into a smell in my dry denim, nor has anyone I know, but if you do, people say you can soak them in the bath filled with water, which will lose a bit of indigo but not a lot like in the washing machine. You can put them in the freeze or hang them outside, febreeze them etc. I have never really ran into anyone who has had this problem and I have worked in extreme heat with my dry denim and they don't smell at all.
Okay, I'm interested. What brands do I start with?
The gateway jean of dry denim is generally Nudies (www.nudiejeans.com). They have a variety of fits and casts. The most popular are probably Regular Ralf (Regular Alf) and Slim Jim. Ralf is a pretty normal fitting semi-bootcut jean while Slim Jims are what they sound like. Nudies have tons of fits for every body type.
After that people move on, perhaps to APC, (A.P.C.) generally the New Standards. These are a great jean but you must size down 2-3 sizes as these jeans will stretch like a motherfucker. The general rule for dry denim is buy the pair you can BARELY button on when you try them on, as they will stretch when you wear them!! THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!
From there it's up up and up, Samurai, Imperial, Flathead, Ironheart, Pure Blue Japan, Iron Army, Studio D'Artisan, Dior Homme etc. etc.
www.mynudies.com -- check out photos/forums
superfuture -- check out supertalk/denim, read stickies.
www.nudiejeans.com -- buy some nudies
CONTEXT CLOTHING -- buy jeans (1sttimer discount 25% off)
True Religion Jeans, Juicy Couture, Seven Jeans, Citizens of Humanity at Revolve Clothing -- buy some jeans
Common Dry Denim Terms
Sanforized vs. Unsanforized
Sanforized basically means pre-shrunk. The denim thread is shrunk before the jean is woven. Unsanforized means the opposite. If a pair of jeans is unsanforized you will have to soak them in the bath tub before you wear them to get a correct size. A good example of this are Levis 501 Shrink To Fit you can buy for like 30 bucks. If your normal size is 30x34 you will want to buy 31x36 or 32x37, soak them in the bathtub, let them dry, and then they will shrink down to your normal size. Every brand is different in the amount they shrink.
Stacking, Hemming and Inseams, Oh my!Dry denim generally comes pretty long in the inseam (34/36/3 and a lot of people are wondering what the fuck to do with all the extra length! Well you have a few options. Hemming, which a tailor can do for you, which is generally not what most wearers like to do. Most people will stack, which means to take all the extra inseam fabric and push it down to your ankles, continuously, until the jean is soft enough and broken in enough that it all "stacks" there above your shoes. Only really practical for jeans that are slim or tapered.
Pictured - Dior 19cm Raws - (no idea how long worn, check the stacks at his ankles)
Selvege denim is "higher quality" denim with red stitching in the inner seam down the leg. It is a jean woven continuously in a method that creates a "self edge" on every seam of the jean. This is how all jeans used to be made until new looms were invented that made jeans faster and cheaper. Now we have to pay extra for it. Selvedge can be more difficult to fade.
Pictured: Nudie - Regular Ralf Dry Selvage (washed after a year)
Japanese denim. Very popular and high quality while not being selvege. Fades generally quite nicely and quickly and is very popular. For example, Dior dry denim Japan is much more popular than the Italian version of the same pant.
Pictured - Nudie - Slim Jim Dry Japan (2 years, washes ?)
Greycast is very popular in Nudie jeans and has a different hue than your traditional indigo, more greyish/green. It's a personal taste thing, look at photos if you want to check out the differences online if you need help deciding.
Pictured - Nudie - Regular Ralf Dry Greycast (11 months, washed twice)
Dry coated are almost like waxed jeans. I don't know what the coating is precisely but Nudie has some Thin Finn and Slim Jims in Dry Black Coated and they basically shine up like leather pants but from what I hear when you wash them the coating goes away and you have black jeans. They are pretty hip until that point though.
Pictured - Nudie - Thin Finn Dry Black Coated (Nudie booklet promo shot)
Duh, organic denim. Maybe organic dyed, it depends on the brand. Started in a similar look to Greycast, greenish tint, but has branched out since. For the "Green" conscious.
Pictured - Nudie - Even Steven Dry Organic (5 months)
The accordion looking wear patterns behind your knee. Increased by wearing your jeans tight.
The wear around the top of your thighs by your zipper.
Soak vs Wash
Soaking a jean will result in indigo loss, but not like a wash. In a wash the detergent and the abrasions of the actual action of the wash will result in a lot of indigo loss. If you need to soak your jeans it's not that big of a deal, and don't freak out when the tub water turns blue. Soaking is generally used to remove massive amount of dirt or something without washing your pants, or to shrink your jeans.
Starching jeans is a method a lot of kids use to stiffen their jeans and increase the wear in the creases. Bad starch jobs are obvious, as most of the jean is unfaded while the honeycombs and whiskers are almost white in their abrasions. Frowned upon by most denimheads.
Rain and your jeans
Don't sweat it. Rain won't ruin your jeans. Nothing will ever really RUIN your jeans, aside from setting them aflame. Rain will cause a bit of indigo loss, but that's about it, it's nothing serious, especially on a hardcore pair of jeans. Just let them dry and you'll be fine.