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Dry or Raw Denim

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Thursday, March 18th, 2010 in Q&As

Should I try out raw denim? Everyone tells me I should and I want sick fades.

If you want to and can put the effort in, sure, go for it, raw denim is amazing. Otherwise, hell no.

For the uninitiated, raw (or “dry”) denim is basically normal jeans that have not been washed after they have been dyed, meaning that they retain a very very dark indigo tint, and are ridiculously stiff. “Pre-washed jeans” have been popular for a long time because of comfort and fit- washed jeans are typically much softer and more comfortable than raw denim, and they additionally do the majority of their shrinking in the first wash, which means the fit is more accurate when the consumer purchases them.

The advantage to raw denim is that it gets what people on the ‘net colloquially call “sick fades”, or just “nice fades”- basically, wear in the denim that comes directly from your everyday wear, giving it a cool, personalized, very realistic look. It’s hard to explain entirely, but the look is pretty damn cool, and you can tell the denim wasn’t washed by a company.

To do this, you have to wear the denim raw for a long time, upwards of 6+ months preferred, with absolutely no washing. Yes, that means no washing your jeans for 6 months, and wearing them as much as possible. To do this, you have to get rid of dirt and smells in other ways- avoiding getting them dirty, hanging them up often, putting them in the freezer, and the like. If you make the mistake of washing them before you’ve worn them adequately, a lot of the fading is lost- they’ll still look nice, but not AS nice.

So basically, raw denim is only valuable to you if you actually bother religiously maintaining it. Raw denim is a pain in the rear, expensive, and it’s hard to maintain over long periods of time, especially in lieu of everyday wear. Still, if you want to do it, go for it- the benefits are pretty cool, and the effect is awesome. If you don’t want to deal with it, though, just go find a really really dark wash pair of jeans (even Levis) and don’t wash them and wear them heavily for a while- you’ll get a similar effect, though not as nice, at a much cheaper price.

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