Purchasing denim is not something that should go without thought, and with all sorts of terminology flying around; it can at times become hard to distinguish what exactly you are buying in to. Alongside the fabric, the weight and the wash, you have size, style and fit all to be considered, so once you’ve found the perfect pair, you’ll want them to last.
For all the denim connoisseurs out there, I’m sure you have got a bit of an idea as to the benefits of purchasing decent pair of ‘Selvedge’ denim. Any good pair you do purchase, however, will arrive at a premium so it’s important that you know what you’re buying in to.
The term ‘Selvedge’ derives from a traditional technique of denim construction. Before the 1950’s, denim, like most fabrics, was made on shuttle looms, which would produce tightly woven strips of heavy fabric. To prevent fraying at the edges of the fabric, they were finished with tightly woven bands running down each side. Because the edges came out of the loom finished, they are referred to having a self-edge, hence the name ‘selvedge’.
Down to cost effectiveness, the majority of the denim you purchase today is non-selvedge and many people are missing out on the benefits selvedge denim has to offer. Luckily, thanks to the ‘Heritage trend’ of recent years, Selvedge has made somewhat of resurgence. With several desirable characteristics such as higher quality fabric and superior durability, it’s easy to see why Selvedge denim has made a comeback.
An important thing to consider when purchasing and one common misconception people have is that Selvedge and ‘Raw’ denim is the same thing, but it's important you know the difference. Raw or ‘Dry’ denim refers to the wash while Selvedge refers to the edge of the denim and although most Raw denim is selvedge, not all selvedge denim is raw.
In Part 2 I’ll cover how they fit and the best ways to keep them fresh as you wear them and don’t wash them!
In the meantime here some other links to sites that cover the world of selvedge denim.