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Raw Selvedge Denim Breakdown

We get a lot of customers who come into the shop and notice there’s something unique about our Tellason and Freenote jeans. The heaviness of the denim. The stiffness of the selvedge fabric. And the deep, beautiful indigo dye.

But not everyone is ready to spend $200 on a pair of jeans. So, what makes them so special? And what the heck is selvedge denim anyway?

It comes down to two things: high-quality clothing and timeless style.

Durable fabric and impeccable construction

When we say jeans are ‘selvedge’(also spelled selvage and self-edge), we’re talking about how the denim fabric was made. Selvedge denim is tightly woven on a traditional shuttle loom, where a single shuttle threads one continuous yarn back and forth throughout the fabric. This leaves the edges sealed, as opposed to leaving stray yarns, like the fabric produced by projectile looms. Most jeans you see in stores are made from fabrics that are woven on projectile looms, which are twice the size of shuttle looms and weave much more fabric at a faster speed. Good for producing mass amounts, bad for ensuring quality fabric.

Unlike shuttle looms, projectile looms utilize multiple threads attached to ‘projectiles’ that shoot from left to right across the fabric. Once they reach the edge, the threads get cut, rather than looping around like on a shuttle loom.

One easy way to tell if a pair of jeans is selvedge, is to fold up the cuff and look for the colored sticthing. The Tellasons we carry in the shop have the signature red stitching from Cone Denim Mills.

Red line selvedge

All of the jeans you’ll find in our shop are raw selvedge denim, with the exception of the Freenote Rios Slim Straight 6 Month Wash.

The folks at Freenote made their Rios 6 Month Wash jeans to look like the fade of raw denim that’s undergone a wash after 6 months of wear. The wash and treatment start the break-in process for you, giving the jeans a softer feel than raw denim. And because of the wash, the fabric isn’t raw, but it is still selvedge(because of how the fabric was woven).

All of the other denim in our shop is ‘raw’, which means the fabric hasn’t been treated or washed — it’s in the exact same condition as when it came off the shuttle loom. So when you own a pair of raw selvedge denim, you get the full use of the fabric — beginning from its purest form all the way to its very last wash.

Jeans like time capsules

Beginning the first day you wear your jeans, the deep indigo dye starts bleeding from the fabric, and in the first couple of weeks, you’ll even see the blue rub onto your fingers. 

Over time, enough indigo loss will happen so that you’ll begin to see the white cotton underneath. This is the fading process. Raw denim has become increasingly popular in part to these coveted fades.

As you wear your jeans, every crease develops naturally based on how the denim hangs on your body. Every scrape, every tear, and everything you regularly keep in your pockets leave their mark in the fabric. So with each pair, you get something truly unique to your body and to the life you’ve lived in those jeans.

Owning a pair is like keeping a journal. They transition from dark to light, from new to worn-in, and the journeys you’ve taken are embedded within the fabric of your jeans.

What we carry at Stripe Men

The brand we’ve been carrying the longest, Tellason, makes 100% U.S.-made selvedge jeans. The fabric comes from Cone Denim Mills in North Carolina, and the jeans are sewn in San Francisco. The buttons, the leather patch, even the thread is made in the U.S.

We carry three fits from Tellason:

Ankara Straight (17.5" leg opening)

John Graham Mellor Slim Straight (15.75" leg opening)

Ladbroke Grove Slim Tapered (14" leg opening); also in black Japanese Denim

    Each pair comes with a 36” inseam, and if you’d like to get your jeans hemmed, Tellason offers a free hem as well as one free crotch repair.

    We chose to carry selvedge jeans at Stripe Men because they represent our commitment to classic style, durable clothing, and quality craftsmanship. They’ve been around for over 100 years, and no matter what, we’ll always have them in the shop.

    So when you look at a pair of jeans, and wonder why you’d ever spend so much on them, we tell you about the details, the simplicity, and all the care that goes into such a well made product.

    Come on into the shop and we’d love to talk to you about them!

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