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THE 3 TIERS OF RAW DENIM
JEANS TO MATCH EVERY FIRST-TIME BUYER’S BUDGET
So you want to begin your journey in pursuit of the ultimate pair of beautifully faded jeans. You’ve done a bit of reading, have figured out your sanforized from your unsanforized, and your honeycombs from your whiskers. The only problem is that you’re no further forward in deciding which jeans to actually buy. For the first time raw denim buyer this can be a tricky time. There are so many different brands floating around at so many different price points that if you don’t know a little about it you can end up spending hours shredding your legs to bits, trying on pair after pair of stiff, indigo jeans. Worse still, you could end up taking a stab in the dark and buying online. The problem is that it can be tricky to return serious denim, since much of it has to be bought through websites such as eBay. To help you make a more informed decision, allow us to walk you through three different price points for raw denim, and what you can expect for your money.
Entry level Price: £60 - £100
This is a good place to start if you’re trying raw denim for the first time. Unwashed jeans can be stiff, tight and super uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. People who aren’t used to it could easily end up getting frustrated if they’d dropped £200 on something they could barely sit down in. That makes this price bracket a good introduction. Jeans in this category will usually be selvedge, around 10 to 15oz and produced in countries like China and Vietnam. Obviously, you’re not going to get the same level of craftsmanship as you might in higher end options, but you can still get a solid pair of jeans. Unbranded for example are well known by denim-heads for being the best entry-level brand around. The brand’s 201 is our pick because they’re made from 14oz Japanese denim but is relatively pain-free to break in. The jeans also feature a wide top block and tapered leg, allowing them to look great on a variety of body shapes.
Mid Level Price: £100 - £200
Maybe it’s your first try and you have a bit more cash to splash. Or perhaps you’ve had a go and are ready to move on from entry-level denim. Either way, this is where you need to be looking. Generally speaking you can expect jeans at this level to be manufactured in Europe, USA and Japan. At this price, you’ll also begin seeing more variation in cuts, fits and use of different fabrics. Brands that produce jeans in this bracket include Naked and Famous, Nudie, Japan Blue, Rogue Territory and more. Our pick is the A.P.C. Petit New Standard. They’re made from Japanese selvedge denim and are well-known for being one of the best fitting and highest quality jeans in this price range.
High level Price: £200 - £300
Pretty much every fabric produced for jeans at this level is made exclusively for the brand in question. Single companies almost exclusively produce high-level jeans in Japan and the USA, with little to no outside contracting. Some high-level denim is even produced by one-man operations such as WH Ranch Dungarees, where a sole employee and the owner do everything. Most denim at this price will be unsanforized, as this is the way that denim was made originally. A lot of denim obsessives also claim that this produces more interesting fades, but that’s debatable. The Samurai Jeans s5000s is a beautiful example of 21oz jeans from one of the most low-profile, yet highly revered brands in the world of raw denim.
How much do you budget for denim jeans? #Menswear— Menswear Style (@MenswearStyle) December 30, 2016