Selvedge denim, back in the business
Despite the term “selvedge denim” is associated with “raw”, these have completely different meanings, the first one is about the edge of de denim whereas raw is about the “wash” on the denim itself.
Before the 1950 decade, most of the denim was made on “shuttle looms”, which uses a small device that leaves a “self-edge”, sealing all the edges of the fabric so there are no fray yarns.
However, after that time, the denim jeans demand dramatically increased; therefore, the mill companies started to make denim in “projectile looms” in order to produce massive orders at a lower cost. However, the edges of the fabric are not sealed when using this kind of loom, causing the denim sensitive to fray.
People passionate about denim, might think the opposite way but, a none “selvedge” jean does not necessary mean that the quality is poor, it’s just about a finishing that might be less fancy and traditional; but, with a great manufacturing quality, it could last the same and it could also have a clean and/or pretty finish.
US manufacturers were the first to process selvedge denim, but when the mills changed to the massive production, the styles become obsolete; leaving that to the Japanese market. Nowadays, there’s only one mill that still produces this type of denim, its edge id color is red, the id colors are now used for decorative purposes only.
“It is so interesting to see how this denim is on the market again, we have developed and produced new styles using fake selvedge appliqués because of the reborn selvedge “boom”, upturned cuff styles “showing” the colored lines on the out seam were so popular, our last season was the skinny selvedge jeans for men”, said Salomon Juan Marcos Villarreal, president of Grupo Denim, a recognized manufacturing company, located in La Laguna, Mexico.