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Denim 101 for Men's Clothing - Page 86

post #1276 of 1451
Sort of.

Most companies aren't concerned with how fast their jeans fade, but how because ultimately this usually denimhead's bread and butter. I say "usually" because there are quite a few people on here that own tons of jeans with only a few months of wear because they're not looking to wear a faded pair, they just love the denim and all the other bells and whistles.

"Good denim" has dyes that set it apart from the rest; it's also not what kind of dye (natural, pure, etc. indigo) but how it's dyed, not only the actual mechanics but how many times. By playing around with these variables you get different hues and shades as well as other characteristics such as its resistance (or lack thereof) to fade. Understand that the brands I recommend for the most part are trying to replicate denim from 50-100+ years ago. They weren't made back then with all this wabi sabi in mind, being that they were marketed towards blue collar workers that wore them as part as their uniform rather than a fashion statement.

But essentially you're right about "average denim" sticking to dyes and dying methods that keep the garment colorfast. They don't care how jeans were done back then, they're just trying to turn a profit and fit a specific price range.

Iron Heart (Triple Works) is expensive because you're not seeing the forest through the trees. Denim is comprised of two parts: cotton and indigo; jeans are comprised of denim and many other details. Even if you didn't dye the cotton at all, you'd still be looking at an expensive garment weaved from high-end cotton on vintage looms, sewn in a small factory in Japan, with details that drive up the cost in materials as well as labor.

Triple Works appeals to a very specific audience with its line. You have the denim and construction of a top-tier quality brand but customized for your own experience. If you want something that will fade fast but want an overall better garment than something like APC, you've got the Future Indigo model. If you've owned a pair of $60 mall jeans and want to upgrade to something "nice" but have no desire to wear faded jeans, you have the Permanent Indigo model. To a denimhead, it's genius because it fills two gaps that have persisted in the industry. It also gives a guy like me something worthy of recommending.

I went back and put what I wrote to Asian Afro about what "raw" means in bold. I suggest you read it.

As far as justifying cost, what can I tell you other than it's like anything else in the world. Why is Ford Fiesta several tens of thousands cheaper than a BMW M5? Why is a one bedroom apartment in the city cheaper than a mansion in the hills?

Materials. Labor. And partly label.

As long as we're not talking about a pair of mall Levi's for $30 vs. a pair of designer jeans (by which I mean of the non-denimhead variety where the label takes a large chunk of the price), what you get is a world of difference: the kind of indigo used, the kind of cotton used, the kind of hardware used, the kind of pocket bags used, hidden rear rivets, the kind of stitching, where the denim was manufactured, how limited is the denim manufactured, where the jeans are assembled, and where you're buying the finished product. Most people don't think a pair of jeans in which the denim is made in the US, shipped back to Japan to be made into jeans, and shipped back to the US, or any variation of that. That tax and shipping cuts into a margin that's already pretty high with materials alone.

I'd price a standard pair of "made in the US of US denim" jeans to be anywhere from $150+. You start to see the $200+ mark when brands want to add a bit more in terms of details or what their system is for making the jeans (ie, sweat shop vs small group of sewers.) And that's just for standard mass-produced Cone selvage denim that runs a several bucks a yard. If you want to make this into a business lesson, think about how much fabric, shipping, and labor costs on that Sears' special $30 pair of Levi's if the Cone fabric alone can run $18+ (higher) per pair of jeans.

If you think selvage has to do with cuffing then you're not familiar with the product at all. Cuffing your jeans to show off the material matters as much as bringing up sleeves on a jacket to show that you have functional cuffs. It's like putting that huge muffler on your Miata; no one is fooled into thinking there's more under the hood.

That pair of Levi's you linked is a great example of the $150 reference and breakdown I made. White Oak and Black Seed are two distinctions of higher quality when talking about Cone's selvage offerings. Those are actually pretty good jeans for the price but personally I have to believe that the price tag is a bit inflated when you consider Levi's costs when mass producing a garment in factories they probably already own using denim in high quantities from a factory they've had a relationship with for decades. I've previously linked SW&D's top picks under $200 and can tell you that while those good jeans, there can be better bargains to be had.
post #1277 of 1451
Hope they work out for you, Asian Afro!
post #1278 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post

Hope they work out for you, Asian Afro!

This is embarrassing. I just e-mailed Self Edge to cancel my order because I realized that the waist size I ordered might be too small.

My true waist size is 30". The cheap jeans that I wear fit me slightly below the waist at 30.5", and they have a front rise of 11".

The Iron Heart jeans I ordered have a waist size of 30" but a front rise of 10.3".

Don't think they will work, and I can't go up in size because size 32 is out of stock.

Think I'll have to look at another model such as this.

How should I measure my waist size if I don't have a pair of jeans in the same style that fit me? These high-end brands are not available where I live.

Man, things would just be easier if people pulled up their pants.
post #1279 of 1451
So let me get this straight.:

Raw means two things: non-distressed (fine with me), and unwashed dye that allows one to personally distress their jeans (not what I'm looking for.) It has nothing to do with how the jeans actually fit or how fast they fade.

The dye used in Iron Heart jeans you linked (which are not raw) is similar to cheap dyes in that they're colorfast, but different in many other ways that make it superior.

You mentioned that cheap jeans can be described as "raw" but that it's not an accurate term. Could you elaborate more on this? Are the Levi jeans I linked "raw" jeans in the true sense?

On the matter of fading, I noticed that only the Triple Works line of jeans mentions anything about the speed of fading, while neither Beatle Busters nor the raw selvedge Levis I linked do. How does one know how fast the dyes fades for a particular pair of jeans except through word of mouth?

Thanks for your patience.
post #1280 of 1451
Afro-

Ok, let's back track a little.

Forget your true waist. What's important is the measurement of the waist of the jeans that fits you comfortably, which is 30.5". The jeans you ordered have a 30" waist but till stretch out to at least 30.5", but more likely to 31"+ because they'll be sitting lower on your hips due to the lower rise.

They'll fit.

When measuring jeans, the waist and rise give you an idea of how the top block fits. Typically, the lower the rise the bigger the waist will be compared to the tagged size. A size 32 pair might have a 9" rise and a 34" waist but fit like a size 32 with an 11" rise and a 32" waist because of how the pairs sit on the hips. But in your case, you're talking about .7" of an inch and .5" difference to make up? Jeans stretch out naturally.

SE has a declaimer, like most denim sites do, that describes a possible post-wash shrink of 3% but that the waist can stretch out a size or two, sometimes more.
post #1281 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post

They'll fit.

OK, but since I've already sent SE an e-mail, I'll see what they say. I asked my waist question in the e-mail as well.
post #1282 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

So let me get this straight.:

Raw means two things: non-distressed (fine with me), and unwashed dye that allows one to personally distress their jeans (not what I'm looking for.) It has nothing to do with how the jeans actually fit or how fast they fade.

The dye used in Iron Heart jeans you linked (which are not raw) is similar to cheap dyes in that they're colorfast, but different in many other ways that make it superior.

You mentioned that cheap jeans can be described as "raw" but that it's not an accurate term. Could you elaborate more on this? Are the Levi jeans I linked "raw" jeans in the true sense?

Thanks for your patience.

"Raw" refers to the non-distressed nature of the denim. It offers no indication of the kind of indigo dye used. Think of it as looking at a blank blue canvas. As I stated before, one-wash (meaning, soaked in water) jeans can be raw because aside from dunking them in water, you haven't treated or distressed the denim. You can fade jeans that are already distressed just by wearing and washing them repeated, so "raw" has nothing to do with describing some kind type of indigo that is meant to fade. Raw means untreated.

Remember I said that it's not just the kind of dye that makes a garment colorfast but also the process itself. To blow your mind, both the Future (fast fading) and Permanent (slow fading) models use synthetic indigo. So how are they so different? The process. The Permanent model is dyed longer and more times than the Future; it's also specially treated to be more resistant to fading.

I mentioned that cheap jeans can be described as raw. Period, next sentence. Most companies that mass produce jeans have models which might appear similar but are described differently, ie, "raw" or "dark wash." It's confusing because they're used as marketing terms more than factual descriptions.

Do these dark wash jeans appear raw to you (answer should be a resounding "yes"): http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=715660002&tid=brfr1r

What about these "raw, dark wash jeans": http://www.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=534922&cm_mmc=Google_Feed-_-5-_-65-_-MP565

Armed with that, you should be able to see that those Levi's jeans: a) have no distressing whatsoever, b) haven't been treated, or c) haven't touched water. And that's in order of importance because as we've discussed before, you can throw raw jeans into the water and they'll come out... raw jeans.
post #1283 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asian Afro View Post


OK, but since I've already sent SE an e-mail, I'll see what they say. I asked my waist question in the e-mail as well.

I already told Kiya that you'll keep them if you still want them.
post #1284 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by whodini View Post


I already told Kiya that you'll keep them if you still want them.

Thanks for the intervention. I just replied to Kiya saying that I still want them. smile.gif
post #1285 of 1451
Ok, I think I'm starting to get it. The term "raw" refers to the aesthetic nature of the denim, in that it's a uniform color without distressing of any kind. It's confusing because on the SW&D forum it seems like everyone that wants raw jeans also wants to fade them so I thought the two were synonymous.

So I DO want raw jeans, but I DON'T want jeans that have been designed to fade quickly (through the type of dye or process that created jeans). The pair of raw Levi's 511s doesn't mention anything about how fast it fades, but since it's Levi's, can I assume it's non-fading and sanforized? The description says that this pair is "part of our program that minimizes water in the finishing process." What is the significance of this?
post #1286 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asian Afro View Post


Thanks for the intervention. I just replied to Kiya saying that I still want them. smile.gif

If you're still worried about the fit, you could always hold off on the chainstitching until after you've tried them on. Again, you should be fine but I can understand wanting to have piece of mind.
post #1287 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

Ok, I think I'm starting to get it. The term "raw" refers to the aesthetic nature of the denim, in that it's a uniform color without distressing of any kind. It's confusing because on the SW&D forum it seems like everyone that wants raw jeans also wants to fade them so I thought the two were synonymous.
It's like wearing nice shoes to develop a patina. No one's telling you what to do with your clothes.

It might also help to restate that raw doesn't equal quality. From a solely aesthetic point of view, real fading looks better than fake. But it's also that best jeans made these days come raw. It's all part of that train of thought of buying jeans the way they were originally offered and in their truest form. People who buy into that have a niche interest in denim and are likely to justify the cost of the jeans they purchase. The average consumer doesn't care about history or fabric that is anything but comfortable and without any thinking required; that consumer just wants to put on jeans and wear them. SW&D views specialty denim as an investment or romantically as an adventure or live-in journal; I look at it as a well-fitting garment with cool bells and whistles that only gets better with age.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

So I DO want raw jeans, but I DON'T want jeans that have been designed to fade quickly (through the type of dye or process that created jeans). The pair of raw Levi's 511s doesn't mention anything about how fast it fades, but since it's Levi's, can I assume it's non-fading and sanforized? The description says that this pair is "part of our program that minimizes water in the finishing process." What is the significance of this?
Yes, you want raw jeans that are stubborn to fading. Mass produced jeans aren't going to take about fading.

But as I mentioned already, those Levi's are made of White Oak selvage from Cone. The overwhelming majority raw selvage jeans sold today are marketed towards fading; the exception would be the odd "dark wash" varieties that are already treated or lightly distressed.

If you're looking for a rule of thumb, I'd say that it'd be a safe bet that if the jeans are labeled as "raw" or "dark" but aren't selvage, chances are they'll be relatively colorfast. Sure, there can be exceptions but they'll be cheap and easily replaceable. Think of something you'd find at an H&M or Urban Outfitters. Levi's has a "rigid" model but people have had varying success in fading it. Note that most jeans have a tendency to fade from washing and wear. It's just natural.


As another rule of them, jeans will be sanforized unless specifically stated otherwise. With the exception of Levi's $30 shrink-to-fit, manufacturers don't want their customers to have to second guess their sizing by shrinking their clothing. This is why non-sanforized jeans is more acceptable to a niche denim crowd looking for that kind of experience.
post #1288 of 1451
So it sounds like you're saying that there isn't really high quality denim (selvage) that won't fade? I assume that the Triple Works Permanent Indigo is an exception to that? Unfortunately, I don't think it's slim enough for me.

I guess I could just get this and save money while doing so.
post #1289 of 1451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquidus View Post

So it sounds like you're saying that there isn't really high quality denim (selvage) that won't fade? I assume that the Triple Works Permanent Indigo is an exception to that? Unfortunately, I don't think it's slim enough for me.

I guess I could just get this and save money while doing so.

You were aware that Triple Works makes different cuts, correct? Like this one: http://www.blueowl.us/scripts/psp/VB_Bridge3.dll?VBPROG=\bin\shop.prodt.detail&SKU=7998100

There really isn't a great demand for non-fading denim at this price range because: 1) the people who want to keep their jeans dark either wear brands that are notoriously slow fading or have the capital to purchase new jeans every few months and 2) most buyers at that level welcome fading as part of the process. These are jeans, not trousers. They were built to to be the way they are.

Just how often do you wear jeans, by the way? If you're not wearing them daily like most people then this is all pretty much a moot point, just like it is if you've come here looking for indigo-colored trousers instead of high-quality jeans. It isn't a dig on you, it's just that you have some very specific requirements that run relatively opposite of what is seen in jeans I'd recommend.
post #1290 of 1451
I'm currently wearing them daily but that will change to weekly when I start working. I suppose that means I shouldn't be spending too much on them.

As for the mindset against fading, I think I just like how dark denim looks.

Anyway, thank you for all the explanations. I think they'll be of help to anyone else that comes across this topic too.
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