Raw Denim
October 27, 2006 9:27 AM   Subscribe

Yay, raw denim!

There's a lot of denimheads over at my preferred hangout, StyleForum, in the Denim and Streetwear Forum.

But there's a lot to be obsessed with! I mean, check out how obsessed this little jeans guy is as Nudie Jeans explains how to (not) take care of your raw jeans. Or just find out how they're made.

And there's really nothing to give you an idea of how nicely raw denim can wear than the My Nudies Selvage Gallery. (Sorry that's all so Nudies-heavy, but those were the ones I was looking at recently.)

(If you're still wondering what the heck raw denim is: When you buy jeans at the Gap, and they've got sandblasting and whiskering and other distressed effects, you're buying jeans that simulate how jeans wear on their own. Raw or dry denim is denim that hasn't even been stonewashed; as you wear it and wear it and wear it (and wash it as infrequently as possible, since there's also nothing holding that indigo dye in), you get the same effect, but based on your body and the way you wear your jeans.)

Jeans not your thing? Your bespoke shoes and button-down collars might feel more at home at the Ask Andy About Clothes forums, where they divide themselves up into trad and really, really trad.
posted by mendel at 10:04 AM on October 27, 2006

Crap, that first URL was meant to be styleforum.net, not .com. Sorry.
posted by mendel at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2006

Jeez, I managed to screw up TWO urls? The Ask Andy About Clothes forums.

Hey, I wonder what that "Preview" button does?
posted by mendel at 10:15 AM on October 27, 2006

While I'm monopolizing the thread: While a lot of jeans companies that sell raw denim (Nudie, APC, Seven For All Mankind, G-Star, Edwin, Citizens of Humanity, Rock & Republic, etc.) price their jeans above $100/pair, you can do your own raw denim experiment with a $30 pair of shrink-to-fit Levi's 501s. Just remember to buy 'em big, and stay off the white couch!
posted by mendel at 10:26 AM on October 27, 2006

mendel, have you been waiting a long time for someone to make a post about denim? Awesome links.
posted by chunking express at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2006

Hah, no, I'm just on the edge of becoming one of those seriously obsessed people. :-)
posted by mendel at 10:35 AM on October 27, 2006

Is this something more than a hipster fad?
posted by unmake at 11:02 AM on October 27, 2006

Is that comment something more than faddish anti-hipsterism?
posted by gigawhat? at 11:14 AM on October 27, 2006

Is that comment something more than anti-faddish anti-hipsterism-ism?

These people are crazy, though. This is what you do with new jeans: sleep in them for a few nights to break them in, then never ever throw them away.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:21 AM on October 27, 2006

I think it's a fad in Japan. Not 100% sure. My friend who sent me the link is more obsessed with the forum than I am. There is a lot of crazy stuff going on there though.
posted by chunking express at 11:23 AM on October 27, 2006

unmake: Well, all jeans begin as dry denim. Some of them get sold that way, and some are treated at the factory to look like they've been worn for years already. It's not a new thing for denim geeks to like buying dry denim so that the wear marks are from actual wear, and it's not a new thing to be able to buy jeans that look worn-in and not just stonewashed or enzyme-treated.

What I find neat about dry denim is that most people have long since forgotten what "new jeans" looked and felt like; all you've been able to buy at the Gap or Target for the last few decades has been worn in for you.

Of course, farmers and railway workers* have been buying dry denim as workwear all along. That's why there's shrink-to-fit 501s, after all.

So I don't think it is much of a hipster fad, except that now you're seeing what the denim-obsessive do to get jeans that end up looking like off-the-shelf pre-worn jeans, but personalized and with a story. And those jeans you see on the gallery I linked have been wearing in for years. The discomfort and patience dry denim takes strikes me as more anti-consumer than faddish. It's as close to making your own jeans as you can get.

(You want a hipster fad, though, I'll give you one: Some folks into dry denim carry round Altoids Sours tins in the same pocket whenever they go out, to get a circular fade spot at the bottom of the pocket that looks like a snuff container. No-one else takes these people seriously.)

* My uncle is a railroad worker on CN's Great Lakes bridge crew and is the type to wear dry 501s. It took me a while to appreciate dry denim because I had a hard time shaking that image!
posted by mendel at 11:32 AM on October 27, 2006

Thank you for all the great links, Mendel. There goes my next three paychecks.
posted by Bageena at 11:41 AM on October 27, 2006

Had a friend that used to buy jeans from Camden that actually had been pre-worn. One of the things she liked about them was they evoked a story. She could tell where the previous owner kept their cigarette packet, how much loose change he'd carry, where he kept his keys etc. She said it turned her on to think about it. Yuck second hand clothes are for poor people.
posted by econous at 12:20 PM on October 27, 2006

econus: You're completely wrong. Almost everything I own is used, clothes, furniture, electronics, musical instruments.

Uppitiness costs money, so I guess it's for richers.
posted by sonofsamiam at 12:30 PM on October 27, 2006

Blue jean dye kills cancer cells.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:52 PM on October 27, 2006

What I want to know is who's figured out how to make denim with the power to levitate minerals and accelerate plant growth?

Thanks, Oriole Adams.
posted by Opposite George at 1:14 PM on October 27, 2006

sonofsiamese sorry mate, can't quite see my error. Could it be that smelly poor people aren't the only kind of 'person' to frequent second shops? I don't disagree, in fact I've known a number of 'actual' people to do the same, but only to deprive the poor. I have myself driven past a Wal*Mart! Crazy fun, what!
posted by econous at 1:46 PM on October 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

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