Denim: A Unique Journey In An Ordinary World

From start to finish, making a raw product your own.

Month: October, 2013

My Current Project: Rainbow Core Selvedge

As soon as I saw this pair, I had to get them. The Rainbow Core Selvedge in the Weird Guy fit from Naked and Famous, a Canadian brand known for being the most creative when it comes to specialty denim, was a pair that I had to see for myself. From a pair that glows in the dark to the heaviest denim in the world, the brand has certainly made a name for themselves in the denim community. I own several pairs myself and admire each one.

Me wearing the Rainbow Core denim. Here you can see the fit in size 29. Source: Austin Scarborough

My pair of Rainbow Core denim. Here you can see the Weird Guy fit in size 29. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

The selvedge lining of my Rainbow Core denim. Note the difference between this and the selvedge lining on the Bluer pair in my previous post. Source: Austin Scarborough

The selvedge lining of my Rainbow Core denim. Note the difference between this and the selvedge lining on the Bluer pair in my previous post. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

The Weird Guy fit is the brand’s slim-tapered fit. The next step after creating the Red Core denim  where the denim fades to a red color over time, the Rainbow Core fades into just that, a rainbow. Using the five colors of a rainbow, the denim is vat-dyed and then it is rope-dyed the color of indigo. With this process, the denim over time will fade into the colors of the rainbow. Below is a picture showing how the fading will look. The depth of the fade will depend on the amount and intensity of how you wear them.

Source: (Rawr Denim)

The denim pictured displays the fabric used in construction depicting the colors used to create the rainbow fade. Source: (www.rawrdenim.com)

I purchased my pair in July and have worn them quite a bit. Unfortunately, I work two jobs where a uniform is required so I am unable to wear them at either location. To compensate, I have slept in them a couple of times which is a controversial move among the denim community, due to the potential of creating irregular fades. I have also been rotating them between two other pairs I am working on, further reducing the amount of time I am in my Rainbow Core pair. I have noticed some fading on the back right pocket however, and I love the way it looks. Once they are more developed, the fading will be a lot more noticeable.

Some of the fading on the back right pocket on my pair. Note the difference in color in comparison to the indigo. Source: Austin Scarborough

Some of the fading on the back right pocket on my pair. Note the difference in color in comparison to the indigo. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

The denim is also sanforized and weighs in at 14 oz. which makes for a great weight. It is composed of 100% Japanese cotton and made in Canada. I found myself enjoying to wear them purely for the look themselves, regardless of the eventual rainbow fades. Leave it to Naked and Famous to create another unique pair of denim. What’s next, a pair that makes your legs invisible? Knowing these guys, that could be right around the corner…

Bluer Denim: A Well-Marketed Disappointment

From the founder of Agave Denim, Jeffrey Todd Shafer dives into a younger audience with Bluer Denim, a brand that promotes using products originating from and being finalized in North America.  Upon researching the brand and viewing their webpage, I was eager to try the denim on for myself.

To begin, the website is well done with a promotional video showing customers the story of the brand and the care taken in each pair of denim. All of what the video advocates is true, each pair is hand inspected with the name of the inspector written on the inside of the jeans (mine was inspected by Dan).

Source: Me (Austin Scarborough)

Dan inspected my pair. I liked the personal touch. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

Although this did not appeal to me, I admire the fact that the brand allows customers to try on the denim before purchasing, similar to Warby Parker, an eyeglass label. I unfortunately am too impatient for this.  The brand also asks customers to donate denim and offers a $5 discount on their next pair by doing so. This is also similar to what the eyeglass label does.

The denim itself has a very interesting selvedge line. Using the colors red, white and blue, the denim ties into the theme of the company: American made products. The cotton comes from Georgia, is woven in North Carolina, the denim is designed in Oregon and made in California. Culminated together these factors make for a great presentation, but upon opening my package, I was disappointed.

Source: Me (Austin Scarborough)

Here you can see the red, white and blue selvedge lining connecting the American Pride theme of the denim. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

I knew what I would experience as far as the weight is concerned, because it is a bit lighter than I am used to. I purchased the Super Slim 1776 Raw Selvedge weighing in at 12.75 oz. Once I tried the denim on, I was surprised at how unfitting the denim was. Not only that, but the denim itself did not feel of the quality I was expecting from the video and related web content. For example, each button was snapping threads as I unbuttoned them.

Notice the stacking from the thigh continuing to my foot. This is uncommon for a super slim fit. Source: Austin Scarborough

Notice the sagging from the thigh continuing to my foot. This is uncommon for a super slim fit. Source: (Austin Scarborough)

Unfortunately for me, but not so unfortunate for my wallet, I am returning the denim. I am glad I was able give the brand a shot. Next time, I may be a bit more skeptical about an attractive marketing campaign.

An Introduction To The World of Indigo

Choosing a pair of denim is more than just picking up the first pair of jeans that fit at Forever 21. There are several factors that go into the construction of denim, from the region of the world it originates to the presence of selvedge or lack thereof. Picking out the perfect pair will make your journey that much more your own. Pictured below is a great depiction of one of the many ways your denim can fade and the time it takes to do so.

A pair of denim over a span of 8 months. (Source: http://www.nudiejeans.com)

First, determine your true waist size. Different brands may run large or small, but they will state if they do and how to act accordingly. If the denim is unsanforized (not pre-shrunk), then you will need to purchase one waist size up and utilize a pre-soak to shrink them to your waist. Unless you are purchasing a heavy weighted denim, you have no need to worry about unsanforized denim, because most denim is sanforized (pre-shrunk).

Once you have determined your size, the next step is deciding whether you want a selvedge pair or not. Selvedge denim is crafted from a style of loom created in the late 1800’s. Made to prevent raveling, selvedge denim is woven in long strips with a refined edge adorned in a specific color (typically red) to signify the selvedge finish. While having this particular method does not equate quality, most denim of this nature is made with care and in fewer runs than other pairs. Most denim with this finish will come from Japan or America.

Denim without the selvedge lining. (Source: http://www.rawrdenim.com)

Denim with selvedge lining. (Source: http://www.rawrdenim.com)

The weight of your denim will be the next decision you make. Did you even know denim is weighed? Most denim weighs anywhere from 9 ounces to 11 ounces. Upon entering the world of raw indigo, you discover that denim can be anywhere up to 32 ounces like the pair from Naked and Famous. Heavier denim will feel uncomfortable at first for two reasons: the first being you are simply not used to the raw weight on your legs and secondly, the denim is just that heavy. Do not fret however, they will become softer with time and you will get used to the weight.

Despite the route you choose to take, feel comfortable in your decision. You will be wearing them for a while.  As far as washing is concerned, my philosophy is: wear them often, wash them, well, not so often. Most people do not wash their denim for the first six months. However, if you are like me, I never wash my denim. Ever. For those of you who choose to do so, washing should be done by hand in a cold soak. Most importantly, your denim should never be placed in the drying machine. The purpose of wearing the denim is to allow natural fading to occur. Placing the jeans in an environment with elevated temperatures and constant pressure can create unnatural and uneven fades. That is one way to end your journey quickly.

Some great entry-level brands are Naked and Famous, A.P.C. and Nudie Jeans. Do your research on brands, read their stories, purchase a pair and begin your journey. But most of all, make the process your own and know that after months, wait, years of wear, you will be the only person in the world who owns a pair of denim with fades such as yours.