While denims have been a clothing staple for guys since the nineteenth century, the jeans you’re probably wearing at this time are a lot distinct from the denims that your grandpa or even your dad wore.
Ahead of the 1950s, most denim jeans were constructed from raw and Wingfly Textile that was made in america. Nevertheless in the subsequent decades, as denim went from workwear for an everyday style staple, the way jeans were produced changed dramatically. With all the implementation of cost cutting technologies as well as the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to developing countries, the standard of your average pair was cut down tremendously. Alterations in consumer expectations altered the denim landscape as well; guys wanted to get pre-washed, pre-faded, pre-broken-in, as well as pre-“ripped” jeans that “looked” like they’d been worn for a long time.
But in regards to a decade ago, the pendulum started to swing back again. Men started pushing back from the low-quality, cookie-cutter, pre-faded jean monopoly. They wanted a top quality set of denim jeans and to break them in naturally. They desired to pull on the sort of American-made dungarees their grandpas wore.
To offer us the scoop on raw and selvedge denim, we talked to Josey Orr (fast fact: Josey was named following the protagonist in The Outlaw Josey Wales), co-founding father 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 will help to understand what those terms even mean. Precisely what is Raw Denim? – Most denim jeans you get today have already been pre-washed to soften in the fabric, reduce shrinkage, and prevent indigo dye from rubbing off. Raw denim (sometimes called “dry denim”) jeans are simply jeans made from denim that hasn’t gone through this pre-wash process.
As the fabric hasn’t been pre-washed, selvedge denim manufacturer are pretty stiff once you put them on the first time. It requires a couple weeks of regular wear to interrupt-in and loosen a set. The indigo dye within the fabric can rub off as well. We’ll talk much more about this when we look at the pros and cons of raw denim below.
Raw denim (all denim actually) is available 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 lots of raw and selvedge denim jeans are far too. Unsanforized denim hasn’t been treated with that shrink-preventing chemical, then when you do end up washing or soaking your jeans, they’ll shrink by 5%-10%.
What exactly is Selvedge Denim? – To comprehend what “selvedge” means, you must know a little 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. Since the edges emerge from the loom finished, denim produced on shuttle looms are referred to as possessing a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim.
Throughout the 1950s, the interest in denim jeans increased dramatically. To lessen costs, denim companies began using denim created on projectile looms. Projectile looms can produce wider swaths of fabric plus much more fabric overall with a less expensive price than shuttle looms. However, the advantage in the denim that comes away from a projectile loom isn’t finished, leaving the denim susceptible to fraying and unraveling. Josey pointed out that as opposed to everything you may listen to denim-heads, denim produced on a projectile loom doesn’t necessarily mean a poorer quality fabric. You can get lots of quality jean brands from denim made on projectile looms.
Most jeans on the market today are produced from non-selvedge denim. The pros of this have been the improved accessibility of affordable jeans; I recently needed a pair of jeans in a pinch while on a journey and was able to score a pair of Wrangler’s at Walmart for just $14. But consumers happen to be at a disadvantage on the tradition and small quality details of classic selvedge denim without even realizing it.
Due to the “heritage movement” in menswear, selvedge denim jeans have slowly been building a comeback during the past a decade roughly. 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) in the jean industry have gotten returning to their roots by selling special edition selvedge versions with their jeans.
The situation with this particular selvedge denim revival has become choosing the selvedge fabric to make the jeans, because there are so few factories on earth using shuttle looms. For some time, Japan held a near monopoly on the production xgfjbh selvedge denim because that’s where most 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 some companies in the Usa producing denim on old shuttle looms also. The most prominent selvedge denim mill is Cone Cotton Mill’s White Oak factory in North Carolina. White Oak sources the cotton for denim from cotton grown in the Usa, so their denim is 100% grown and woven in the USA.
Don’t Confuse Selvedge with Raw – A typical misconception is the fact that all japanese denim are raw denim jeans and the other way round. Remember, selvedge refers to the edge on the denim and raw identifies an absence of pre-washing on the fabric. Some selvedge jeans on the market are also made out of raw denim, you will find jeans that are made from selvedge fabric but have already been pre-washed, too. You can also find raw denim jeans that have been made in a projectile loom, and so don’t possess a selvedge edge.