Take off your jeans.
I’m serious. Take them off and look at the tag. Where are your jeans made?
It’s something that many of us don’t think about. We look for a brand, a fit, a style, but rarely do we think about where they are made, how they are made, or who really makes them.
There is a different breed of jean out there that I want to talk about and its called denim. No, jeans and denim are not interchangeable terms- at least for this blogger- but specifically I mean three types of denim: raw, American-made, and selvedge.
What is raw denim? It is the ‘purest’ form of the jean material. Unlike the majority of jeans that are sold, raw denim is unwashed and untreated from the dyes in which it is soaked.
Why should you care? Clean and well-made material of the denim, the cotton it’s made from, as well as its weight. Heavy denim means higher cotton thread count per yard. It’s the same as buying expensive high thread count sheets – except I don’t think you’ll want to sleep in these.
Side note: If you buy raw denim, do not wash them. Or at least try not to. Every time you wash raw denim you are destroying what makes them so special – their ‘purity’ to color, and how they will eventually mold to your body.
What is Selvedge Denim? Comes from the term self-edge. The edge of the outer seam is made to prevent unraveling.
Why should you care? The way it’s made. Old loom style machines made in the 1800’s are the creators of these tightly woven denim fabrics.
Side note: Raw denim does not equal selvedge denim. Also, selvedge denim does not necessarily mean higher quality. You have to do what I said earlier and take off your jeans and check out what that tag says; Things like the country it was made, weight, if it says its raw, and other quality denim characteristics.
What is American-made? Well, that one’s simple.
But why should you care? Check this out first, and then this. But besides those two excellent reasons, American-made clothing, and especially denim is a personal, individual, and special process. Just like in last week’s video, each pair of denim is hand crafted, using specific sewing machines for each specific stitch and hem. The denim is hand cut from a stencil, moved to a series of individual sewing machines that each has a job to sew a specific part of the finished project. Labels and pockets are hand-cut as well, creating a pair of denim jeans that are as unique as the eventual person that purchases them.