Category Archives: Denim

Japanese Classic Selvedge from RPMWest




Denim has a rich history, both as fabric and as pants. Serge de Nîmes, was the original name fort the fabric, translating to “Fabric from Nîmes,” a City in southern France. Traditionally dyed with indigo, this material was first made in to pants in Genoa: The French word for which is Gênes, and the origin of the word Jeans. Today, both Denim and Jeans are a global industry that reflect the complex trade practices of globalization, although some of the best denims tend to come from Japan.  Some of the best jeans are made in the USA from that Japanese import, and that’s exactly what RPMWest did with this pair.
Continue reading Japanese Classic Selvedge from RPMWest

Check out this awesome Raw Denim Shirt

 Over on the rawdenim subreddit, denim enthusiast and hobbyist Zach (reddit name dorksquad) posted a personal project. Using two yards of a 10 ounce black warp denim with red selvedge ID sourced from Pacific Blue Denim, this shirt has great texture and design. Selvedge ID tags are exposed on the sleeves and a bit on the pocket’s sides. Continue reading Check out this awesome Raw Denim Shirt

Heebee Jeans: Sanforized Fit and Initial Impressions

Heebee Jeans Fit Pic

 

Hello, my name is Jon. I am a new contributor to this blog, and am extremely excited to be here. Wefty and Mash have selected me to review a fresh pair of raw selvedge denim jeans to contain my legs in. I will be documenting the fading process here, as well as posting some other content related to the wear patterns of denim and leather.

Continue reading Heebee Jeans: Sanforized Fit and Initial Impressions

Heebee Jeans: Unsanforized Shrink Test

Heebee Jeans, Exposed Rivets

Last year, Wefty wrote a review of Heebee Jeans. This extremely small production company founded by Heber Saurey in 2010 uses limited stock Japanese selvage to make an interesting pair of jeans. I say interesting because of a few special trademarks: Firstly, the button holes on crotch are sewn through both layers of fabric, exposing the black buttons to the surroundings. The leather patch is made of sharkskin, and while it is a standard size, it is oriented vertically. There is a small, stitched owl poking out of the back right pocket. All of this has special meaning to the designer. In his own words:

The owl logo on the inside of the waistband is derived from a tarot card called the Heirophant. He’s an Owl because Owls’ represent wisdom and they are mysterious. The Heirophant is wise and is a judge and authority. This owl is an authority holding from the book of Jeans. which are golden in the book…

Heebee Jeans TrademarkHeebee is denim spiritualism. Heebees are your soul and like The Picture of Dorian Gray, everything you wear them through shows up on them. You take care of them like your temple, do not wash them traditionally. Even washing is a ritual, like baptism.

-Heber Saurey, February 2013
Eloquent words for a beautiful product. And speaking of the ritual of washing, I recently gave one of these pairs a shrink test. Here’s how it went. First, I turned the unworn, unsanforized pair of jeans inside out.

Next, the jeans were folded and placed in a basin. A mixture of hot water from the tap and boiling water from a tea kettle was added to the the mix, enough to saturate the denim.

I recommend weighing jeans down to keep them submerged. Here, I used a few bubble bath containers I had lying around. After an hour, you’ll notice color in the wash. Brown is mostly starch and particulates from the cotton. This 14 ounce unsanforized from Kurabo shed very little indigo to the water, although it was visible when I toweled it off later.

And the result? Shrinking in this way took an inch off the waist and inseam, as well as a half inch on most other areas, resulting in about 3% shrinkage in all dimensions. Less than I was expecting, but certainly more than sanforized denim. I’ll be posting fit pics after a bit more wear in a couple of weeks or so.

Heebee Jeans Trademark, Owl

Heebee Jeans are an interesting breed to be sure. The denim is very nice, and as Heber and his team do more production runs, we expect to see them get even better. Speaking of which, be sure to keep an eye out for an announcement very soon– Heebee is expecting to open up shop online in the coming weeks. We’ll keep you informed about it over on our Facebook page, or you can check out Heebee’s!

Heebee Jeans Sharkskin Patch, Owl Trademark
Sharkskin Patch oriented vertically enjoins an owl
poking it’s head out of the back pocket

As always, thanks for reading!
-Mash

OriJeans Kickstarter: Bespoke denim from under $100


Once upon a time, clothing stores didn’t exist as we know them today. If you wanted to get clothing, you went to a tailor who took your measurements and made clothing that fit you. This model of clothing making actually pre-dates modern jeans, which really gained popularity around 1870. With the rise of industrialism, denim hasn’t really had a chance to be tailor made for the masses. But thanks to the internet age, the global economy, and a couple of Kickstarter projecteurs out of Boston Massachusetts, we will soon see the next best thing: Cut to size raw denim built to your specifications for under $100. We sat down with OriJeans project co-founder, Mike, to learn more about the project.

A $99 pledge, or $80 if you are one of the first 100, will score a pair of the denim of your choice. OriJean’s platform asks for waist, hip, thigh, knee, calf, inseam, and length in order for their team in Ukraine to sew together YOUR pair of jeans. Not sizes to be distributed among the orders, these seamstresses will be working on your pair specifically.  Seamstresses hired in Ukraine have between 5 and 15 years of experience, for which OriJeans will be paying them about 2.5 times the average salary for seamstresses in the country– Improving their standard of living, and aiding the economy of the country. 
But before the seamstresses get to work, OriJeans looks to have selected great materials to work with. Threads, color chosen by the customer, will be coming from Gütermann in Germany. Buttons and leather, also likely to be partially customizable by the Customer, will come from UKP Accessories in the United Kingdom. OriJeans logo, by designer Ilya Speshinski, will be present on both, and reflects the heritage of co-founder Renat. These threads get added to the customer’s choice of denim. For Kickstarter, these include a 10.5 ounce Kuroki Mills denim, a 12 ounce Cone Mills flavor, a 10 ounce from Kaihara of Japan, and another 10 ounce dark denim from Kaihara. OriJeans also offers the option to predistress your denim for you, to your specifications. Wefty and I are not fans of this option, but we can’t argue with it being offered.
OriJeans are available in both Men’s and Women’s
From detailed up close-shots I requested, OriJeans will feature exposed copper rivets on the front and back. The leather patch will be thick, and secured on all four sides. The stitching looks clean and crisp, with an overall simple approach to construction style. The selvedge lines look very nice, and early fades look like these will fit nicely in any denimhead’s collection.

The detailed shots did reveal a few flaws in stitching, including a few missed stitches and variable sizes. This comes from the single-needle machine used to sew the jeans, and the fact that these jeans were hand made by Mike and Renat– who had relatively little experience when making the jeans. The Kickstarter project will be made by professionals in Ukraine with at 5-15 years of experience, so I expect that these flaws will likely disappear in the final product. Machines used will have a rate-control mechanism that will ensure the jeans get a consistent number of stitches per inch, which was not used here.

It’s hard to judge a project like this so early in the project, especially when we haven’t gotten our hands on it to try it out ourselves. But from talking to the founders, and looking at some detail shots sent to us by OriJeans, it is clear that Mike and Renat know what they are doing. They know the industry, and have put a lot of thought into every step of the way. And while I have little doubt that the final product will be easily worth the price tag, it seems to me that the experience of custom ordering your own personal pair of jeans may be worth a lot more than what they are asking.
-Mash

All photos courtesy of OriJeans

Enter to win a pair of OriJeans here!

Raleigh Denim Jones Original Thins: 8 Month Update

There’s a reason I wear this pair of Jones Original Thins by Raleigh Denim every day: Because they are my favorite pair of jeans. And the more you wear them, the better they get.

Made with an unbleached weft that is closer to a greenish-cream than white, fades progress from a deep indigo to light indigo, to cream. Combining this unique denim with the Raleigh Workshop’s expert construction, which features prominent triple chainstitching, you end up with an absolutely beautiful pair of jeans.

I’ve been wearing this pair for 8 months now, with one wash around 5 months. The whiskers and the honeycombs are some of the most faded areas, likely a result of how many times I sit down a day: Working in a laboratory, I frequently will sit at a desk, get up, tend to a task, and return to the desk– Causing me to physically sit down and stand up very frequently.

 

Honeycombs
The Honeycombs have become very pronounced, and may be my favorite part of this pair. Honeycombs develop behind the knees because of the way they fold, and I think this pair is one of the most pronounced honeycombs I have seen in a long time.

 
Belt Loops and Coin Pockets
The back, center belt loop of Raleigh Denim is made with a strip of Selvage running down in, and shows the range of color in fades.

A Few more Things
These last few pictures show what it means for a product to get better with time. Solid construction with added embelishments like red chainstitch innards and the signature of the person who made the jeans made it great when it started. As it faded and wore, they became even more beautiful. And the careful construction has prevented the development of crotch-blowout.

Raleigh Denim Workshop probably makes the best pair I have ever reviewed. They are absolutely worth the premium. This same pair is available at Need Supply, though I also recommend checking out Raleigh Denim’s list of Stockists as well.
-Mash

Gustin: The Heavy at 3 Months, The American Initial Impressions

Back in January, I was priveleged to be one of the first to review a new Kickstarter denim project, Gustin. Since the review, Gustin became the largest fashion Kickstarter in history, launched a new online platform that offers Kickstarter-style offerings, where if you get enough “Pledges” on a certain offering, then it will go to production and be fullfilled. They seem to be doing quite well for themselves. Delivery on the Kickstarter project is nearing completion, and I have been seeing a lot of posts of Gustin Jeans showing up.

With that in mind, I asked the friend I gave the pair I reviewed to if I could borrow them for the weekend to update you all on them. Coincidentally, the pair I pledged for also arrived in time for the photo shoot, so I will have the chance to compare new and old.

The Details
Gustin delivered the same details they advertised and planned on: Leather patch, custom buttons and rivets, tucked beltloops, red-accent stitching, indigo-dyed stitching in some places, liberal use of the Chain Stitch, etc.

One detail I missed in my original review, which Kiyoshi Martinez of The Silentist pointed out in his blog, is the back pocket lining. The horizontal blue cross-stitch on the back pockets is actually a lining to reinforce and protect the back pockets. The details are hard to capture on camera, but you can see the liner in the pictures above and below.

So how do they fade?
Here’s something you won’t see many other places at the moment: Progress pictures. I gave Gustin’s The Heavy to my friend Justin, who wore them for about two to three months, no washes. This pair is made from 13.75 Ounce Japanese Selvage.

Overall, the fades are just starting.

 Closeup on the Whiskers.

Blowout is not on the near horizons in the crotch at the moment, but there is pronounced fading in the area.

Folded to show the honeycombs, which are in their infancy.

The New Pair
I personally decided to pledge for Gustin’s “The American,” a 14.75 ounce Cone Mills denim offering. The denim itself is very high-fidelity, with no noticeable slub and a deep true-indigo sheen.

As with all Gustin jeans, this pair came with nice details like custom rivets and tucked belt loops, which will keep the belt-area looking crisp for many future wears.
another detail Gustin utilizes is a red thread for the underside of many of their chainstitches. This detail is also employed by a number of other denim makers including Detroit Denim Company and Raleigh Denim. I was surprised to see that the overlap margins on the hemline were inconsistent from one leg of my new pair to the other, but the stitching still looks like it will last for a long time, and is more consistent than I have seen in Unbranded.
Another minor flaw in the new pairs: There were multiple stray threads stitched into the jeans on the front and underside. All of them came loose by simply grabbing them and lightly pulling, and they appeared to be simply leftover from the seaming process. Ie: Stray threads that are not important and can be safely removed.



In Closing
While some minor issues associated with scaling small operations into higher-number productions seem to have crept into Gustin’s brand, they still offer a great product at an excellent price point. If you are a perfectionist with your denim, Gustin may no longer hit the same mark as when their denim was offered at $205/pair in boutiques: Occasional stray threads and very minor stitching errors such as those on the hemline may come show up in a pair of jeans. They are still one of the best of any selvage jean I am aware of in the under-$100 category for quality that is presently offered, although I expect this field to see new competition in the near future as designers try to offer online consumers more value by eliminating inventory, whether it is through a pre-ordering system like WearGustin.com or a custom-order system like Brave Star Selvage. Be on the lookout for what happens with brands Gustin, Brave Star Selvage, and RPM West: It will be interesting to see the impact these smaller brands have on the industry. We may well be looking at the future of Raw Denim, or even of the entire men’s clothing industry, starting here.

As Gustin continues production of denim and ventures into new territory like Belts and Wallets, I plan to continue updating on how these pairs fade, as well as some new products down the line. As always, thank you for reading! If you haven’t checked out our Denim Archives, you definitely should. And a good reason to Like us on Facebook and Twitter: We have started doing the occaisional giveaway, and you never know when the next one will be announced!

-Mash