How to Get the Best Fades from Your Raw Denim

So you've got these sweet pair of raw denim and you want to wear them into an authentic, ass-kicking fade like you've seen in the Future Vintage Project. And you know that simply chucking them in the wash with your gym clothes and office khakis is a sure way for them to end up as poster pants for mediocrity. You're ready to start treating your raw denims properly so they can do right by you. Here are a few tips to get that true "well-worn, yet ready for more" look.  

(1) For Starters, Do Not Wash, Soak

Repeat after me, "FOR STARTERS, DO NOT WASH, SOAK." This is mainly done for unsanforized denim, which will shrink quite a bit. Even sanforized raw denim will shrink too. Soaking will promote a good, even shrink. For best results, we recommend turning your denims inside-out and weighing them down to minimize movement, which will prevent your jeans from losing indigo.  

(2) Starch for Those Sharp Dramatic Creases

Raw denim is stiff because it comes to you from the factory heavily starched. Once your jeans are worn in here and there, the starch promotes and accentuates creasing, which leads to glorious fades. So you may want to consider re-upping on starch. You can buy liquid starch to be applied from the can or bottle, or make your own by mixing a couple of teaspoons full of cornstarch with hot water in a spray bottle.  

(3) Hang Dry

Once you've soaked and/or starched your denims, hang dry. Don't fold them, as you risk creating creases where you do not want them.   Now your ready to start working towards some true fades.   Hanging_raw_denim  

(4) Hem Cuff or Stack, But be Consistent

The best fades come from consistent movement from the wearer. Now life can be unpredictable and we're in no way saying you must adopt an "eat, sleep, work, repeat" routine. But you can be consistent in how you wear your jeans. Specifically you have three options for how your jeans sit on your ankles – hemming, cuffing and stacking. Hemming is when you have your jeans tailored to the proper length. Just don't do it till you've soaked your jeans to make sure they've shrunk to your body before taking the scissors to them.   For a more casual, workingman or street friendly look, cuffing is a great option. If kept under 2 inches, we think cuffs can look great.   Stacking is a fancy way of saying your jeans are naturally gathering around your ankles. Stacking can look great provided your jeans aren't too long and allow for the kind of creasing that leads to great fades.  

(5) Consider Weraring Inside Out Wear for Extra Friction

The color of the insides of your jeans is the color they will eventually fade to. This color is also referred to as the "weft" or underlying color of the fabric. Amongst others things, your jeans will fade from friction created from rubbing against surfaces. And when that surface is  your skin, more friction will be constant, leading to faster creasing and faster fades.  

(6) Do Some Crease Promoting Activities

Try doing some yoga in your denims. Ride a bike. Kick box your roommate. Try parkour. Any activities that gets your body, and particularly your legs moving will promote creasing and fading. Now go!  

(7) Rub Coffee Beans in Areas Wear You Want a Little Extra Fade

Still here. OK, since you've stuck around we've got a "cheat" for promoting faster fades right where you want them. Try rubbing coffee beans on your jeans, particularly in areas where you want some faster, more accentuated fading. Why? Because coffee is acidic, and the acids in coffee will break down the fabric just enough to get a natural looking fade.  

(8) Do Nothing

Yes, being a couch-potato is almost as good as a full on boot camp workout when it comes to promoting awesome fades in your jeans. Try watching three full football games on an NFL Sunday or binging on season four of Breaking Bad. Whatever you choose, be sure to stay very still in your denims on your couch to promote natural creasing.  

(9) Wait Before Washing for High Contrasts Fades

To get those fades and creases standing out proud, wait a few months before washing. How many months depends on how extreme you want to go, some people will wait up to a year. We're partial to six to seven months ourselves. And when your ready to wash, consider using Woolite Dark detergent to minimize the lose of indigo from your jeans.   So there you have it. 9 things to keep in mind to get those ass kicking fades. Ready for raw denim? If so, check out some of the great styles over at Cult of Individuality.

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