Battleaxes in Blue: The Ultimate Raw Denim Jacket List

Our Favourite 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 Iron Heart, SOSO, Samurai, Brave Star, Momotaro, Tellason, 3sixteen, The Real McCoy’s, and The Flat Head.

We’ll also highlight pieces from brands Ginew, Three Kingdoms, Ruttloff, Companion Denim, and Blaumann that go toe-to-toe with the titans.

When we started The Redline Rally, it was because we were convinced that the same approach we take to jeans in the Indigo Invitational could produce similar results if applied to shirts and jackets.

We believed that even stubborn and heavy denim jackets would yield to a year of steady pressure. Our jacket-fading competitors in Year 1 and Year 2 of the Redline Rally proved us right and then some. In fact, in Year 1, nine out of ten of the winning pieces were jackets. In Year 2, all ten of them were.

With this guide, we’re revving up for Year 3 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, each jacket listed below is a made-to-fade classic that will be a centrepiece of your wardrobe for years to come.

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Iron Heart IH-526J-142ib Type III (14 oz.)

$400 at Iron Heart

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.

We’re eagerly awaiting the re-release of Iron Heart’s 19 oz. Left-Hand Twill version of the Type III. In Year Two of the Rally, this jacket produced some of the most incredible contrast fades we’ve ever seen. If 14 oz. isn’t heavy enough for you, the LHT is worth waiting for.

Buy Iron Heart from these select retailers: Iron Heart International, Franklin & Poe (US), Division Road (US), Corlection (AU), Brooklyn Clothing (CA).

SOSO 25 oz. Ghost Jacket

From €299 at SOSO

With some help from a Redline competitor who works an exceptionally dirty job, SOSO made a big splash in last year’s Rally with a 33 oz. Chore Coat. It was the first time anybody had taken a serious run at a jacket made from SOSO’s insanely heavy Breaker of Legs fabric. The jacket cruised into the Top 20, and many felt that it should have made it into the Top 10.

Since then, SOSO has debuted their 25 oz. Ghost Selvedge, which has rocketed through the ranks to become the brand’s flagship selvedge. Based on what we’ve seen from the denim so far, it will be perfect for heavy denim jackets, with a chore coat or a Type III being obvious choices.

If you’re looking to make a crater-sized impact in this year’s Rally, put this super-heavyweight at the top of your list.

The 25 oz. denim is also available in a Black UBS. Jackets made from SOSO’s 33 oz. Breaker of Legs Selvedge are the heaviest denim jackets on the market. For something on the more conventional side, try their 13.5 oz. Classic Redline.

Samurai 25th Anniversary Type I (25 oz.)

$390 at Redcast Heritage

The perfect balance of vintage and modern (the legacy brands never made anything approaching this weight), Samurai’s take on the truly classic denim jacket takes the form into new heights.

True to its 1930s inspiration, the jacket is cut high on the body, making it a perfect fit for those who prefer higher-rise jeans. Fast-fading denim will produce stunning contrasts and produce them surprisingly quickly.

A 25 oz. Samurai chore coat won Year 2 of the Rally, so competitors looking for an edge will undoubtedly be looking closely at heavy Samurai jackets like this one for Year 3. Their 25 oz. releases are limited, so they’re not a piece to sleep on.

If you’re looking for a true heirloom piece, Samurai also have a Double Natural Indigo Type II that might be the best-looking version of the ’50s classic on the market.

You can buy Samurai from all of these retailers: Franklin & Poe (US), Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Blue in Green (US), Redcast Heritage (ES), and Corlection (AU).

Few brands can match Brave Star’s track record of beautifully faded jackets. They seem to attract the kinds of lifestyle faders who put the collecting aside and bring all of their attention to one piece at a time, living their wildest life in their selvedge jackets.

The heavy versions of their Ironside jackets thrive when they are treated like this. Every time a faded example rears its head, it brings droves of would-be faders to the Braver Star’s doorstep.

The heavy Ironside is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Long, lean, and mean, it demonstrates all the body-shaping power of the classic Type III.

With its sharp Vs, it flatters a wide range of body shapes, accentuating the chest and shoulders and making the waist appear smaller. Especially in its heavier versions, the jacket looks as though it’s been chiseled out of stone, and it passes its anger and angles on to the wearer.

They offer the jacket in a wide range of weights, but, based on what we’ve seen in the Rally, it’s the heavy jackets that produce the most eye-popping results.

They won’t produce fades like these without being pushed, but they’re more than worth the effort. If you’ve ever wanted that excuse to push your lifestyle limits further than ever before, you’re looking at it.

The Ironside is also available in 14 oz., 14.75 oz., 16.5 oz., in double-black 21.5 oz., and in sherpa-lined blue and black 13 oz. 

Momotaro Type II GTB (15.7 oz.)

$334 at Redcast Heritage

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 III version of this jacket is also a killer. If you don’t have a Type III yet, you won’t do much better than this one.

Momotaro is stocked by: Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Corlection (AU), Hinoya (JP), Division Road (US)

Real McCoy’s Type III (14.5 oz.)

$425 at Lost & Found

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.

Type IIIs are a popular choice in the competition. If you’re looking to separate yourself from the field, Real McCoy’s WWII Chore Coat (10 oz.) is definitely worth a look.

Real McCoy’s is available at these retailers: Lost & Found (CA) and Clutch Café (UK)

Oni Kiwami Type III (16 oz.)

€340 at Redcast Heritage

If you want to broadcast the fact that you have a refined taste in denim, this natural indigo Type III will do that in spades. This shade of blue just doesn’t appear but the top shelf of serious stockists.

Oni is best known for their Secret Denim, and for very good reason. They release a range of Secret Denim jackets regularly, but they sell out in a heartbeat. Keep your eye on stockists that carry Oni. They should have some in time for the competition.

Redcast Heritage is the best place to watch for Secret Denim releases. They restock a few times a year.

You can find more Oni products from: Blue in Green (US) and Redcast Heritage (ES), Hinoya (JP)

Rogue Territory Supply Jacket (15 oz.)

$275 at Stag Provisions

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 the middleweight denim is primed for stunning fades.

The Supply Jacket looks equally incredible in RGT’s Black Stealth Denim, or you can go with the Bond-approved Waxed Tan Ridgeline.

You can buy Rogue Territory here: Stag Provisions (US), Brooklyn Clothing (CA), Redcast Heritage (ES)

Tellason Coverall Jacket (16.5 oz.)

$250 at Tellason

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.

The Coverall Jacket is available in a number of weights and price points, but the 16.5 oz. version is our hands-down favourite. We also highly recommend Tellason’s Type III in the same weight.

Stevenson Rough Rider (10.5 oz.)

$319 AUD at Corlection

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 Linesman Duck Canvas Coverall is also worth a look.

Stevenson is sold at: Redcast Heritage (ES), Corlection (AU), Franklin & Poe (US), Clutch Café (UK)

Three Kingdoms Natural Indigo Type III (15.3 oz.)

¥33,000 JPY at Three Kingdoms Overall

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.

Three Kingdom’s Type II and Type I are equally brilliant, and all are worth the hassle of ordering on their Japanese site.

The Flat Head 60s Type III

$365 at Franklin & Poe

The Flat Head built their reputation on the back of this Pioneer Denim. The brand’s middleweight workhorse is prized the world over for its high-contrast fade potential and striking 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 denim has about is as good a track record as you can find.

Also worth a look are Flat Head’s Type I and their slim-fitting Type II.

The Flat Head is sold at: Redcast Heritage (ES), Corlection (AU), and Franklin & Poe (US)

Warehouse S2001XX Type I (13.5 oz.)

$495 AUD at Corlection

Vintage reproduction specialists Warehouse & Co. have been seen as the benchmarks of quality in the Japanese scene since the ‘90s. Their Type I is about as close as you can come to a true-blue original.

For those who want (or need) to wash their outerwear frequently, this unsanforized beauty will produce spectacular vintage fades.

We can also recommend Warehouse’s WWII Cowboy Jacket, and their Denim Coverall.

Warehouse is sold at these excellent retailers: Clutch Café (UK), Sun House (JP), Corlection (AU), Lost & Found (CA), Hinoya (JP).

Ruttloff J1-22 (13 oz.)

€425 at Ruttloff

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.

The jacket is only currently available in small sizes, but big gents can rejoice. Ruttloff’s custom denim garments are his true masterpieces. Contact Johann if you want to join his quick-moving waiting list.

Pure Blue Japan 6114 Type III (14 oz.)

$418 at Franklin & Poe

Pure Blue Japan don’t mess around. They were one of the first brands to really push denim into truly artisanal territory, and they boast some of the sharpest shears in the game.

Their take on the Type III features slightly smaller-than-usual chest pockets, but this lends the jacket no small amount of charm. Like everything PBJ makes, this denim will fade brilliantly if pushed.

You can buy Mister Freedom at: Franklin & Poe (US), Clutch Café (UK), Hinoya (JP)

Companion Modified Type II (15 oz.)

€495 at Companion Denim

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 their modified Type II, which is one of the best off-the-rack jackets out there.

With leather-backed buttons and your choice of a broad range of blanket linings, this jacket is crammed full of luxurious touches that you just won’t find outside of a custom shop. 

Companion are best known for their custom pieces. Contact them early if you want your custom piece in time for the Redline Rally. 

Ginew Thunderbird (~12 oz.)

$397 at Ginew

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 Waxed Rider Coats.

Big John RARE Jacket (15.5 oz.)

¥44,000 JPY at Hinoya

One of Japan’s most slept-on selvedge brands, Big John keeps their long legacy (stretching back further 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 I (14 oz.)

$231 at Redcast Heritage

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 the generous fit will make it easy to throw over your shoulders.

We can also recommend TCB’s stellar Type III, which sells out exceptionally quickly (another one to keep an eye on and leap at when it is restocked).

3sixteen Shadow Selvedge Type III (14.5 oz.)

$285 at Self Edge

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.)

€309 at Blaumann

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 their list of available shipping options. Email them and they’ll make the necessary arrangements.

Got a Shirt or Jacket? Register for the Redline!

The Redline Rally is a year-long fade competition. There is no better way to generate above-the-belt fades than joining the Rally. Year Two kicked 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.


2 thoughts on “Battleaxes in Blue: The Ultimate Raw Denim Jacket List”

    1. Leather pieces aren’t eligible for the Rally this year (leather is a whole different ballgame). The closest we can get you to patina is waxed pieces.

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