Conventional Denim or Selvedge Denim? What’s the difference?
Have you ever been to the denim section of a store and been faced with the task of deciding to purchase Selvedge or Conventional Denim? To most of us the difference is unclear, including myself at the time of writing. When I posed the question around the office I was greeted with a cheeky smile and handed the Spring Summer Catalogue given to us by Levis® and told to go away, have a read and enlighten myself. What I found was the key that opened the door to answer all of my unanswered questions giving me an insight into everything from the way that denim is produced to the proper maintenance of investments in denim apparel. Knowledge I am happy to share with my fellow Stuarts London followers.
What is the difference between Selvedge denim and Conventional Denim?
To understand this I had to learn a little bit about the way that garments are produced. Selvedge denim is made using a shuttle loom which produced the denim textile leaving a continuous yarn at off the edges of the fabric so it self-seals without and stray yarn at the end. This results in a narrower fabric not only giving selvedge denim a premium, quality feel but is easily visible to the untrained eye in the outseam of the finished pair of jeans
Almost all jeans pre-1950’s were made in this way until mass popularity forced denim producers to adopt different production technologies such as a projectile loom. Despite being able to produce denim more efficiently the projectile method of denim production means the finished textile loses the cleanly sealed edge. After comparing a pair of Levis Vintage 501’s in store with my pair of high street knockdowns, this was made apparent when I looked at the outseam to reveal a frayed edge. In order to finish a type of jean using this type of denim all of the edges have to be stitched to keep the fabric from unravelling, taking away that extra feel of premium quality.
The Difference in Style
Conventional jeans are great for pre-made style as more often than not they have been pre-washed to match the style that we want when we purchase our jeans. The same results can be achieved with Selvedge Denim for the desired style that us men want from our jeans. Because Selvedge Denim has not been pre-washed to soften the fabric, reduce shrinkage or stop the dye from rubbing off they are great for buying and adapting them for the look that you want, be it worn, tight or regular fits. All you have to do to give your jeans your desired look is to know what to do to get your desired style. Here at Stuarts London we stock products to help all of our customers achieve their desired finish from first wear until first wash. Methods of stylisation for selvedge denim vary depending upon what style you particularly want. Brands such as Levi’s® Vintage, Nudie Jeans and Edwin have specific style and care guides in order to help customers get the optimal style for what each wearer wants.
Who Makes Selvedge Denim?
Selvedge denim is still made in remote, with a few remaining selvedge denim cotton mills in the world. Perhaps the most well-known is Cone Mills in North Carolina which has been making denim since the early 1900’ for the Levi’s® brand. There are still some remaining Selvedge mills dotted around the rest of the world mainly in Japan and other parts of Asia. If you are curious about where you vintage jeans come your brand of preference will be able to specify to you the mill upon which they are made.
Where can I buy real quality Vintage Selvedge Denim?
You will be hard pushed to find Vintage Selvedge in your local high street store. Luckily we here at Stuarts London are one of 6 stockists in the UK of some exclusive Levi’s Vintage Selvedge Denim ranges in store or online. You can browse through our full collection of Jeans here, Conventional or Selvedge.
Browse Stuarts London Selvedge Denim Jeans Collection
|LEVIS VINTAGE 1967 – 505 RIGID PRE-SHRUNK DARK INDIGO JEANS||EDWIN JEANS NASHVILLE UNWASHED RED SELVAGE||NAKED AND FAMOUS SLIM GUY DIRTY FADE SELVEDGE DENIM|
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Shop For Denim At Stuarts London
|ARMANI JEANS J35 EXTRA SLIM DENIM JEANS||REPLAY WAITOM LIGHT WASH DENIM JEANS||MR. BLACK GARMENT ESSENTIALS|
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