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Step by Step Guide to Raw Denim

The first pair of raw denim jeans I ever owned, I made the mistake of dropping toothpaste on. I didn’t know what I was doing then, so I began to rub at it with some warm water and soap.And that was my mistake. I never wore those jeans again, because it forever looked like there was a large semen stain on my crotch.

So, what is raw denim, and why is it so great?  Also called dry denim, it’s simply denim that has not been washed after being dyed. That means no fades, no wrinkles, nothing. A pair of new jeans is a blank canvas, completely unblemished for you to personalize.

As you wear your raw denim, the pants will slowly contour to your body. Because of the heavy level of starchiness, creases will form according to your wear habits. The first time you wash your jeans, you will have a completely unique and individual pattern. So the more you wear them, the more pronounced and comfortable the jeans become.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for all you denim newbs looking to purchase your very first pair of raw denim jeans.

1. Buy raw denim jeans.
Buy raw denim much like you would regular jeans. Raw denim stretches fairly easily after regular wear, so if you like skinny jeans (and look good in them), you might consider getting a size smaller than usual. If you’re feeling extra fancy, consider getting Japanese raw denim. They usually use antique shuttle looms, compared to Western projectile ones. Antique looms are much slower, but as a result, the denim produced are much tighter and more durable.  Japanese denim is generally of a higher quality, and noticeably sturdier.

Some popular brands: Naked & Famous, Nudie, A.P.C., Cheap Monday, Paul Smith, Levi’s, J. Crew, Evisu, Sling & Stones, April 77

2. Wear your raw denim jeans.
The first time you wear your new pants, they’ll feel heavy and starchy. Movements will be stiff and awkward. Actions you do the most often will eventually have the deepest imprints and wrinkles.

Brand new raw denim jeans actually look quite amazing. They have a darkness that regular jeans don’t come close to matching.

3. Soak your jeans in bathtub — while wearing them.
Check first to see if your jeans are Sanforized (preshrunk). If they are, skip this step.

This might seem a bit strange to the uninitiated, but all the cool raw denim kids do it. Soaking and drying the denim while you’re wearing them makes sure the jeans are going to shrink perfectly to your body. It’s optional, but doing so will give you the most out of your jeans, and will make sure that they never shrink to a size too small.

Use warm water to help the fibers expand. And whatever you do, for the love of God, do not use shampoo.

After that, just casually lounge around, waiting for your jeans to dry naturally. If anyone asks you why your jeans are wet, you’ll want to nail that perfect look in-between disgust and open hatred. Look at them like you can’t comprehend how stupid their question was, wrinkle your nose like you smell something rancid, and whisper softly, “Fashion, that’s why.”

4. Do not drop toothpaste on your jeans.
If you do, consider washing them with cold water. Do not use any warm water or detergents–it will wipe the dye out, leaving a patch of faded white that unfortunately looks like sperm.

In fact, you can consider leaving some stains as they are. They’ll eventually fade.

5. Continue to wear them.
The amount of time you should wear raw denim for before properly washing them is a subject of debate. A generally agreed length is six months, although some advocate going a whole year. It’s not a catastrophe if you wash your jeans earlier, but it will ruin the fade.

If your jeans begin to smell a little, put them in a ziplock bag and place them in the freezer for a bit. The cold will kill the bacteria and odor. Also, you might want to consider showering more often, smelly.

This is what my butt looks like now

6. Wash your jeans for the first time.
Regardless of how long you wait, the actual washing method is the same: wash the jeans alone, wash cold, wash inside out, wash using non-bleach detergent, then line-dry.

7. Work that thang.
Aw yeah. It might have taken 6 months, but you finally have a pair of jeans that are perfectly suited to your frame and gorgeous in every way. Take a walk and watch as heads swivel to check out your ass.

8. Laugh at those amateurs still wearing pre-faded jeans. 
Idiots.

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