Good points. I don't see the rigid jeans becoming a snob thing, because in general they are cheaper than their laundered counterparts and are far less luxurious in general. A lot more work goes into making the hand-rubbed distressed jeans than unwashed jeans like you said, but they don't hold the same level of authenticity and personality that raw denim does. The imperfections of jeans made on antique looms is what attracts me to it, each pair is unique and will wear disctinctively based on your wearing habits, and that is really cool. There's also an attraction, for me at least, to the "blank canvas" feel of new jeans, and the fact that they become my new art project, almost. I also like the characteristics of classic jeans, such as hidden rivets, selvage seams and straight legs, and I hold a general attraction towards the history of Levis and denim in general.
While unwashed jeans *are* generally cheaper than their processed counterparts, I nevertheless think that the whole "raw denim" thing *is* really catering to snob appeal. Â First of all, pretty much only the cult premium denim brands actually make a raw denim jean (and don't anyone insult my intelligence and tell me I'm wrong because A.P.C. jeans are cheaper than say, Sevens. Â Their policy to never have their jeans on sale and their extremely limited distribution are strategically to maintain their cult appeal.) Â Second, all the gewgaws that goes along with the whole authenticity bit - the use of selvedge denim (which, in my experience, doesn't really add that much to the "durability" of the jean, although a lot of denimheads will contend otherwise), and thus the inherent need to have denim from antique (non projectile) shuttle looms, puts them out of reach of most the mass market consumer. Â You can't fake selvedge effectively, after all. And the snob appeal of specialized knowledge is even more insidious than the snob appeal of being able to by a lot of money. I have no problem with wearing Sevens, or Levis Premiums, or any other ubiquitous jean that a denimhead who wears only A.P.C. and obscure Japanese brands would smirk at. Â Actually, one of my favorite pairs is a boot cut pair of Sevens in a some discontinued dark wash (have never really noticed the saggy butt problem, but I wear my jeans rather low and loose, so stretching out jeans at the butt is pretty much never a problem.) That said, I *do* like to customize my jeans, raw, once-rinsed, or processed (am currently weaing a pair of self customized Da'mage Ice jeans, to have something "individual".)