While denim jeans have been a clothing staple for guys since the 19th century, the jeans you’re probably wearing today are much distinct from the denim jeans that your grandpa or even your dad wore.
Ahead of the 1950s, most denim jeans were crafted from raw and selvedge denim which was made in the usa. However in the subsequent decades, as denim went from workwear with an everyday style staple, the way in which jeans were produced changed dramatically. With all the implementation of cost cutting technologies and also the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to developing countries, the standard of your average pair was greatly reduced. Modifications in consumer expectations altered the denim landscape also; guys wanted to pick up pre-washed, pre-faded, pre-broken-in, and also pre-“ripped” jeans that “looked” like they’d been worn for many years.
But regarding a decade ago, the pendulum begun to swing back again. Men started pushing back up against the low-quality, cookie-cutter, pre-faded jean monopoly. They wanted an excellent kind of denim jeans and to break them in naturally. They wanted to pull on the kind of American-made dungarees their grandpas wore.
To offer us the scoop on raw and selvedge denim, we spoke with Josey Orr (fast fact: Josey was named after the protagonist within the Outlaw Josey Wales), co-founder of Dyer and Jenkins, an L.A.-based company that’s producing raw and selvedge denim right here in the usa.
To first understand raw and selvedge denim jeans, it helps to be aware what those terms even mean. What is Raw Denim? – Most denim jeans you buy today have been pre-washed to soften up the fabric, reduce shrinkage, and stop indigo dye from rubbing off. Raw denim (sometimes called “dry denim”) jeans are just jeans created from denim that hasn’t been through this pre-wash process.
As the fabric hasn’t been pre-washed, japanese selvedge denim are pretty stiff whenever you place them on the first time. It takes a few weeks of regular wear to interrupt-in and loosen a set. The indigo dye within the fabric can rub off also. We’ll talk a little more about this whenever we go over the advantages and disadvantages of raw denim below.
Raw denim (all denim actually) comes in two types: sanforized or unsanforized. Sanforized denim has undergone a chemical treatment that prevents shrinkage once you wash your jeans. Most mass-produced jeans are sanforized, and several raw and selvedge denim jeans are far too. Unsanforized denim hasn’t been treated with that shrink-preventing chemical, when you do wind up washing or soaking your jeans, they’ll shrink by 5%-10%.
Precisely what is Selvedge Denim? – To understand what “selvedge” means, you must know a bit of history on fabric production. Ahead of the 1950s, most fabrics – including denim – were made on shuttle looms. Shuttle looms produce tightly woven strips (typically one yard wide) of heavy fabric. The sides on these strips of fabric come completed tightly woven bands running down either side that prevent fraying, raveling, or curling. As the edges emerge from the loom finished, denim produced on shuttle looms are called having a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim.
During the 1950s, the interest in denim jeans increased dramatically. To reduce costs, denim companies began using denim created on projectile looms. Projectile looms can produce wider swaths of fabric and much more fabric overall at a less costly price than shuttle looms. However, the advantage of the denim that comes out of a projectile loom isn’t finished, leaving the denim prone to fraying and unraveling. Josey remarked that as opposed to what you may hear from denim-heads, denim produced on the projectile loom doesn’t necessarily equate to a poorer quality fabric. You will find plenty of quality jean brands from denim made on projectile looms.
Most jeans on the market today are made from non-selvedge denim. The pros of the happen to be the improved accessibility of affordable jeans; Not long ago i needed a set of jeans in a pinch while on a journey and managed to score a couple of Wrangler’s at Walmart for just $14. But consumers have been at a disadvantage on the tradition and small quality information on classic selvedge denim without even realizing it.
Because of the “heritage movement” in menswear, selvedge denim jeans have slowly been making a comeback during the past ten years approximately. Several small, independent jeans companies have sprouted up (like Dyer and Jenkins) selling selvedge denim jeans. Even a few of the Big Boys (Levis, Lee’s) inside the jean industry have gotten back to their roots by selling special edition selvedge versions of the jeans.
The problem using this selvedge denim revival continues to be choosing the selvedge fabric to help make the jeans, as there are so few factories on earth using shuttle looms. For a while, Japan held a near monopoly on the production xgfjbh selvedge denim because that’s where a lot of the remaining shuttle looms are; the Japanese love everything post-WWII Americana, and they’ve been sporting 1950s-inspired selvedge denim jeans for a long period now.
But there are a few companies in the Usa producing denim on old shuttle looms as well. Probably the most prominent selvedge denim mill is Cone Cotton Mill’s White Oak factory in N . C .. White Oak sources the cotton for their denim from cotton grown inside the United states, so their denim is 100% grown and woven in the USA.
Don’t Confuse Selvedge with Raw – A common misconception is the fact that all selvedge denim wholesale are raw denim jeans and the other way round. Remember, selvedge refers to the edge on the denim and raw describes too little pre-washing on the fabric. While many selvedge jeans on the market will also be created using raw denim, you can get jeans that are produced from selvedge fabric but happen to be pre-washed, too. You can also get raw denim jeans that were made in a projectile loom, and therefore don’t have a selvedge edge.