What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide
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What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide

If you want to buy raw denim jeans, you should learn what is raw denim first. This blog will tell you everything about raw denim.

If you go to the high street to buy a new pair of jeans, they will have undergone more cosmetic procedures by the time you take them off the hanger than an aging Hollywood A-lister.

In contrast to finished denim, which has only undergone dyeing, raw denim has undergone dyeing as well as washing, distressing, shrinking, stretching, and all the other processes. It is taken directly from the loom (the device on which the fabric is spun), cut into something resembling legs or a jacket, and then sold to you.

Unwashed and untreated denim fabric is known as raw denim. The vast majority of jeans on the market today are made by washing and distressing denim to give them an unnaturally worn-in appearance.

Detailed information on raw denim is provided below.

What is Raw Denim?

In terms of clothing, raw denim is unwashed denim. It is dark indigo in color and has a tidy appearance. All denim begins as raw material. It’s no longer considered raw, technically, once it’s been exposed to water.

Different techniques, including hand sanding, laser technology, potassium-infused sponge, and ozone, are used to bring out the fabric’s natural qualities during the blooming process for raw denim, which would otherwise mask them due to the material’s dark exterior.

What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide

Raw denim also comes in a variety of forms. Selvedge denim, the original raw denim, is woven with a woven edge on old shuttle looms. Since it has never been in contact with water, this type of raw denim is known to shrink after washing. So anticipate a pair to shrink by one to two sizes.

Sanforized or pre-shrunk raw denim is another option. It is finished at the denim mill to produce a fit that is comparable to other denim. During this process, raw denim becomes exposed to water or steam, which means the “raw” classification is technically compromised. While using significantly less water, it is a common procedure for improving the fit of raw denim.

Due to its distinctive shrinkage and construction, the original 501® proprietary shrink-to-fit fabric has a very distinctive appearance and fabric characteristics. Most jeans available today have undergone some sort of pre-washing procedure to soften the fabric and lessen shrinkage after use and washing.

What Are the Benefits of Raw Denim?

Raw denim’s fades and fit are really what makes it great. Initially stiff, dark, and unforgiving, these jeans gradually soften, loosen up, and begin to develop distinctive fading patterns in areas of wear (provided you don’t wash them too soon, but more on that later).

They typically occur where the denim stacks around the ankles, on the backs of the knees (honeycombs), on the thighs (whiskers), and in the pockets where you keep your phone and wallet.

Fans of raw denim value the high contrast fading that comes from rarely washing their clothes. This is done to create high contrast by trying to wear as little indigo off of the garment in high-wear areas while trying to keep as much indigo on the garment as possible in low-wear areas.

What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide

When to Wash Your Raw Denim?

How to wash your jeans is one of the many raw denim folktales. Some will advise you to only soak your jeans; never wash or dry them. Some claim that the true way of the denim-head is to wash them in the ocean and rub them with sand.

It goes without saying that many people advocate never washing your jeans at all.

But you should wash your jeans if you want a pair of raw denim jeans because of how durable they are. When dirty, denim is intended to be washed. If you don’t, the bacteria and debris in the fibers and yarn will grow, artificially hastening the fabric’s decomposition.

How Long Does It Take to Break in Raw Denim?

Because raw denim is made of stiff fabric, similar to other rigid cotton pairs of jeans, it takes some breaking in. A brand-new pair of jeans usually needs several months of consistent use to break in. What initially appears stiff eventually assumes the form and movement wear patterns of the owner.

The real appeal of raw denim is that no two pairs are ever identical as it wears in, softens, and conform to your body. As time passes, they’ll begin to exhibit wear that is specific to them, such as natural creases caused by your posture, the location of your phone in your pocket, the point at which your wallet rests, and even the way you cuff them at the ankle.

Why Does Raw Denim Fade?

What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide

Vat dyeing is likely the most popular and affordable yarn dyeing technique. In this situation, a dye plant will merely dump a large quantity of yarn into a large vat of an indigo/chemical solution and shock the yarns with the dye.

In contrast, the denim mill uses the more intriguing technique of “rope dyeing,” in which the yarns are suspended from extremely tall machines and submerged in an indigo bath before being removed and allowed to dry.

Up to 30 times are needed to complete the process after the yarns have dried. The color and texture produced by this process are much more beautiful, but it takes more time and money.

Why does mass-produced vat-dyed denim fade more attractively than rope-dyed denim? The distinction between the two dyeing techniques provides the answer. When dyeing in a vat, the yarns are shocked, allowing the dye to quickly and completely penetrate the fiber’s core.

In contrast, the yarns used for rope dyeing are never left in the indigo bath long enough for the dye to completely penetrate the fiber’s center. So what you have is a yarn with a white core and a thick, lovely buildup of indigo.

The indigo shell of your jeans will start to separate as you wear them for a few months, causing folds and creases in the fabric, revealing the lovely white center for a higher contrast and more impressive fade!

Sanforized Vs. Unsanforized Raw Denim

In spite of the fact that the purest form of raw denim is straight from the loom, a technique known as sanforization has gained popularity in recent years. It does this by preventing the infamous shrinkage that can make finding the right size in raw jeans almost as painful as donning them for the first time.

Sanforized Denim

Sanforized denim goes through a process of being steamed and stretched that eliminates most of the shrinkage before the fabric is sewn into a pair of jeans.

What is Raw Denim? A Complete Guide

Unsanforized Denim

Unsanforized fabric is still in its fresh-off-the-loom state and has not gone through this procedure. The term “shrink to fit” applies here, as those of us over a certain age are aware.

Unsanforized denim will shrink by about 10%, so the jeans need to soak to stop the shrinkage before wearing. This can be accomplished by soaking them for about 30 minutes in a bathtub of lukewarm water.

You can actually put on the jeans while taking a bath to ensure a perfect fit for your body type, earning you extra points for being wacky. After that, to prevent them from losing their shape, hang them in the sun outside by a belt loop. However, don’t forget to remove them first.

Raw Denim & Selvedge Denim

The two main buzzwords, raw and selvedge, frequently leave newcomers to the denim industry perplexed. Let’s put that to rest once and for all.

Raw Denim

According to the definition given above, raw denim is denim that hasn’t been washed or distressed, leaving it stiff and dyed a deep blue color.

Selvedge Denim

Denim that has been spun on a device known as a shuttle loom is referred to as selvedge denim because it has closed edges. This typically appears as a white strip that is visible when the jeans are cuffed or pin-rolled.

It gives the garment a polished appearance and keeps the fabric from unraveling. Although more expensive to produce, it is frequently recognized as a sign of high-quality denim.

The confusion arises from the fact that raw denim frequently has a selvedge and vice versa. Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case.

Final Thoughts: Raw Denim

In high-cost labor nations like Japan and America, raw denim jeans are frequently produced in small batches by skilled workers. Additionally, they feature premium materials that are much higher in quality than their mass-market equivalents and are constructed to withstand a beating.

The fact that raw denim has a significantly lower carbon footprint than a pair of washed jeans is one of its most exciting advantages. You eliminate a lot of the resource-using steps in denim production because only the cut and sew part of the process is involved.


Why is Raw Denim So Expensive?

Smaller, often slow-moving, older looms are used to produce selvedge denim. Non-selvedge denim is produced on larger, more advanced, and swift looms. It takes much longer to weave self-edge denim, making it more expensive.

Is Raw Denim Better Quality?

It typically has a distinctive look and feel because it is made from only cotton and isn’t processed. Raw denim is often considered to be the highest quality denim available and is prized for its durability, comfort, and style.

Why is Raw Denim So Uncomfortable?

The starch is what makes the fabric so stiff, and the starch chips off with the indigo the more you wear it and it becomes softer and softer and the indigo becomes less and less, and as that happens, you are personalizing your jean in a way that really could never be done by anyone else.

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