What’s so special about raw, selvedge denim? The difference is all in the details.
Selvedge, a shortening of “self-edge,” refers to a type of stitching that the modern era seems to have left behind. Since the mid-80’s, almost every pair of jeans made has been manufactured on shuttle looms sixty inches or larger, as opposed to the 27-30” looms used to make selvedge denim. While this new manufacturing process resulted in a more consistent and uniform product at a cheaper price, selvedge jeans have a uniqueness and durability that aficionados love. The smaller shuttle looms used to make selvedge denim are still out there, but are rare and can be hard to find.
The “raw” in raw denim refers to the fact that the jeans have not been washed, aged, or distressed in any way. They are dyed with indigo, which produces the distinct dark blue hue. Indigo, however, does not bond strongly to cotton fibers, and so repeated wearing and washing will lift the dye from the surface while leaving the underlying fabric intact.
The appeal of raw denim is in the way that it ages. To maintain the raw look, simply wash the denim as little as possible. However, as you wash the jeans, you’ll find that they age in a way unique to the way that you’ve worn them – whether you spend your time standing, sitting, or kneeling; the way that they fit you; even what you’ve kept in your pockets. You may find a whiskering effect, as creases form on the lap of the pants, or honeycombing at the back of the knee.
These days there are only a few brands that specialize in raw or selvedge denim, catering to those who seek the highest quality manufacturing and construction. Strivers Row is proud to be one of them.
Life is in the details. Style accordingly.