They are not raw as in Levi's STF raw, but they are stiffer and seem thicker than the denim in the washed/distressed equivalents. They are known to be quite resistant to fading and my own experience with them has been similar. I've washed and dried mine hot a few times and have gotten some shrinkage, so I don't recommend sizing down too far, if at all. I'm getting some slight fades in the crotch and hems, but nothing really noticeable. The fact that they tend to stay dark, along with the lack of embellishments, allow me to dress them up very easily. If you want teh epic fadez I would probably look elsewhere. EDIT: Updated info after 6 or so months of wear.