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Everything You Need To Know About Selvedge And Raw Denim

Everything You Need To Know About Selvedge And Raw Denim

First patented by Jacob W Davis and Levi Strauss in San Francisco in 1873, the denim jean has secured a firm place in most of our wardrobes. Transcending trends and adapting to new ways of life, they’ve been a stylish staple for generations; especially with the biker community. When you don’t want to wear heavy and often uncomfortable leather trousers, jeans are the best option for riding. Clutch Moto jeans are made from special denim that’s stylish, safe and if treated well, will last you a considerable amount of time.

Before the 1950s it was common to own a pair of jeans crafted from raw and selvedge denim. Unfortunately, as jeans grew in demand, the quality suffered, and consumers today want to buy a pair that look and feel like they’ve already been worn in. But why should you consider going back to seeking out selvedge and raw?

There is a difference between raw and selvedge

As previously mentioned, the quality of denim took a hit as its popularity grew. Today most jeans you come across will have been dyed, washed, distressed, shrunk, and stretched, whereas raw denim will have simply gone through the dyeing process. Raw denim often has a selvedge and vice versa. 

The bottom line:

  • Raw denim is not pre-washed. 
  • Selvedge refers to the closed edges that stop the material from unravelling. 

A rich heritage

Selvedge is derived from the term ‘self-edge; selvedge has references back to at least the 16th century. It describes a piece of cloth that is woven to a short width and hence has no need for an additional finish at its edges to prevent fraying. It’s a fabric created to last. Also, you can usually distinguish a pair by turning them up to reveal a contrast trim, that’s often red. 

We partner with Kaihara Denim, who still use rare, vintage shuttle looms in Japan; there are only a handful of mills left in the world that take the time and effort to construct selvedge denim. Shuttle looms are not only slower than most modern machines, but they also produce less. To weave a fabric, the loom holds the warp yarns in place while the weft yarn passes between them. The difference between selvedge and non-selvedge materials is down to how the weft yarn is placed into the fabric. Consequently, the product created is not only of greater quality, but it’s also more exclusive. 

Hardwearing and hardworking

Another notable fact about raw denim is that it tends to be more durable and sturdier than other types of denim. One of our favourite things about raw denim is how it shapes itself to you in a way that only raw denim and can. People have even been known to take baths wearing their jeans to obtain the best possible fit and fade. Which brings us onto our next point…

Opportunity for uniqueness

Rich in texture, character and quality, raw denim is a blank canvas for the wearer. Keep in mind that raw denim takes a little longer to break-in, but the reward is a pair that are uniquely yours. Stick out the initial stages of ‘stiffness’ because in less than a year, they will be the most comfortable pair you own. You will own a pair that tell a story of your rides, with fades from your adventures and a shape moulded to how you move. Note that the colour contrasts tend to appear at the backs of the knees (honeycombs), thighs (whiskers), and the pockets where you keep your wallet/phone and where the denim stacks around your ankles.

How you take care of your jeans will impact this significantly. Individual schools of thought say that you should never wash your denim; the CEO of Levi’s famously once declared that he had never washed his. Remember to review our care instructions to learn more about the best way of maintaining your denim as well as breaking them in.

Easy to style

A tad smarter than the average pair of jeans, our raw selvedge jeans can work for both formal and informal events; perfect for when you want to ride to work in your outfit for the day. During the week dress them up for the office with smart shoes and a crisp shirt. Then don a pair of boots for an off-duty weekend look. Our Moto Denim takes rider protection and style to a new level. Using the highest quality Japanese selvedge denim, paired with a hi-tech guard plated system called SuperFabric®, we’ve maintained a vintage look with protection 8x more abrasion resistant than Kevlar.