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Denim Blunders, Reflections and General Nonsense.

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I would love to own a silver wallet chain but I'm not willing to pay $1k plus for one.  I'm fine with my two brass chains for now.  My IH chain was a steal before Rodeo Bros stopped selling IH.  I got it for $50.

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After getting my 180z PBJs back from the repair shop for the 4th time, only to find a hole in the left pocket bag, it's got me to wondering - is the quality argument that we all make really true?

I've had my x13s since last December and probably have between 5-6 months of wear days on them. My first repair came after 3 months in. The crotch was reinforced, but it puts extra stress on the edges of the repair fabric and that's where new holes develop.

DOn't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I love the jeans. I've loved them since trying them on and I love them now that they're kind of beat. But are they of high quality? That I'm not so sure of.

Didn't want to put this in the PBJ thread because I don't want to turn people off the brand (I've had similar/worse experiences with Iron Heart 18oz and 25oz).

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I had to repair my Joe McCoy's ballpark sweat yesterday after wearing it sparingly for two years or so. 

Today I'm wearing a Carhartt sweat that was 1/3 of the price and has been worn hard for 5 years. Theres no noticeable wear on it anywhere. 

The quality of each is not the same but the longevity is starting to tell it's own story. 

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I’ve always thought that it didn’t make a lot of sense to buy the nice things we buy purely for longevity. I buy it because I like clothing with character that is designed well, fits well, and only looks better as it ages. 

I think that, in many cases, the whole durability thing is really just a story we like to believe is true. 

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Depends on brand too I guess.  I'm sure that that the people in Japan voice their opinions too on the quality and longevity on their clothing brands as well!

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It's interesting to hear other people's experiences. I figured I'm a bit of an outlier because I walk a lot (10km most days), but guys who cycle a lot should have a similar experience to me, or perhaps worse.

I remember being kind of pissed off when I had my first Iron Heart blowout, because people talk about their jeans like they're bombproof. Now I know it's just part of the game, and I'm prone to blowouts.

In my experimenting with various brands over the years I've found that nothing beats a Reigning Champ hoodie or sweatshirt or an Iron Heart shirt for long lasting quality.

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Claiming that iron heart jeans are more durable is just a talking point. Those were my first jeans and I was interested in the thickness though...

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16 minutes ago, itsbenhere said:

Claiming that iron heart jeans are more durable is just a talking point. Those were my first jeans and I was interested in the thickness though...

Regarding to bike wear or just in general?  I thought the consensus was the brand made denim to withstand motorcycle riding?

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Longevity musn't necessarily be a factor in perceived quality, as you've said. There are other ingredients like source material, construction, etc. but at the end of the day it's all subjective. I blow out my elbows on all of the denim shirts, flannels etc. I've owned from our favorite brands, and yet my cheap Uniqlo denim chambray has lost the least amount of color and has yet to blow in the elbows though I've worn it nearly double the amount of say even an FC Type 1 jacket which is ready to burst.

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i own reigning champ, nigel cabourn, lady white co, iron heart, and studio dartisan.  out of all of those i would rank IH lowest only because they were the only shirts to get the little tiny holes in them. I've worn my lady white co shirt pretty frequently and it might be on of my favourite shirts

 

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25 minutes ago, mlwdp said:

Regarding to bike wear or just in general?  I thought the consensus was the brand made denim to withstand motorcycle riding?

I think the inspiration of the brand is motorcycle wear, even though they’ve changed a lot with Giles, but even then most of the stuff is probably as durable as anything else. 

 

To to be fair though, if I was in a crash I’d probably prefer a 22oz super black jacket than my flat head type 2...

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I've had more issues with my raw denim jeans in terms of crotch durability than I did with any of the cheaper pairs of jeans that I wore before, even though I wore much, tighter fits back then. While I can't be certain, I believe that part of it has to do with the stretch fabrics used. While we love 100% cotton, poly-cotton is supposedly more durability for sewing threads. It's possible that the cheaper poly-cotton and cotton blend fabrics used to make cheaper sweatshirts and shirts may actually be more durable while the stretch fabrics help lower stress as well.

In other garments, however, my experience has been that our 'heritage work wear' clothing or whatever you want to call it has much higher levels of durability. My RJB sneakers' soles look hardly worn in the same amount of time worn that I had to replace a pair of Vans. My RMC A2 leather jacket has held up far better than the fake leather jacket I had years ago (I know this is not an apples to apples comparison). My Clinch engineers have held up far better than the boots I wore in the past as well.

I don't really expect my jeans, shirts, or sweatshirts to last any longer than cheap equivalents, but I do expect my leather products to last longer.

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31 minutes ago, itsbenhere said:

I think the inspiration of the brand is motorcycle wear, even though they’ve changed a lot with Giles, but even then most of the stuff is probably as durable as anything else. 

 

To to be fair though, if I was in a crash I’d probably prefer a 22oz super black jacket than my flat head type 2...

Yeah I barely see if any at all the Japanese bikers wearing IH on Instagram.  I mostly see them wearing either West Ride which uses reinforced crotches in their denim to prevent blowout and Trophy Denim.  

IMG_2637.JPG

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3 hours ago, dudewuttheheck said:

I've had more issues with my raw denim jeans in terms of crotch durability than I did with any of the cheaper pairs of jeans that I wore before, even though I wore much, tighter fits back then. While I can't be certain, I believe that part of it has to do with the stretch fabrics used. While we love 100% cotton, poly-cotton is supposedly more durability for sewing threads. It's possible that the cheaper poly-cotton and cotton blend fabrics used to make cheaper sweatshirts and shirts may actually be more durable while the stretch fabrics help lower stress as well.

Another big issue is washing regiments.

It's no secret that the loinal region isn't the cleanest on Earth, and sweats a lot. Regular washing is key, and in my recent experience, regular hot washing is better. Case in point (and I talked about this on DB): last year I picked up a used pair of Sugar Cane jeans off Yahoo Auctions JP for the little lady. The jeans in question are pretty darn faded, and have obviously been worn hard for years. And yet the crotch shows absolutely no signs of tearing or blowing out. Judging by the fried patch, and very white weft and pocket bags, the previous owner had clearly hot washed them often. The average Japanese denim head seems to wash his jeans about once a week, no differently than you would a pair of mall Levi's. Double 0 at Denimbro, for example, regularly hot washes his jeans, outside-out (contrary to what most people prescribe to) to get his jeans clean after doing manual labor and traipsing through mud, etc. in them.

tl;dr wash your jeans often to prevent crotch blow outs.

Edited by Iron Horse

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5 minutes ago, Iron Horse said:

Another big issue is washing regiments.

It's no secret that the loinal region isn't the cleanest on Earth, and sweats a lot. Regular washing is key, and in my recent experience, regular hot washing is better. Case in point (and I talked about this on DB): last year I picked up a used pair of Sugar Cane jeans off Yahoo Auctions JP for the little lady. The jeans in questions are pretty darn faded, and have obviously been worn hard for years. And yet the crotch shows absolutely no signs of tearing or blowing out. Judging by the fried patch, and very white weft and pocket bags, the previous owner had clearly hot washed them often. The average Japanese denim head seems to wash his jeans about once a week, no differently than you would a pair of mall Levi's.

tl;dr wash your jeans often to prevent crotch blow outs.

That's a good point. I definitely do not wash my jeans enough which very likely at least partly explains my issues with crotch wear. Those jeans she wears are amazing, btw. 

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38 minutes ago, dudewuttheheck said:

That's a good point. I definitely do not wash my jeans enough which very likely at least partly explains my issues with crotch wear. Those jeans she wears are amazing, btw. 

Yes, they were quite the score. B) 

But yeah, bacteria growing on the crotch is a big issue, IME. 

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Interesting - I always thought my crotch blowouts were due to being a fat bastard. 

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I noticed a huge difference in longevity once i started washing my jeans often. I used to have to fix every 6 months or so but now I’m able to go 1+ Year without needing to get repairs done. I’m prob washing once every couple of weeks...one month at the longest. 

Edited by youngofthesoonest

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59 minutes ago, youngofthesoonest said:

I noticed a huge difference in longevity once i started washing my jeans often.

same here. I have 1 pair in my rotation that I haven't washed yet and those are going on about 8 months of wear. Those already have holes in the cuff and the back of the knee. My other jeans though have been washed repeatedly and while there are a few bits of wear and tear on them the damage isn't as bad as my unwashed denim. With most of my denim though I usually do a cold soak in the tub to get rid of the starch, and then follow that with semi-regular washes.

Edited by ColonelAngus

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I'm reading this as 'buy two new pairs and do a side by side comparison in the name of science.'

Stephen Hawking Memorial jeans experiment? Anyone want to contribute?

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Remember when everyone thought you had to wait like a year to wash your jeans? That was really dumb...

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And sized down so much they wouldn’t fit after the wash

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I have found poly-cotton thread to be far more durable than all cotton thread. On my Samurai jeans w/ cotton thread, I've had threads break due to wear exposure within a couple of weeks. On IH jeans w/ poly-cotton thread, the same areas have taken either 10+ times longer to break or have never broken. 

An issue I've mentioned some time ago re: denim durability (this was regarding Oni in particular) is that Japanese denim is woven for character, not durability. Yarns are spun with mixed fibers at low tension, and the fabric itself is woven with low tension, both to achieve slubbiness, neppiness, irregularity, etc. - all of the things denim heads wax on and on and on and on about.... and complain about Cone being too boring and dull because it doesn't have enough character. It's this character, if you will, that makes the denim less durable. Durable fabrics use tightly, evenly spun yarns and tightly, evenly woven fabric, in addition to more durable fibers other than cotton. 

It's really ironic to me that Japanese denim is woven to recreate the character of old Cone denim, yet Cone denim was woven to be durable as possible and the irregularities were a result of the weight and actions of the looms causing the wood framed floor to bounce. If those looms were installed on a concrete slab-on--grade floor, there wouldn't have been as many if any irregularities. 

Re: crotch blowouts, I still do not understand why it happens to some and not others. All I can come to is that it's a combination of fit, denim and activity. I do think tighter fits lead to a higher chance or greater severity of blowouts. The only pair I've had a rupture in is my IH 634-XHS that where too small when I was in good shape during the time I was wearing them. And, it was only at the left leg at the top of the inseam. I presume it was mainly due to getting into my car (an SUV), and I could feel the stress/stretch every time I lifted and extended my leg in that manner. Of course it could be due to other movement patterns as well... 

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19 hours ago, Iron Horse said:

Another big issue is washing regiments.

It's no secret that the loinal region isn't the cleanest on Earth, and sweats a lot. Regular washing is key, and in my recent experience, regular hot washing is better. Case in point (and I talked about this on DB): last year I picked up a used pair of Sugar Cane jeans off Yahoo Auctions JP for the little lady. The jeans in question are pretty darn faded, and have obviously been worn hard for years. And yet the crotch shows absolutely no signs of tearing or blowing out. Judging by the fried patch, and very white weft and pocket bags, the previous owner had clearly hot washed them often. The average Japanese denim head seems to wash his jeans about once a week, no differently than you would a pair of mall Levi's. Double 0 at Denimbro, for example, regularly hot washes his jeans, outside-out (contrary to what most people prescribe to) to get his jeans clean after doing manual labor and traipsing through mud, etc. in them.

tl;dr wash your jeans often to prevent crotch blow outs.

Been doing this with my full counts. No signs of crotch blowout thus far, and they’re def in the autumn of their useful life. Cotton stitching has held up rather well as a result too. 

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2 hours ago, mpukas said:

I have found poly-cotton thread to be far more durable than all cotton thread. On my Samurai jeans w/ cotton thread, I've had threads break due to wear exposure within a couple of weeks. On IH jeans w/ poly-cotton thread, the same areas have taken either 10+ times longer to break or have never broken. 

An issue I've mentioned some time ago re: denim durability (this was regarding Oni in particular) is that Japanese denim is woven for character, not durability. Yarns are spun with mixed fibers at low tension, and the fabric itself is woven with low tension, both to achieve slubbiness, neppiness, irregularity, etc. - all of the things denim heads wax on and on and on and on about.... and complain about Cone being too boring and dull because it doesn't have enough character. It's this character, if you will, that makes the denim less durable. Durable fabrics use tightly, evenly spun yarns and tightly, evenly woven fabric, in addition to more durable fibers other than cotton. 

It's really ironic to me that Japanese denim is woven to recreate the character of old Cone denim, yet Cone denim was woven to be durable as possible and the irregularities were a result of the weight and actions of the looms causing the wood framed floor to bounce. If those looms were installed on a concrete slab-on--grade floor, there wouldn't have been as many if any irregularities. 

Re: crotch blowouts, I still do not understand why it happens to some and not others. All I can come to is that it's a combination of fit, denim and activity. I do think tighter fits lead to a higher chance or greater severity of blowouts. The only pair I've had a rupture in is my IH 634-XHS that where too small when I was in good shape during the time I was wearing them. And, it was only at the left leg at the top of the inseam. I presume it was mainly due to getting into my car (an SUV), and I could feel the stress/stretch every time I lifted and extended my leg in that manner. Of course it could be due to other movement patterns as well... 

A lot of Japanese denim is not woven to look like old Cone denim, it's woven to be it's own, interesting entity. 

Also, some older Cone denim or at least American denim was less consistent. Look at what Conner's Sewing Factory is doing. You can clearly tell that their WWII denim is less even than their post-WWII denim.This is meant to accurately recreate the differences between these two eras of denim production because the Levi's denim produced during WWII was less even and consistent. The Flat Head, RJB, Samurai, PBJ, Oni, Momotaro, Tanuki, and many more do not try to reproduce Cone denim at all. That is a gross overstatement.

Also, 10 times more durable seems like an overstatement. Maybe that's true for you, but I have had poly cotton threads brake on me just as quickly as cotton threads in some cases. It does not mean that I think cotton thread is equally as durable, but it's not always a massive difference. I think washing and getting the right size are much more important factors.

Edited by dudewuttheheck

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The basic sentiment of my ramble is that durability is not the primary concern of Japanese denim makers, and the character of worn Cone denim, partially due to  unintentionally irregularity, influences many denims they create. Some more than others. I didn't say or try to imply they are all trying to recreate Cone denim exactly. In Weaving Shibusa Kobayashi-san talks about his first pair of Levi's, and how he developed his own brand's denim. From what I infer he was influenced and inspired on some level by the characteristics of his Cone denim jeans. Obviously his denims are very different to Cone's denims as well as any other denim. 

10+ times more durable is an intentional exaggeration... 

Edited by mpukas

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I think mpukas' point was that many brands (mills) sought to reproduce and even emphasisethe irregularities in cones early denim before cone nailed a consistent, more uniform fabric. In doing so brands have created their own trademark textures that they now use to distinguish themselves as opposed to refine the material to be as uniform and durable as cone did, obviously to attract customers by the details we obsess over.

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On 3/14/2018 at 3:37 PM, zwer said:

After getting my 180z PBJs back from the repair shop for the 4th time, only to find a hole in the left pocket bag, it's got me to wondering - is the quality argument that we all make really true?

I've had my x13s since last December and probably have between 5-6 months of wear days on them. My first repair came after 3 months in. The crotch was reinforced, but it puts extra stress on the edges of the repair fabric and that's where new holes develop.

DOn't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I love the jeans. I've loved them since trying them on and I love them now that they're kind of beat. But are they of high quality? That I'm not so sure of.

Didn't want to put this in the PBJ thread because I don't want to turn people off the brand (I've had similar/worse experiences with Iron Heart 18oz and 25oz).

The one pair of PBJ I owned wore out kinda quick in the crotch, but to be fair, I did bike in them regularly (to and from university, nothing too strenuous.) The first pair of jeans I actually wore out in the crotch. I blame the low tension weave PBJ is known for. I just don't feel like they're purpose-built to handle heavy wear.

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16 hours ago, itsbenhere said:

Remember when everyone thought you had to wait like a year to wash your jeans? That was really dumb...

There's still much of that going around. Even worse, never washing your denim for the sake of fades. Weird...

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