Life Cycle of Raw Denim
Denim is one of the toughest material in the clothing industry. Believe it or not, there are denim jeans that were originally produced in the 18th century (check it out here).
Before I joined the AKINGSNY crew, I had very little knowledge of the different forms of denim that's available in the market today. I didn't fully understand why some of my jeans were so stiff when I purchased them. In this blog, I talk about the typical life cycle of raw denim that you should expect within the first six to twelve months after purchase.
First 30 days
Raw denim means that it hasn't gone through the full wash cycles that other jeans have that give them their distressing and variation of shades. This typically means that some of the color may rub off, so it's important to keep whites away.
The denim itself will be pretty stiff for the first few weeks. Unless you wear them everyday, I wouldn't expect them to grow more comfortable within this time frame.
At this point, you should feel your denim starting to loosen up a bit. Important point to make is that raw denim will typically stretch a bit, so if you feel that they're looser than when you purchased them, this is completely normal.
Fades will start to come in by this point as well. These fades are reflective of how you wore your jeans, as well as what you put in the pockets of your jeans.
You shouldn't try to wash these even by the end of the 4th month. We feel that they should go a few more months (at least 6 months) before they should be given a wash.
What happens if you wash them too early?
You lose the opportunity to have a characteristic fading process of your denim that you spent a lot of time and resources to buy and care for these jeans. After all, the process of the fade is one of the main reasons why people love to buy raw denim.
Once you've reached this point, you should feel pretty accomplished with yourself. This is a big milestone, especially if you've been religiously wearing your denim for the past 180 days.
Now, you can start to consider giving your denim its first wash. Before you do, here are two questions you should always ask.
1. Do I feel that my jeans have finally achieved the right amount of fade and creases?
2. Will my jeans lose the contrast in the shades of blue if I wash them now?
While answering these may require some experience of owning a pair of raw denim, I think it's safe to follow your gut instincts on this one.
By this point, you and your pair of jeans will have gone through a lot. But that's the beauty of it. It's sort of a diary of the time that has gone by written through the distressing and fades on your jeans.
Important point to make is that you need to give your jeans at least one wash. Otherwise, the bacteria may eat through certain parts of the denim (most likely near the crotch area as it is dark and damp).
I'm hoping to document the progress of the denim fades once I get my hands on a new pair of raw denim. But until then, check out our collection of raw denim.