Well apparently my money-management skills still suck, so I decided to shell out 100+ € for a pair of jeans.
Let me at least try to justify spending that much with this blogpost ...
A little bit of History
The jeans we buy today are produced very different from how they were made in the beginnings (duh). The main difference is, that a jeans - a denim (named from the material they're made from) - was once a very sturdy type of clothing, mainly worn by workers. They were made to withstand the daily hardship and were supposed to last quite a long time. (Fun fact: Myths say that the blue color was chosen because dirt stains were easier to spot.)
Today I'm astonished when a pair of pants I buy lasts for more then two years of regular wearing ... Well, this was until I found out about Raw (or Dry) Denim :
How jeans are manufactured
I'm not going to go into too much detail, but you'll need to understand at least a little bit of this process to grasp what makes raw denim special.
In the first step the base material - denim - is prepared and woven tightly into a base. There are already different processes here, where the main aspect you'll need to remember is the selvedge part. This is a different (slower) method to weave the fabric, and it produces tighter edges and, as a rule of the thumb, stands for higher quality manufacturing.
In the next step the pants are dyed. The more often they are put into the indigo blue color bath, the deeper the color does become. There are different methods here as well, but they don't matter all that much. What you'll want to pay attention to is the next step.
After the color merged with the cotton the average jeans is often (1) washed multiple times, to get rid of oversupplied color and (2) is sandblasted to get it to look used.
The washing (1) wastes a lot of water and well, you know that the sandblasting (2) is done by children in developing countries - nothing you'd like to support, do you ?
On the other hand raw denim is neither washed, nor sandblasted. Which comes with a bunch of benefits.
Why raw ?
First of all, the disadvantages of the methods above do not apply. No environmental damage, no working children, exposed to risks of health issues.
But there's more: due to the extend color still left in the pants you get to produce your own "worn look". Based on your activities and habits the jeans will develop a fade perfectly fitted to you. This doesn't only look awesome, but is a interesting experience, as you can see the jeans "grow with you". Just like a good knife.
This is the condition that made the jeans famous. A raw denim is much more stable. It feels sturdier, but softens in the part that you move a lot when you wear it - getting more comfortable every day. After a few weeks of wearing you'll find your pants fit like a second skin, still offering the "indestructible" fabric workman worshipped for years.
While this sounds nice and interesting, you'll ask why you'd have to pay twice the price of a normal pair of jeans just to get a version that is "less refined" (no washing/sandblasting).
That's because raw denim 99% of the time comes with a vision. It's not just the pair of jeans that you buy, but it's also an ideal you support. These pants are made to last for ages - and even if something fails, it can easily be fixed.
The companies that produce raw denim emphasise on that aspect. You get lifelong repair-service, you can give the jeans back to them after five years and if you want a new one you'll get like 20% off. They won't throw away your old pair though. It'll be fixed up and sold as second hand or donated. Those aren't fast "throwaway clothes", they will be reused, repaired and recycled.
Furthermore they are produced sustainable, sourcing good quality organic cotton from controlled plantages. They are produced under fair conditions and that's what you pay for as well.
(Of course this does not apply to every manufacturer, but that's the general tendency.)
While I don't know yet, if the investment was accordingly for me personally, I can definitely see a market for raw denim. And it did not only feel good buying them, but wearing them is a great experience as well. If this jeans truely lasts me two or three years of constant wearing, I'm sure the price, performance, quality ratio paid off.
I'd recommend to at least inform yourself about the "true" denim and try on some pairs, so you know (and feel) the difference for yourself.
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