Strike Gold is about $100 more per pair than RRL and doesn't fade that great. It also won't last any longer than RRL jeans. You think that if it's found at Self Edge it must be great and that's just usually not the case. RRL raws are a quality bargain. You won't find anything comparable at $250 or less, unless you're willing to wear Naked and Famous.
No, they aren't. They're only $100 more per pair from Self Edge. From Okayama they're only $30 more per pair and direct from Rakuten they can be had for $30 less than RRL.
Fades of SG look fine.
Alot of jeans won't last any longer than RRL and vice versa. Just look at the jeans you cited in image - they were obviously worn quite bloody tight. Fit is going to be a pretty big determining factor in whether you get those crotch blows.
Nothing comparable at $250 or less? At all? Nothing that even registers on the radar? PBJ, SDA, Sugar Cane? (BIG and SE aren't the only places to buy these), Left Field, 3sixteen, Japan Blue, etc, etc. They're all that bad (or RRL at $250 is THAT great?)?
Hell, I've tried on two pairs of Edwin nashvile that I'll put on par with my RRL straights.