While denim jeans have been a clothing staple for males since the 19th century, the jeans you’re probably wearing today are a lot distinct from the denim jeans that your grandpa or even your dad wore.
Prior to the 1950s, most denim jeans were crafted from raw and selvedge denim factory which was made in the usa. However in the subsequent decades, as denim went from workwear for an everyday style staple, the way in which jeans were produced changed dramatically. Using the implementation of cost cutting technologies and also the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to developing countries, the quality of your average pair was greatly reduced. Alterations in consumer expectations altered the denim landscape also; guys wanted to grab pre-washed, pre-faded, pre-broken-in, and even pre-“ripped” jeans that “looked” like they’d been worn for many years.
But regarding a decade ago, the pendulum started to swing back again. Men started pushing back against the low-quality, cookie-cutter, pre-faded jean monopoly. They wanted an excellent pair of denim jeans as well as break them in naturally. They wished to pull on the kind 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 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 can help to be aware what those terms even mean. What is Raw Denim? – Most denim jeans you get today happen to be pre-washed to soften the fabric, reduce shrinkage, and stop indigo dye from rubbing off. Raw denim (sometimes called “dry denim”) jeans are simply jeans produced from denim that hasn’t been through this pre-wash process.
Since the fabric hasn’t been pre-washed, selvedge denim jeans are pretty stiff whenever you place them on the first-time. It requires a few weeks of regular wear to get rid of-in and loosen a pair. The indigo dye in the fabric can rub off as well. We’ll talk more about this whenever we review the pros and cons of raw denim below.
Raw denim (all denim actually) will come 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 many raw and selvedge denim jeans are far too. Unsanforized denim hasn’t been addressed with that shrink-preventing chemical, so when one does find yourself washing or soaking your jeans, they’ll shrink by 5%-10%.
Precisely what is Selvedge Denim? – To know what “selvedge” means, you must understand 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 edges on these strips of fabric come completed tightly woven bands running down both sides that prevent fraying, raveling, or curling. As the edges come out of the loom finished, denim produced on shuttle looms are referred to as having a “self-edge,” hence the name “selvedge” denim.
During the 1950s, the need for 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 a lot more fabric overall in a less costly price than shuttle looms. However, the edge in the denim which comes out of a projectile loom isn’t finished, leaving the denim vunerable to fraying and unraveling. Josey pointed out that in contrast to what you may listen to denim-heads, denim produced on the projectile loom doesn’t necessarily equate to 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 made of non-selvedge denim. The benefits with this happen to be the improved accessibility of affordable jeans; I recently 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 happen to be missing out on the tradition and small quality information on classic selvedge denim without knowing it.
Due to the “heritage movement” in menswear, selvedge denim jeans have slowly been building a comeback during the past 10 years or so. Several small, independent jeans companies have sprouted up (like Dyer and Jenkins) selling selvedge denim jeans. Even some of the Big Boys (Levis, Lee’s) in the jean industry have gotten to their roots by selling special edition selvedge versions of the jeans.
The situation with this selvedge denim revival continues to be locating the selvedge fabric to help make the jeans, because there are so few factories on the planet using shuttle looms. For quite a while, 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 time now.
But there are some companies in the Usa producing denim on old shuttle looms as well. By far the most prominent selvedge denim mill is Cone Cotton Mill’s White Oak factory in N . C .. White Oak sources the cotton for his or her denim from cotton grown within the United states, so their denim is 100% grown and woven in the united states.
Don’t Confuse Selvedge with Raw – A common misconception is that all selvedge denim wholesale are raw denim jeans and vice versa. Remember, selvedge refers to the edge on the denim and raw refers to too little pre-washing on the fabric. While many selvedge jeans on the market can also be created using raw denim, you can find jeans that are made of selvedge fabric but happen to be pre-washed, too. You can also get raw denim jeans which were made in a projectile loom, and therefore don’t have a selvedge edge.