Embrace the “wabi-sabi” characteristics of raw denim


Features of Japanese jeans

At the moment, when it comes to really high-quality traditional denim, in which the traditions of the past are reflected to a greatest extent, the jeans from Japanese manufacturers mainly come to mind as the best options.

If you had the chance to take these gorgeous specimens of jeans in your hands for the first time in your life, then you probably would have been pleasantly amazed by the special “handmade-feeling” of such things, along with the elaboration and attention to details and the heterogeneous texture of denim. True, handmade jeans cannot possibly always be absolutely smooth, symmetrical, etc. Manufacturers often intentionally try to emphasize the “wabi-sabi” characteristic of the Japanese product, where the greatest beauty will not be the absolute perfection of forms but rather lies within a certain amount of intentionally permissible “defects” that are very insignificant and actually adds to the authenticity of the product itself. It is this “finishing touch” that sets the overall impression of completeness of the whole “picture”, where beautifully hand-made craft overrides the lifeless results of machinery.

Here are just a few examples of the small “defects” (or as we say, the check for truly hand-made ) jeans:

1) Leg twist (twisted jeans)

Sometimes we buy an excellent pair of jeans, and after spending a considerable amount of money, we soak them and put them on. However, one of the trousers (most often the left one, with the direction of weaving the twill to the right) suddenly turns out to be strongly twisted, so much so that the edge-selvedge is almost near the lacing of the whorls. This is not a defect. This is an admissible, and sometimes intentionally made by the manufacturer element, characteristic for the classic raw denim.

The fact is that cotton fibers will inevitably contract with soaking and drying and thus, cutting threads will inevitably twist the denim itself, from which the jeans are sewn, in the direction of weaving. In some cases, manufacturers are trying to further emphasize this feature, already initially cutting out the trousers in such a way that the leg twist is more pronounced.

However, if you are a convinced opponent of a leg twist, then just try to choose jeans of which shrinkage will be minimal, and consequently, the tightening of the trousers will be minimal. We suggest sanforized denim. If you do not wash these jeans at a very high temperature, then most likely the leg twist will be expressed minimally or will be absent altogether.
For examples, you can take a look at jeans from a company like Skull Jeans. Denim models 5010 and 5507 are Sanforized, so the shrinkage will be small.

2) Slight difference in the length of the pants

Yes, such nuance is also possible. Again, it is not due to some kind of negligence in production. More often it is also directly related to the shrinkage of the jeans themselves.
Regardless of whether you soak your jeans on your own or if you took a version of jeans with a factory wash (one wash), this nuance may well be noticeable, especially if you wear it with tucked legs.

If you put on wash jeans, fasten them and look at your upturned trouser legs. You may notice that one of the legs can be quite a bit smaller relative to the other (literally by 5mm). This is an absolutely normal situation, which is further aggravated by the fact that, as a rule, the human body is also not quite “symmetrical”. One leg (more often the right one) may be slightly longer than the left one. Therefore, with the example of jeans with a jig, this can also be noticeable. The solution to the problem is very simple – just wear your jeans with pleasure, and very quickly you will completely forget about this “problem”.

3) Stretched (baggy) knees on jeans

Many people that are starting to wear real classic jeans begin to notice that the fabric is gradually starting to stretch. It can be especially noticeable in the knee area. Here, this is because the jeans (in the traditional sense) are made from 100% cotton. As you know, cotton shrinks when soaking and drying. Threads made from cotton with short fibers stretch less, whereas threads made from cotton with long fibers stretch more. But the stretching in those places where there is tension would be a characteristic of any classic jeans.

This is, in a sense a “living” thing. Just as their color changes under the influence of friction, their shapes also change, under the influence of human movement. Sometimes jeans stretch, sometimes they get creases – this is absolutely natural and a normal process for jeans. If you really despise these creases, though, just twist the jeans inside out. lightly drizzle with water and gently smooth out these places with an iron. It will take you no more than 2-3 minutes. You can repeat this procedure at any time.

4) Wrinkled fabric on jeans and denim jackets

It is worth saying that these features are usually inherent in jeans or denim jackets, which have undergone shrinkage directly in the factories (one wash). Often, jeans are blurred and dried at high temperatures to avoid any further shrinkage. Many people prefer this particular product when they are sure that the jeans or jackets they have received are no longer required to be washed, for fear that they will shrink.

For one wash jeans, there may be creases as a consequence of washing and drying in industrial conditions. If you are not familiar with the one wash jeans, when you just take out the raw denim from the parcel, such “bruising” can puzzle you a little. In fact, what happened here is simpler than it seems.  With time and wear, all the irregularities will be fairly quickly smoothed out, and denim in some places will stretch.

These jeans will end up having a beautiful appearance and you won’t even remember the original appearance of such jeans or jackets.

5) Interesting looking protrusion in the denim

As you know, denim, woven on shuttle looms, will be more or less heterogeneous, even if it does not come from the so-called slubby denim. A thread can also have an unequal thickness throughout its length. Manufacturers often deliberately use cotton with uncombed ultra-short fibers, which also make denim deliberately coarse. Periodically, if you look very carefully at the front side of denim, you can find skips of stitches, neprodjadki, etc. phenomena that are also not defects. This is precisely the peculiarity of such an archaic type of denim production.

Thus, we see that classic Japanese jeans are an absolute man-made product. Some features of such jeans, which an unknowing person could consider a defect, are in fact not such. Often this may indicate simply about the features of a particular production, sometimes manufacturers intentionally emphasize such details, trying to give their jeans a “man-made”, “vintage” look. In general, the very charm of an authentic product in many ways consists of many small things, some of which may not always be obvious to the owner of jeans, and some even seem careless. In fact, after all, many of us like a non-uniform, rough, slubby denim, similar to material made by hand. All other details, whether leg twist, intentionally made by the manufacturer is not exactly a straight line, etc. and are about the same – an indication that this thing was done by people and for people.