Many people are unfamiliar with raw denim, and how it differs from any other pair of jeans. So let’s touch on the basics of what raw denim is, and how it compares to washed denim.
Raw denim, also known as “Dry Denim” for its hard texture, is “a denim fabric that is not washed after being dyed during its production”.
Essentially, raw denim is unwashed and untreated denim. Think of it as denim in its purest form.
In contrast, washed denim is washed multiple times before they actually reach the stores to make them “feel” used.
So, what’s the big deal with raw denim?
- Rigid look and Feel. Raw denim is loved for its rigid look and feel. The pure blue color looks great, and as you wear them in they start to fade nicely. Fading can be a huge part of the raw denim community (i.e. people will post pictures of their 15 year old raw denim to show their unique fades!)
- Fit. Initially, raw denim may not fit as good as washed denim, but that’s because raw denim is designed to be warn for 6 months or longer as it gradually twists and stretches to be a perfect fit.
- Better value. Think number of wears vs amount paid. A pair of $50 washed jeans typically won’t last nearly as long as raw denim. Raw denim can typically withstand 1000+ wears!
- Environmental & Ethical. Raw denim is less detrimental on the environment and more labor-friendly.
raw denim is loved for its rigid look and feel.
Tips for what to keep an eye out for when shopping for raw denim:
1. Material: Raw denim jeans are typically 100% cotton and sourced from a number of countries. Some of the more popular sources being the USA and Japan.
2. Weight: The weight and thickness of raw denim can vary. The heavier the denim, the more rigid the garment and more resistant it will be to abrade.
12 Oz and Less – considered light raw denim, great for summer. Brands such as Nudies and Cheap Monday fit in this category.
12 Oz – 16 Oz – considered mid-range weight and they’re most common. Brands include Skull Jeans and Tellason.
16 Oz and Up – considered heavier. these are thicker and may be better for colder months. Brands nclude Samurai Jeans and oni Denim. Some of these heavier raw denim jeans will stand up on their own, I kid you not!
3. Fit: Raw denim jeans come in a variety of styles, cuts and fits, such as skinny, slim and loose. One key element is whether or not your raw denim is non-sanforized or sanforized.
What are sanforized jeans?
Sanforization is a process which shrinks fabric before it’s made into a garment. So, if a pair of jeans is sanforized that means they are preshrunk. Sanforized jeans will still shrink around 3% but will not shrink as much as unsanforized jeans.
Unsanforized jeans, or shrink-to-fit jeans will absolutely shrink when they get wet, usually between 6 to 10% depending on the denim. These must be soaked before being worn.
Where can I buy Raw Denim jeans?
If you’re looking to start off with a pair of raw denim jeans be ready to spend at least $100 on a decent pair. Nudies and Naked & Famous raw denim jeans can cost upward of $250!
Don’t sweat! We frequently get great pairs of raw denim jeans at Unit 5 from brands like Cheap Monday, Nudies, Naked & Famous and Levi’s. Affordability is important to us and our customers, so we try to keep our jeans priced under $100. Cost shouldn’t be a barrier to owning a great pair of jeans!
Feel free to drop in the shop and see what selection of raw denim we have!
We frequently get great pairs of raw denim jeans at Unit 5 from brands like Cheap Monday, Nudies, Naked & Famous and Levi’s.
Feel free to comment below and share your opinion on raw denim! If you have any pictures of old pairs you own, we’d also love to see how they’ve faded!