Raw Denim Care Guide
Raw Denim Care
There are lot of schools when it comes to raw denim care and there are no right or wrong answers. Mostly, it depends on personal preference and what kind of look you want to achieve with your denim. In this guide we’ve compiled comprehensive information on what to be aware of and a cause-and-effect overview of how you’re raw denim will end up, depending on your choice of care. We’ll kick it off with some basic, but oh-so important information for those of you thinking of going raw for the first time.
WHAT IS RAW DENIM?
Raw denim, also called “dry denim” or “unwashed denim” is a pair of untreated denims. The fabric is not washed, bleached or distressed artificially after the garment is finished, the trousers basically go directly to you, straight off the loom.
Instead of creating a worn and washed look at a laundry facility, the raw denim will get there over time, reflecting how you wear and care for them. It’s a long term commitment, a longer lasting and more personal garment. As the jeans are worn, they will crease and mold to fit the body, getting softer and more comfortable with time, fading at points of strain and wear and tear according to your lifestyle.
The ASKET Raw Denim is made of 13oz denim fabric, which is a common mid-weight - it’s rigid but will become soft and comfortable within a few wears. The weight is good for most seasons and is the perfect balance of durability and comfort.
BE AWARE OF BLEEDING
One aspect of the denim dyeing process is that not all of the dye gets into the fiber, and that there is always some indigo dye stuff left on the surface of the yarns, as the denim has not been washed or treated after dyeing. As a result, the denim will “bleed”, meaning that the indigo color will smudge onto any surface it rubs against. This is nothing unusual but you need to be aware when wearing the denim close to lighter colored clothing. Here are a few tips for you:
STRETCHING AND SHRINKAGE
Since raw denim are unwashed, they’re not preshrunk. If you’ve had raw denim before, you’ll know it’s inherently tricky to predict your long-term fit. Thankfully, we’ve been testing our denim for months on end, observing how they behave on 20 different people with various styles and ways of washing and caring. So we know exactly how they’ll behave. Firstly, the Asket Raw Denim Jeans are sanforized. This means that they have been treated with water in the production process to stabilize the fabric for more predictable fluctuation in fit with wear and wash.
From the initial fit of an unworn ASKET Raw Denim, the jeans may stretch up to 3-5% with wear (that’s 1-1.5”/2,5-4cm on a 32” waist). How much they’ll stretch depends on how tight the fit is over various areas from the start. Say the jeans are very tight across the thighs but comfy around the calves in the beginning, then the thigh width will be exposed to more stress and therefore naturally stretch more than the calf-width which will remain roughly the same.
When you eventually wash the denim, it’ll shrink back another 3-5%. Put them on after wash and they’ll be snug. Then, with wear, they’ll stretch back out. So what’s my long term fit? It’s the fit you had before you washed them the first time, it’ll always go back out to that.
FADING, WHISKERS AND HONEYCOMBS
The beauty of raw denim is that it’ll mold, shape and fade according to your life. Unlike the events of life however, you can control the outcome of your raw denim. Here are the basic mechanics of how raw denim behave depending on wear and wash. We strongly prefer options 1-2 as 3-4 kind of kills the charm of raw denim right away.
Option 1: To maintain the raw denim look don’t wash at all. You can consider dry cleaning to kill bacteria without affecting the color. Eventually fading is unavoidable, but so long as you don’t wash, the overall raw indigo look will stick.
Option 2: To achieve high contrast fade and make whiskers (the contrasting lines going from the crotch across your lap) and honeycomb marks (the contrasting honeycomb-like marks at the back of your knee) pop, you want to do as above - wear the denim for as long as possible without washing, at least a year, but then wash at low temperature (30-40C). For lower contrasts along faded areas, wear for a year and wash at high temperature instead.
Option 3: To maintain an even color and reduce fading, wash before you wear. Washing directly will rinse out some color but also stabilize the color. The gentlest wash would be a simple soaking of the denim in cold water, followed by 30C machine wash. The higher the temperature and and intensity of the wash, the lighter the denim will come out - but the more the color will stabilize too.
Option 4: For little to no contrast over time, wash at 60C (make sure you account for shrinkage). Your denim will come out more classic blue than dark indigo and won’t fade much.
For our own preferred denim care, check our digital care label.
HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR RAW DENIMS
Jeans are not indestructible, nor immortal, it is frankly the most common and hard used garment in our wardrobes. The longer you wear your jeans between washes, sweat, oil and dirt are breaking down the cotton fibers and can create holes and breakage. Specially in the crotch area, therefore a wash from time to time can prolong the lifetime of the garment.
HOW TO AVOID CROTCH HOLES
Crotch holes are the result of friction on the fabric between your thighs. The better the fit, the lower the friction. Make sure your denim don’t slide down and sit too low on the hip. Sometimes that bulks up fabric between your thighs that will be exposed to friction when you walk or move.
Holes happen, but they’re not the end of the world. In fact, when it comes to raw denim, they’re part of the personalisation process. A well worn raw denim can last for years, it’s a long term commitment so be prepared for some mending. Mending your holes before they get too big is important to prolong the life of your denim. If you need spare fabric patches to get a whole fixed, email us at [email protected] and we’ll get you kitted.