This is a starter guide for everyone- more material and pictures will be added. Thanks for everyone who helped out in this guide. (Jskidder, Hisma, Sigmatic, Tsukasa, iluvshopin, Nova, and Superfuture helpers- all have been wonderful).
+ Point of Raw Denim (aka dry, unwashed)?
Simple. Buy an unwashed pair of denim and as you wear them more and more you watch the denim progress. Usually with denim like 7 for All Mankind and Rock and Republic, the denim goes through series of washing process to give it a worn look. Raw denim is unwashed before being sold. With wear, the denim loosens and fades which will form to your body. With every wear, creases will form and eventually indigo rubs off. The color will fade creating patterns. This is typical in higher stress areas such as whiskers (upper thigh creases), honeycombs (behind the knee creases), and down the thigh to the knee. You are creating what is seen on a typical wash on many designer jeans (since many washes try to mimic a natural fade).
Some great examples of progress are here and here.
1st day of full wear on Sling & Stones Rachels
+ One Wash? Rinsed?
One wash has many characteristics of raw denim. Raw denim comes untreated and unwashed while a one wash denim could used to be raw but have been washed once and shrunk. One-wash denim is typically referring to raw denim that has been washed one time before being sold in order to eliminate the shrinkage and the need for a soak once purchased. Also, it will still fade exactly like any other raws. Rinsed denim is something quite different in which the indigo is locked in and they will not produce fades. An example of one-wash would be some of the one-wash models of skull, pbj and such that Blue in Green sells. One-wash jeans are basically produced to simplify the process of buying and wearing raw denim and to ensure a proper fit and consistent sizing since when buying raw unsanforized pairs the post-soak measurements will vary based on the method of soaking. An example of a rinsed denim would be like 88z or 8aa in diesel where the denim appears raw but is actually treated and will stay dark forever.
Washed denim have been rinsed, with either additional washing, fake distressing, or forced fades.
Selvage (or Selvedge, Self-edge) is a type of denim made on a vintage narrow loom which creates the unique edges that is typically used on the out seams of jeans. Selvage denim is put together on an old style shuttle loom. The result is a clean edge on where the denim fabric is stitched together that can't by frayed like non-selvage, and give the jeans a more natural look. Shuttle looms which make selvage denim are smaller and produce fabric which is narrower (about 23”) than wide looms. selvage looms also use one long weft thread and loop it back while weaving, while the wider ones use multiple weft threads which aren't connected 0 thus the need for the stitching on the end to keep it from unraveling. Selvage is just an indicator of the weaving technique used and less so the size of the loom. Selvage does not affect the quality of the denim. So why do some jeans have selvage and some don’t? Well it is easier and cheaper for companies to make non-selvage than selvage. The selvage stitching is located inside the jeans, and can be seen when the cuff is turned up (the outseam). The selvage can be any color thread – from red, blue, green, etc.
+ Japanese Denim
Japanese denim usually comes in heavier and better quality than western denim makes. Japanese denim is very popular and generally favored upon.
Sanforizing the denim is the process of evening out the shrinkage and has no effect on the color or quality. When the denim is sanforized, it is already shrunk for you. Most denim now is sanforized so when you finally wash the denim it shouldn’t shrink that much. Some Japanese denim are unsanforized, they are shrink to fit. Unsanforized denim should be soaked BEFORE you wear them, that way you shrink them down ahead of time so you won't have uneven fades when you eventually wash them. Also, the denim will stretch with wear (less than 10%). Every brand is different.
When you want to make your jeans stiffer or add sharper creases to your denim, you apply the starch while wearing them and spray the water until your jeans are damp. Sometimes starching is frowned upon because of bad odor that will remain in your jeans.
+ Loss of Indigo
Wearing raws can bleed some indigo with first couple of wears. Different jeans have different tendencies with the bleeding. Be careful wearing whites and light colors as they will stain. To keep them coming off your shoes, tape around the inside of the leg opening on the jeans to help eliminate the dye. You can try soaking the waist and leg opening with water to avoid the bleeding. If you already have indigo on your shoes or clothing, a simply wash should take it right out.
+ Washing & Soaking
There are several methods for washing. Most recommend if you wear your jeans constantly wait at least 6 months to wash them in hot water with detergent then hang dry them. Another method is to wear them into the ocean (not dirty oceans!) and then rinse them out with fresh (non salted) water and hang dry them. While you do not have to wait so long to wash your jeans, you will get the highest contrast fades if you wait since when you wash them the creases you created will be washed out and you might not get the creases in the same place, thus slowing down the fading. If your jeans aren’t that dirty, try soaking them instead. What does soaking do? Soaking cleans the denim, shrinks, and removes starch. Fill a bath tub full of water and lay the jeans inside out flat to float. Place bottles or something heavy on each leg and side to sink the jeans. The hotter the water, the more they will shrink. If your jeans aren’t that dirty but just stink, fabreeze them.
Raw denim usually comes with very long inseams. If you have lots of stacking or unwanted length, it is suggested that you soak them to shrink and dry BEFORE HEMMING. Depending on the denim, you can lose 2 inches off the original inseam. While you wear the jeans for extended periods of time without washing, the creasing will eat up the inseam as well. So even if you soak or wash them before hemming, you should still allow an extra inch at least. Hemming by a professional tailor should be your last option. Stacking (taking all the extra length and pushing it down to your ankles to make them break and settle) or cuffing the hems are a nice alternative to hemming. It is not recommended to put jeans into dryer unless you want them to shrink radically and create wrinkles. Be advised the fit can possibly mess up in the dryer as well.
April 77 1955 Overdrive- 39 inch inseam
Fit depends from brand, cut, etc. There is no real thumb for sizing! Most raw denim retailers will have that information for you. Not everyone wears their jeans the same, so sizing is hard to find for personal fit. It is recommended to go to blueingreen.com or selfedge.com for sizing info.
Bootcut- Slight flare to have room for boots
Tapered- Slim fit gets thinner all the way to the bottom
Straight leg- Evenly proportional. Jean is cut straight from the knees to the hem.
+ Popular Brands
-April 77 (unisex) - ($$$)
-Denimbirds - ($$)
-Nudie (some cuts) - ($$)
-Sling & Stones – ($$$)
-Good Society- ($)
-Cheap Mondays- ($)
-Cheap Mondays ($)
-Iron Heart ($$$)
-Skull – ($$$)
-Imperial - ($$$)
-Kicking Mule Workshop ($$)
-APC - ($$)
-The Flat Head - ($$$)
-Pure Blue Japan - ($$)
-Evisu - ($$$)
-Dior - ($$$$)
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