As a new retail business owner and being a part of denim market in Melbourne, Australia. URBAN LUPE store in Flemington is trying to introduce fine made in USA garments to our Aussie customers who are into the culture of tradition American workwear, especially to whom in love with Selvedge Denim. However, after 6 months since we opened our door in Novermber 2016, many customers are still wondering “what is Selvedge Denim”? so here are some notes that I would like to share to our friends about the definition of Selvedge Denim.
So What Is Selvedge Denim?
Just by simply look on the outseam of a pair of jeans, people wills say: “I prefer the left one because they look better than the right one, it looks premium and been made well compare to the other one on the right side”.
This is just by the simple look of general speaking, but behind the look, selvedge denim is a woven fabric that uses a continuous weft yarn that loops back and forth horizontally sealing the edge of the fabric so that there is no need to use a serger to prevent unravelling (like the outseam on the right in above picture), it’s called Self Edged or self-binding edge when a fabric is being woven. This request the fabric has to be looped in the traditional way on a vintage shuttle loom machine as per below picture is showing.
and Why selvedge? What’s the benefits?
First of all, the quality, Selvedge fabric provide strong texture and construction that can hold tide for a pair of jeans, this makes selvedge jeans are durable for long term wearing and using.
Secondly, most of selvedge denim are made in heavy raw denim fabric (over 13oz), which means the jeans are non-washed in a pure indigo colour. This is like a plain canvas that require the owner has to wear and tear as long as they want to show the fading result on their jeans, which create unique character of the people and adding this unique value on their jeans.
Then, it is the look, as most of the selvedge denim are made in raw stiff fabric, by wearing them will soften and stretch the fabric according to your waist and leg shape, this helps you to to get the right pair of jeans for your body type, and the colour is easy to match with everything you put on. Also people wearing selvedge denim with cuff, which is roll up the jeans to showing the selvedge outseam that can go with either boots or sneakers on your feet.
But don’t mix up that all selvedge denim are raw denim. Both selvedge and non-selvedge denim can be made in Raw unwashed fabric. They can be even made as one pair of jeans.
Why Railcar Fine Goods and Rogue Territory?
It is all about the tradition of denim. We all know that Levi’s is the first jean company in the world, and the purpose of making jeans is for workwear, however after year during growing of fast fashion, jeans are not only for worker anymore, anyone can wear a pair of jeans on any purpose, it also brings a lot low quality cheap jeans into the market. After all these happened, people like Steve and Tawny from Railcar Fine Goods, and Karl and Leslie from Rogue Territory, they focus on to keeping the tradition going of American workwear, which means the products they create has to be in strong material, heavy duty with top quality for the people who love to wearing them on daily basis. The fabric they sourcing is not an easy work which involved a lot testing on fabric shrinking, dyeing and fading process from outside of the States, also it requires more attention on details when Steven or Karl is making the denims products, for example with RGT, all their denims are single needle continuous stitch on waistband with belt loops sewn into it, this even stronger the hold of the belt loop on the jeans. Also with both brands, their design is much more casual look then traditional work look.
In conclusion, it is really a personal preference of which kind of denim jeans you would like to wear, but I hope this can help people to understand the true value behind the products, it’s not only because the items are all made by hand and located in the U.S so they are expensive, it is because the passion and hard works of their creators have been put onto when they been created.