Experiment | Raw Denim vs. 7 Week Tour

I had the bright idea of purchasing a cheap pair of raw jeans (Unbranded) and wearing them exclusively when I play shows.  I thought it’d be really interesting to see what kind of wear/fades wearing them in an isolated and specific environment would do.  Problem is…I didn’t think about the fact that they’d basically be getting a (salt) soak every single night.  Shows generally mean a lot of people packed in one room — people generate heat — lights on stage are always very hot — this last tour we did was a headline tour where we were playing 1:15 plus everynight, which all adds up to lots of sweat.  The jeans ended up losing a considerable amount of indigo before being able to establish good fades (the pictures give a little too much credit).  There’s definitely some fade happening though, the most notable fades (not surprisingly) happened on my upper right side, where my guitar rests.  Check the difference in the waistband between the right and left side.  The copper rivets and buttons seem to be doing some nice/quick aging though, probably expedited from the constant salty moisture looming.  I realize it’s only been a little over a month and a half, but considering how hard I wore these, I thought there’d be some more substantial fading.  Plus, they stink.  Really bad.  I’m retiring the experiment and am going to attempt to put these into everyday rotation, hoping that it’s not too late to wear these in right.

I really wasn’t expecting much out of these jeans, but they are actually pretty legit.  I was surprised at the amount of solid details — Chain stitching on hem and around the waistband, blue-line selvage, hidden selvage in coin pocket, hidden rivets in back pockets, and on top of that, a pretty solid cut.  I’m pretty sure I got the straight leg cut, which doesn’t really seem straight.  It’s definitely tapered, but is a good fit.  Also, another note if you’re planning on purchasing these, they run a bit small.  I usually size down one or two for raw denim, but I bought these true to size.  It’s almost like they sized them with the break-in in mind.  My only gripes are that the denim itself had a softer hand off the rack, unlike my previous raw denim buys which were stiff as a board.  The initial stiff, almost crunchiness of raw denim helps in creasing, good fades, and creating character which I was afraid I wouldn’t get the full effect of.  Nothing that a bit of spray starch didn’t help.  The oversized leather tab on the back is pretty unsightly (especially with sweat stains all over it), but is not really seen since I don’t really tuck my shirts in much.  I may just pull it off.

I picked mine up from American Rag, but you can also find them at Urban.  Overall, a really solid buy at $78.  Just don’t sweat profusely in them every night for 7 weeks.

13 responses to “Experiment | Raw Denim vs. 7 Week Tour

  1. I never really took time to consider stitch patterns when making my jean selection, but I suppose that’s a fairly important aspect. The only time I’ve took notice was in the booklet my motorcycle jacket came with, talking about its “advanced seam construction”. I guess I should read up on stitching.

  2. I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about the Urban unbranded raws, mostly on fades and lackthereof. I’m wondering who makes/dyes the denim because that’s a big part of it. Did they loosen up a lot over the course of those 7 weeks? I’d assume that they’d tighten back up every night based on the DIY saltwater (sweat) soaks they got, adding even more character to the fades. I saw you guys in Detroit and if every night was like that, holy hell. My raws sized back down an inch or so after that trip.

    I say give them a wash with some bronners in the shower with them on, and wear them for another couple days after that. I bet you see some pretty sharp contrasts.

  3. They don’t look too bad at all. It would be good to get a couple fit pics, though. Great job nonetheless.

  4. next tour, you should take a pic everyday of you in your jeans. and animate it. it’ll be cool to see the fading over time and different cities in the background. the places your jeans take you… maybe you could pitch the idea to apc so they could send you a free pair.

    i’ve been wearing my raw selvage denim (naked and famous, weird guy) for almost a year without a wash. but i always seem to get stuck in some snow or rain storm.. so the fades aren’t really there yet but the wrinkles are nice.

    if you haven’t seen it already, levis made a stop motion/time lapse piece:

  5. Unrelated to the denim (which is awesome by the way); but there is no way to message you privately on this thing.

    I found this store in Montreal, which might interest you. They carry some neat stuff, even if they are a small space. They even carry the unbranded jeans you posted here…I think I might pick up a pair now that I see your opinion of them.



  6. Unbranded are made by Naked & Famous, who do really good raw denim. I own a couple pairs of these since they are affordable and they do end up wearing rather nicely. my first pair has only been washed once, and I wore them from raw until the dirt from carpentering in them everyday was unbearable. The second pair were my “Nice Jeans” for a while until the wear started creeping in. Now they have become my work denim and everyday denim respectively. Well that was until a bought a pair of LVC ’67 505’s…

  7. Teppei, I’m looking to try out some raw denim, do you feel this would be a good pair to start out with? These are right in my price range. I’m not so sure I can beat this price. Let me know what you think. Thanks man!

    • Definitely not a bad pair to start out with at all. I don’t think I’ve seen raw selvage denim for cheaper than this (Uniqlo has some cheaper offerings, but I’m not sure if they’re available online).

  8. I realize this is literally a year late, but I’ve just come across the blog (and began getting into your music!).

    Teppei, I recently purchased the exact same jeans (ironically, from rooney shop in Montreal, which someone suggested to you above). My question is pertaining to the length of the jeans – did you have yours hemmed? In order to get mine to an appropriate length, I have to roll them 3 times. Just interested in what you have done with yours, and how they might have turned out, post-hem.

    • Yeah I definitely got mine hemmed. You’ll find that most raw denim comes with a pretty long inseam. Kind of a bummer, especially when it comes with a nice chain stitch at the hem.

  9. I knew I spotted raw denim on stage. One more reason thrice is awesome.

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