Indigo Hands - source: ShitDenim
Summary of this article
This article lists five facts that are central to the discussion of denim and five pieces of advice that will help you achieve the best wear results.
Denim Facts and Buyer’s Guide

What does it take to become a denimhunter?

As with almost anything else, you got to have passion. Curiousity doesn’t hurt either. And if you have patience while wearing in your dry denim jeans, the very construction of the fabric will reward you with enviable results – which is basically what the fuzz is all about.

Fact 1: The Invention of Jeans

Levi Strauss didn’t invent jeans.

Already decades before the first pair of Levi’s jeans was created in 1873 denim work pants were produced in California.

The rightful inventor of what made Levi’s jeans stand out among its competitors’ products, and what made them such a huge success, namely the rivet, was not Levi Strauss either, but the tailor Jacob Davis.

Fact 2: Japanese Denim and Quality

It’s a myth that the Japanese have imported old American looms that are used in modern day mass production of high quality denim.

Supposedly it was the owner of Evisu who came to this marketing stunt.

Read more here.

Fact 3: Selvedge vs. Non-Selvedge

Selvedge denim isn’t necessarily of higher quality or more durable than non-selvedge denim. However, it often fades with more contrast.

Basically it comes down to the threads used and how they’re spun in addition to the indigo dyeing process and what kind of indigo that’s used.

Read more about selvedge here or have a look at the high quality non-selvage denims developed by Indigofera.

Fact 4: The Origins of the Cuff

The fashion of cuffing jeans dates from the time before sanforization, which was invented in the 1920s.

Before that all jeans were shrink-to-fit. As the name indicates, the jeans will shrink once washed, especially in length.

Unsanforized denim shrinks up to 10% and as the desired end result generally is an inseam around 80-90 centimeters the pants must be purchased with about 10 centimeters too long. Therefore, what cowboys and workers did until the fabric had shrunken enough, was to cuff the pants. Also, in the early days, many brands only offered one length.

Fact 5: The Original Name For the Zipper

Lee claims to be the first manufacturer to have used zippers in jeans in the 1920s. The company originally called the zipper “Whizit” when they introduced the magical invention to jeans in 1926.

The zipper as we know it today was patented in 1917 by Gideon Sundbäck, yet already in 1851, Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine, had patented his “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.”

The story goes that the zipper got its name when an employee of the footwear manufacturer BF Goodrich was by sliding the fastener up and down a boot and exclaimed, “Zip ‘er up!”

Today, the zipper is the most prevalent fastener, used on everything from clothes to luggage to shoes to packaging. Nevertheless, many hardcore denim enthusiasts would never wear jeans with zippers. The reason would most likely be caused by the fact that a button fly creates beautiful fadings and that with shrink-to-fit denim a zipper usually start bulging after shrinkage.

Advice 1: Try On Jeans Before You Buy

When shopping for a new pair jeans, always try them on before you buy. Sizes vary a lot.

Personally I wear everything from waist size 29 to 33, but I actually measure about 33 inches.

Advice 2: Be Careful With Indigo Rub-Off

Excess indigo may rub off of your new dark blue denim jeans. Be it on your white underwear, your mother-in-law’s new white leather sofa or even on your pale legs. But don’t panic, it usually comes off again with soap and water.

Advice 3: Wear To Tear!

This is a no-brainer, but jeans will not get worn in from lying around in your closet.

If you’re out to get a natural and contrasting look for your new dry denim jeans then wear them as much as you can and wash them as little as possible.

For a more detailed walk through have a look at our guide to wash your dry denim jeans and our guide about how to rinse your jeans.

Advice 4: Buy Jeans That Fit

Buy jeans according to your body shape and size!

If you are a big guy with tree trunks for thighs then the latest super-tight-fit jean will probably not work for you. If you’re that big guy, have a look at UBi-IND.

Advice 5: Price vs. Quality

Price and quality are usually closely related.

It is not always immediately possible to spot the difference between the price starter and premium model. It often depends on the cost of production (e.g. China vs. USA), the way the thread used in the fabric is spun, details and trims, and of course the brand.

There a many ways to cut costs, but on of the best examples of how low price points and high quality can go hand in hand is Pointer Brand.

 

In my world, denimhunting is also closely related to the search for facts. According to Collins English Dictionary, ‘fact’ can be defined as, “a truth verifiable from experience or observation.”

To get that experience or do those observations you have to get your hands dirty. So get out there and start wearing and tearing that denim!