It was in 2004, almost a decade ago, that I came into contact with raw denim when I purchased a pair of raw Helmut Lang jeans in a lovely little boutique Leipzig. Though I had no idea what raw denim was at the time I liked the deep colour and was intrigued by the rigid fabric. The salesgirl told me not to wash them for as long as possible. I nodded and disobeyed.
As time moved on the jeans moved further to the back of my wardrobe though they were never forgotten and still got the occasional wear. After several years I started noticing how comfortable they had become compared to other jeans. I also noticed that they had outlasted every other pair of jeans I had bought since that time. Time to find out what exactly this ‘raw denim’ was and where to find another pair.
And so the quest for raw denim began and within a short time I had discovered superfuture and was plunged into a 21oz world of ridden rivets, chain stitches, whiskers and natural indigo. I learned about APC (“the gateway denim”) and Momotaro, Samurai and Pure Blue Japan and after a while felt confident enough to buy a new pair of raws; APC’s petit standard. This time I’d do it by the book. No washes for the first 6 months and lots of stairs and cycling for extra high contrast combs. Maybe wear them to the beach eventually for their first wash.
Six months later however, the first tears started to appear. I thought maybe APC’s quality had let me down (damn lightweight 12oz Chinese selfedge crap; how dare they!?) and bought Sugarcane’s sexsc02. Surely I couldn’t go wrong there?……Alas, the same thing happened.
More research taught me that not washing jeans can actually be harmful as dirt, sweat and other rubbish eventually will disintegrate jeans from the inside out. Also, Slimmer fits will usually have to endure more friction from wear than roomier ones and therefore wear and tear more quickly as the rigid denim is rubbed against itself under pressure over and over again.
So now its back to square one, back to washing my (future) raws and treating them like I would any ‘normal’ pair of jeans. No more deeply set combs, no more stacking. Just boring, comfortable jeans that reflect my regular sedentary lifestyle and should now last me a few years each before suffering from blowouts. I hope. Up next: Albam.
At least I’ll still have my wallet fades.