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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I figure the best way to start off this section is to dispell a lot of myths, give some tips, and explain what the hell dry denim is! Please feel free to add to the thread, and ask any questions you may have!

1. What the hell is dry denim, and why should I care?

Dry denim is the term for denim that hasn't been treated with anything, with sometimes the exception of some sort of pre-shrinking process (ie: Sanfordization).

Basically you have a pair of jeans that is rich with indigo. Very dark jeans. So what, you may ask? Well, the jeans are also going to be pretty stiff (adding starch can help make the jeans more stiff, if needed). When you wear them, creases will naturally form (namely on the front lap and the back of the knees).

And what's the big deal about these creases? Well, the creases will be places were there is more friction and abrassion on the jeans. This means that the indigo will wear off in these places more than others, creating very nice wear patterns.

2. What's this I hear about I shouldn't wash my jeans for six months? That's disgustion!

Well, here's the thing: you don't have to wait six months! But you should still be wary of how often you wash your jeans. That's because of two main reasons: indigo is naturally a poor dye, and the creases that you formed may be lost.

Indigo isn't very steadfast, especially on denim. That's why indigo rubs off of dark denim, and why every time you wash your jeans, the water turns a bit blue. Also, the jeans will lose the starch and whatever else is making them stiff, so a lot of the creases will flatten, and you may form new ones the next time you wear them, in different places. When both of those things happen often, the time it takes to get proper wear and fading will increase a lot.

3. What is selvedge/selvage? Do I need it?

Selvedge (or selvage) is actually an abbrivation for Self-edge. The selvedge that you see is actually the end of the bolt of denim. You'll get this when you use a narrow shuttle loom: you're producing less denim than on a wider loom, so you're going to want to preserve as much denim as possible. The edge is very stable, and very unlikely to become unravelled. On jeans without the selvedge, the edges are made from the cut bolt of denim, and are chain-stitched to prevent fraying.

Now, originally, these chain-stitched edges were much less stable than a selvedge edge, and was more prone to unravelling. With modern technology, high end denim is not going to do that, so that isn't a major concern. However, the reason why having selvedge is a good indicator of good quality is simple: it's more expensive to produce. Since it's more expensive, the people running the loom are more likely to use better, stronger cotton, and take more care in making the denim. There is nothing worse than using a process that spends extra time, material and money, and end up with it being shoddy.

There are several companies that make great selvedge and non-selvedge denim. However, ~90% of the time (i'm being a bit conservative), if you see the selvedge, you can be pretty sure that the denim is of high quality.


That's all for now. Later tonight I'll add info about brands, where to buy, and I'll tackle the great beast that is known as Selvedge, and why it's not as important as you may think!
 

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great info. we ought to make few stickies for guidance on raw denims. people repeatedly asks the same questions on a lot of other denim forums.

i will see if i can get together something about the denim brands here in japan, such as 45RMP, Pure Blue, Sugarcane...etc
 

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Here is a tip for selvage denim fans. If you are looking for a pair of selvage jeans, call CONTEXT in Madison,WI. They offer free shipping in the continental US and have great customer service. Buying selvage online requires additional knowledge (e.g. stretch factor, wash and care, brand comparison). They also have great selvage lines: Nudie, Kickingmuleworkshop, APC, Edwin, Corpus and soon Imperial. Prior to CONTEXT I had to fly to New York to buy these lines.

608 250 0113
 

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here are some tips:

1- wash when your jeans are dirty. how do you know? your nose knows.

2- when you do wash, a natural soap is the best. i like dr bronners liquid. aslo, make sure you turn the jeans inside out before you wash, and never put them in a dryer.

3- selvage is cool, but non selvage can be just as high quality. dont buy because of selvage, buy selvage because the jeans that will work best for you have it.

4- they are just jeans. they will not make you cool, they will not make you smarter, they will not get you laid(especially if you listen to the 6 month no wash rule). just wear them and love them. before you know it you will have some beautifully faded jeans.

5- indigo is NOT soluable in water. you know what this means? water will not take indigo off of your jeans unless it has been loosened by abrasion or stress. dont worry about getting caught in the rain, or washing your jeans. a proper dye job will hold up to water fine.
 

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here are some tips:

and never put them in a dryer.
what's wrong with putting them into the dryer? I always do that when my jeans start to get loose, and the dryer makes them tight again... What if the jeans are like 30% lycra?
 

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^even more reason to never put them in a dryer, heat breaks down elasticity.

Natural fibers when heated will snap back into the orginal formation, and tighten up your jeans, BUT if you put your jeans that you have broken in to be your shape in a dryer, you lose most of the shape you've formed in your jeans, if you lay them out or hang them in the sun, that's enough wash to shrink em back a bit without losing shape.

You also can end up with a blue dryer putting raws in the dryer.
 

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dry denim on hot areas

Hi, I have two questions:

Where I live its hot all year long. I normally wash my jeans every week since one can sweat easily just walking around.

In case I bought a Nudie, what can I do to mantain them clean and fresh without washing them. I just cant understand how can someone keep some jeans unwashed 6 months. Any tricks?

Another thing. When someone is finally happy with the wear on the dry jean (6 months old or more unwashed) , can they start washing then normally, like ever week?
 

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I'm really curious about this not washing for 6 months thing, too. There's just no way that i could wear jeans for even a few weeks without them starting to smell. I'm human. I sweat.
 

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You'd be surprised. Also, you can air them out to stop them from smelling, as well as dry cleaning them. They just can't be washed because the denim die will fade.
 

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You'd be surprised. Also, you can air them out to stop them from smelling, as well as dry cleaning them. They just can't be washed because the denim die will fade.
bullshit. wash them whenever you want.

as long as they are really quality jeans it shouldnt matter.
 

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^Yup, I have a pair of skulls that I wear for about 2 weeks at a time before washing, and they have a nice fade and nice contrast.
 

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bullshit. wash them whenever you want.

as long as they are really quality jeans it shouldnt matter.
I'm not saying you can't wash them, but the reason a lot of people buy dry denim is so they can get their own wear lines and cool washed look. And if you wear them longer before you wash them, you get a bigger contrast...
 

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I'm not saying you can't wash them, but the reason a lot of people buy dry denim is so they can get their own wear lines and cool washed look. And if you wear them longer before you wash them, you get a bigger contrast...
not really.

these were washed 8times in one year.

remember, indigo is not water soluable. washing does not fade jeans unless they are poorly dyed.
 

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mine didnt. you have some sams? which ones? lets see some pics of yours
 
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