Our Top 20 Made-to-Fade Raw Denim Jackets
Even for expert-level faders, denim jackets represent a unique challenge. Jackets seem to take enormous amounts of time to fade beautifully. When we spot a well-faded raw denim jacket in the wild, the story is a familiar one: “Oh, this old thing? I’ve had it for years.”
Brands you’ll find in this guide
In this guide, we’ll look at the best made-to-fade denim jackets both from makers you might be familiar with, like Samurai, Iron Heart, Momotaro, Tellason, 3sixteen, The Real McCoy’s, and The Flat Head.
We believed that even stubborn and heavy denim jackets would yield to a year of steady pressure. Our jacket-fading competitors in Year 1 of the Redline Rally proved us right and then some. In fact, out of our top ten pieces, nine of them were jackets.
With this guide, we’re revving up for the Year 2 of the Rally, and we’re expecting a solid mix of jackets and shirts again this second year of the competition. Competitors can register one of each to hedge their bets. Though lined pieces are eligible, we’re recommending only unlined jackets.
If you are searching for a raw denim jacket, we’ve got you covered with this guide that lists 20 of our all-time favourite raw denim jackets. Even if you don’t plan to compete with it, you’ll have a made-to-fade classic that will be a centrepiece of your wardrobe for years to come.
Our guides are reader-supported. We earn a small commission when you click on some of our links and buy something. It doesn’t cost you anything. Availability and price of the products we recommend are subject to change.
Iron Heart IH-526J-142ib Type III (14 oz.)
This is the lightest denim that Iron Heart uses for their jackets (the heavy ones go up to 22 oz.). The silver medalist in the first running of the Rally exhibited all the potential of this jacket and then some.
Arguably the best-looking Type III on the market, this jacket is also one of the most stubborn beasts in the denim world (even at this weight). Not for the faint of heart.
Iron Heart also makes a brilliant and slubby version of their Type II that we highly recommend.
Samurai WWII Jacket (17 oz.)
The perfect balance of vintage and modern (the legacy brands never made anything approaching this weight), Samurai’s WWII Jacket is a triple-pleated treasure.
Cut high on the body, this jacket will work best for those who prefer higher-rise jeans. Fast-fading denim means this one will jump out to an early lead.
Momotaro Type III GTB (15.7 oz.)
It seems only appropriate that when you go to battle, you do so in Momotaro’s iconic battle stripes.
The painted stripes around the arm will chip and fade as you put the jacket through its paces. A faded GTB jacket belongs in every serious collector’s wardrobe.
The Type II version of this jacket, which is a little harder to track down, might be even more of a head-turner than the Type III.
Real McCoy’s Type III (14.5 oz.)
This immaculate and streamlined reproduction of the 1960s Type III gets absolutely everything right. Most importantly, no hand-warmer pockets.
It’s Bryan’s humble opinion that hand-warmer pockets and the Type III shouldn’t mix. For this reason (among many others), one of these is hanging on a hook next to his door.
Oni Secret Denim Coverall Jacket (20 oz.)
So striking and such a perfect use of Oni’s flagship denim that these are as rare as hen’s teeth. Blink and you’ll miss your chance to pick up a piece of denim history.
The beige and green tones work together brilliantly, and the loosely woven denim will become as soft as butter after a few hundred wears. Worth waiting for.
It won’t last long, but the Type III in the brown-weft Moca Secret Denim will go down in history as an all-time great.
Rogue Territory Supply Jacket (15 oz.)
While the classic denim jacket forms have legions of devotees both old and new, there are plenty of denimheads who want to go their own way and depart from tradition.
Rogue Territory’s Supply Jacket has built up a considerable following as one of the cleanest modern designs out there, and they’re primed for stunning fades.
Tellason Coverall Jacket (16.5 oz.)
Though Tellason’s Coverall jacket took shape in the twenty-first century, the design cues here are much older.
The newspaper pocket on the chest (remember when people read newspapers?) is large enough to fit a book. Whatever you like to carry with you, you’ll have pockets to spare with this one.
Stevenson Rough Rider (10.5 oz.)
The Storm Rider, in both its lined and unlined versions, inspired nearly as many loving tributes as the iconic Levi’s jackets.
Stevenson’s recently released Rough Rider, complete with sulphur-dyed grey weft, features a subtle twist on the Storm Rider’s instantly recognizable front placket. Giddyup.
Stevenson’s Prairie Indigo Selvage Canvas Chore Coat is also worth a look.
Three Kingdoms Natural Indigo Type III (15.3 oz.)
Three Kingdoms Overalls don’t make much of an effort to address the market outside of Japan, so their gorgeous pieces are rarely seen in the West.
Their natural indigo Type III, with its large button-down flaps, is a muscular take on the essential style. Best of all, no hand-warmers.
The Flat Head 60s Type III
The Flat Head built their reputation on the back of this beautiful denim, prized for its high-contrast fade potential and its vertical texture.
They’ve used the same denim in this jacket, and they’ve kept the design simple. If you’re looking for fades that will grab attention, this is as good as you can get.
Warehouse S2000XX WWII Jacket (13.5 oz.)
Vintage reproduction specialists Warehouse & Co. have been seen as the benchmarks of quality in the Japanese scene since the ‘90s. Their WWII Type I is based on the pared-down jackets produced during wartime.
For those who want (or need) to wash their outerwear frequently, this unsanforized beauty will produce spectacular vintage fades.
Ruttloff J1-22 (13 oz.)
Johann Ruttloff could go toe to toe with Saville Row tailors. He is a master of the rivet, a virtuoso of the chain stitch.
His most recent off-the-rack release is a denim jacket that draws inspiration from both the Type II and the Type III.
The green-tinted Kuroki denim and the contrasting cognac thread place this jacket in a category of its own.
Ruttloff’s custom garments are his true masterpieces. Contact Johann if you want to join his quick-moving waiting list.
Mister Freedom Ranch Blouse (13.75 oz.)
Christophe Loiron’s designs, infused with all the charm and mystery of the American Southwest, have made Mister Freedom a beacon for those who want to straddle the past/present divide.
Their Ranch Blouse, with its rounded collar and M-shaped arcuates, is equally at home on the range and on the street.
The Ranch Blouse is also available in stunning double indigo.
Companion Cone Denim Tribute (14.75 oz.)
While Companion’s beautiful custom pieces might be the first thing that most denim collectors think of when they hear the brand’s name, Companion also has a range of off-the-rack pieces, including this stunning Cone Mills Tribute jacket.
At this price point, this represents a great opportunity to slide your arms into something made by one of Europe’s premier denim ateliers.
Ginew Thunderbird (12 oz.)
This denim may be primed for beautiful fades, but few are willing to get one of these dirty enough to bring out the light blues locked beneath the surface.
The embroidery under the collar and the concealed chain-stitched thunderbird at the cuff, which will reveal itself slowly as the jacket ages, mark this piece as something truly special. This isn’t just a jacket. It’s a legend in the making.
We can also recommend Ginew’s simpler Shop Jacket.
Big John RARE Jacket (15.5 oz.)
One of Japan’s most slept-on selvedge brands, Big John keeps their long legacy (longer than any other Japanese denim brand) intact with a corner of their sprawling catalogue devoted to well-made selvedge.
Their RARE denim, first introduced in 1980, produces fades that need to be seen to be believed.
For more classic workwear styling and a touch more weight, try Big John’s XXXX Extra Jacket.
TCB Type II (13.5 oz.)
A runaway hit in the selvedge scene since their debut, TCB’s no-nonsense approach to vintage style and attractive price point make them an easy choice for those who want to get a lot for a little.
Zimbabwe cotton means that this jacket will quickly become supple and soft, and the paper patch will crumble with wear and washing.
3sixteen Shadow Selvedge Type III (14.5 oz.)
This is the denim that 3sixteen built their name on, and it’s not hard to see why. It develops sharp contrasts and fades to a vibrant shade of blue.
Corduroy pocket bags and cuff linings add a touch of style and luxury, and the brand’s trademark crossed yoke design at the back makes this a piece that selvedge lovers can identify in a heartbeat. A true modern classic.
3sixteen also offers this jacket in a lighter 12 oz. Shadow Selvedge.
Blaumann Denim Jacke (15 oz.)
Last, but certainly not least, Blaumann’s Denim Jacket is perfect for those who are unsure whether they want button-down flaps or open patch pockets.
Made from sturdy 15 oz. Japanese denim, this jacket is built like a tank. Broad-shouldered and thick-trunked, it won’t be pushed over easily.
Blaumann might not include your country among its shipping options. Email them and they’ll make the necessary arrangements.
Got a Shirt or Jacket? Register for the Redline!
The Redline Rally is our year-long fade competition. There is no better way to generate above-the-belt fades than to join the Rally. Year Two kicks off on January 1, 2023.
Like the Indigo Invitational, the Rally helps you move one piece to the center of your rotation and do some real damage. Even slow faders produce results if they stick with the program.