For better or for worse, our jeans have seen a lot of s***. Guys usually don’t like to talk about themselves, but a good pair of raw denim tells the story for us. Raw denim jeans keeps record of your every move without the need for heartfelt words. And like anything, the better you take care of them, and the richer the experiences, the better story they will have to tell. But still there are ways to maximize, and highlight those experiences. There are a whole range of approaches to treating, customizing and stylizing your own raw denim, most of them are used by people who engage in fade contests, or raw denim challenges like Cult's Future Vintage Project
. Some might be considered “cheats” to the hard-core, but to others, customizing is customizing. Do whatever works for you. Not all of these steps will fit your style, so feel free to leave any out, use them all or add your own twist or technique.
STEP 1: Soak your jeans.
Some denim heads like to give them a hot soak with a ton of starch, others like to put them on and soak in the tub, and let them dry to fit their body. Still others like a good cold soak. Whatever the case, the consensus is that soaking your raw denim first will loosen up the indigo, and help the jeans conform to your body easier.
STEP 2: Wear and contort.
Start when they are still damp from a soak. Bend a twist, sit and stretch. Cross your legs, help reinforce the developing creases by pinching and creasing them. Rub them in. Do this every time you wear them.
STEP 3: Do not wash! Do not fold!
To many denim heads, washing a new pair of raw is practically a cardinal sin. They recommend wearing them frequently, and continuing to crease and break them in without machine or hand washing them, for up to a year. Most recommend well over 6 months. And try not to fold them, but lay them out when you aren't using them instead.
STEP 4: Encourage those shapes.
Some wearers like to add custom shapes. The marks of their iPhone, the wallet, a great set of whiskers, whatever. And to encourage this, they will use an abrasive technique. Anything from constant rubbing with their hands, up to something more abrasive like a fine sand paper. Just remember, the more abrasive, the more you will be challenging the integrity of the material. To most, this is part of the charm.
STEP 5: Wash and admire.
Once you feel like you’ve really worn in your denim the way you want, and they are mastering your own form. It’s time to wash, hang dry, and admire what you have created. This doesn’t mean you can’t continue improving your masterpiece, but at this point- they should be well on their way to your own custom, hand faded vintage pair of raw denim.
STEP "Oh yeah": You're going to need a pair of raw denim!
Of course, it all starts with a great set of raw denim. We recommend checking out the Dry collection from Cult of Individuality. Cult's Rebel Straight cut comes a very unique Cinch Back
design in addition to the straight up Dry
style. The Hagen Relaxed comes in three types of raw denim: Dry
(with a red stitch), Slate Dry
(with light blue stitching) and Grey Dry
(with yellow stitching). There also is a Rocker Slim
style for the guys that just want a basic slim-cut raw jean. We consider them all the perfect first step to your own Future Vintage.