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Howdy everyone - thought it would be interesting to talk about denim-related or community aligned blogs (and their posts) in this thread here.
I have my own, too, so I'll post on here occasionally when I update it or release something new.
I'll start with some of my favorites -
Feel free to share your own or any posts that you enjoy!
For this first round of supertalk denim articles, we've consulted our denim expert friends at Heddels. We're re-publishing some definitive editorials - originally posted a few years back - that help enlighten us to the various mysteries and intricacies of the denim universe. Many topics have been covered in extensive detail on numerous supertalk threads going back to 2003, but these essential Heddels articles summarize things perfectly.
The first thing many people say at the mention of raw denim is, “Those are the jeans you’re not supposed to wash, right?” How you launder them has become inextricably tied to the notion of raw denim jeans and a whole host of myths, tricks, and hearsay that have garbled up the discussion of something that is actually quite straightforward.
We’re here to give you the definitive guide of when, how, and why you should wash your raw denim jeans.
When Should You Wash Your Jeans
This is probably the biggest sticking point amongst raw denim fans, many of which will tell you with certainty that washing any sooner than 6 months after you first bought your jeans is a mortal sin and you will absolutely ruin the denim.
The truth is, your raw denim is a well-made, sturdy, piece of workwear and can take as many washes as you decide to throw at it and keep on humming. The caveat here is that the indigo they are dyed in may not.
One of the biggest appeals of raw denim is that it will conform and fade to your body the longer you wear it. The reason your jeans fade along with what you do in them is because they are losing indigo in the places they naturally abrade: where they fold behind your knees, when you scrape them on the concrete, against your wallet in your back pocket. The more indigo you have to lose, the greater the eye-popping contrast between those natural stress points and the rest of the jean will be.
A pair of well faded jeans.
When you wash your jeans, however, you lose indigo throughout the entirety of the jean, so the resulting fade will have less contrast. The flipside here is that the longer you wait to wash your jeans, the more that dirt and grime will build up within the fabric and the more brittle and stretched out the cotton fibers will be and the more likely your jeans will start to blow out and rip apart.
If it’s just a small stain, you might be able to get away with spot cleaning. Ultimately though, if you’re ever in doubt, you should probably wash your jeans. For me, that’s about every 3-4 months of moderate wear. Some people who only wear their jeans on the weekends can go for years, while people who are very active and wear their jeans everyday can barely wait a month. If you’re still unsure, have a look at our guide to 6 Signs You Should Probably Wash Your Jeans.
Once you’re ready to say it’s time for a wash though, read on for how to do it right.
Things to Note Before You Wash
Unsanforized shrink to fit denim before a wash (left) and after (right).
Now there are a few things you might want to take into account if this is the first time you are washing your jeans.
Shrinkage – All jeans shrink when they are first exposed to water. Unsanforized (“Shrink-to-Fit”) jeans will reduce in size roughly 5-10% throughout the jean after the first wash and dry, but even pre-shrunk Sanforized jeans will still shrink about 3-5% on first wash. The waist on sanforized jeans will eventually stretch back out, but what you lose in inseam length will not. If you hem your jeans before the first wash, please keep this in mind or you might have the snazziest pair of denim flood pants around. Temperature – The warmer the water, the more indigo you will lose and the more the denim will shrink. This is true for any sort of wash. Indigo Transfer – Don’t wash your jeans with anything that you don’t intend to dye blue! Raw denim naturally bleeds indigo–it’s how you get your fades–but it hemorrhages when it’s wet. If you’re washing your jeans in the tub, be ready for a little blue porcelain. Clean your Washing Area – Make sure your tub is clean and free of chemicals or your washing machine has nothing but the detergent you are using to wash your jeans loaded up. More than a few pairs of jeans have bleached, stained, and everything in between from gunk hanging around. How to Wash Your Raw Denim
Everyone has their own method of washing their jeans that they get just right. Below is our straightforward way that’s easy to use and will give you fresh jeans with minimal indigo loss in under 10 steps:
Run a cool-lukewarm bath and add your soap. I recommend Woolite Dark or Dr. Bronner’s but have used shampoo in a pinch before as well. Wait for the soap to be completely dissolved in the water and place your jeans in the tub. Turn off the water when there’s enough for the jeans to be completely submerged (around 3-4 inches). Agitate the jeans under the water for a few minutes then place them so that all parts of the jean are under water. You may have to use shampoo bottles to hold it down if your jeans are especially buoyant. Leave your jeans in the tub for 30-45 minutes (or just watch our Ueno shop tour video five times). Agitate your jeans one more time and then drain the tub. Once the tub is completely empty, refill it with again with cold water and leave the jeans in it for another 5-10 minutes. This will rinse out any remaining soap. Drain the tub and hang your jeans to dry over the drain or outside–they will drip indigo water for a while. Let them dry overnight and voila–clean jeans! Alternate Methods
We personally go for the tub wash, but not everyone shares that sentiment nor even owns a tub. Here are a couple other methods you might have heard about and why we think the tub soak is the best method out there.
Washing Machine – Quite a few people simply toss their jeans in the washing machine, which is a perfectly valid and probably more sanitary way to wash your pants. The caveat here is that the way you earn your fades in your raw denim is through the creases that set into the denim. Washing machines tumble, spin, and agitate, which could not only remove those creases but also add a few of their own. If you do choose to wash with a machine though, DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DRYER. The dryer will shrivel your jeans into a raw denim raisin with a host of weird new creases.
Dry Cleaning – Some people swear by taking their jeans to the cleaners, after all, how can your jeans shrink if they never even touch water? That may be well and good, but the dry cleaner will be more expensive than anything at home, you won’t know what chemicals they’re using on your jeans, and you have to really trust them as some cleaners might just toss them in their industrial washer and dryer instead.
Ocean Washing – The ocean wash trend used to be much more popular, but it’s still not uncommon to see someone taking their jeans for a day at the beach. Rubbing sand and seawater on your pants may increase the fades, but it is not an acceptable or hygienic way to wash them. If you choose to do an ocean wash, you’ll need to wash again in freshwater or risk smelling like low tide.
Original article written by Nick Coe
Step-by-Step Video on How To Wash Your Denim
01 | superfuture started in 1999. how old were you then?
I was 15 back then.
02 | how did you first discover sufu?
In 2007 or 2008 I first read about Nudie Jeans and it was the gateway drug into raw denim. In 2009 I joined the mynudies forum but learned very quick that there's better denim out there as well as a better forum where it is discussed. I was lurking a few months before joining as I was a bit intimidated by the experienced users there. superfuture and mynudies user Beautiful_freak was a great promoter of SuFu, so I decided to join in October 2010 by sharing some of my faded jeans and pictures of Levi Strauss' birthplace.
03 | there are plenty of shopping experts on supertalk. what's your specialty? are you a pro?
I am by no means an expert, but know a thing or two about denim (especially Samurai and Iron Heart) and shoes/boots.
I know a lot about fading jeans however, it's what got me hooked back then and still is most entertaining, to see how a fabric evolves over time and share it with fellow people. I can also give sizing and washing advice and know some cuts, so I always like to give advice to new members. My other interests are records, whisky and tattoos. I think I would rather think of me as an expert in these subjects, but besides the tattoos thread in superculture I don't share them here.
04 | reputation is everything in an online community. how's yours going? do you ever get neg repped?
I can't complain, there's some very friendly users that give positive reputation, mainly for my faded jeans. I am not a very stylish person so most rep comes for fades or WAYJDT (What are your jeans doing today)-posts. And I got a few points through the old rep system.
05 | online forums are all about the members, threads and posts. who and what keeps you addicted?
There's always a period when my interests shift towards my other interests, but the community always keeps me coming back. There's a core of enthusiasts that are passionate about their gear which makes it fun to come back every now and then to keep in touch. Also there are many great contests and world tours happening, I also like to read older threads with this content. The OOE Yofukuten world tour being the finest so far, in my opinion. Besides that, I think that the denim blunders thread is often very entertaining, reaching political dimensions sometimes just to come back to very profane matters.
06 | supertalkers are based all over the planet. have you met any IRL?
I have met a few indeed, and all were great guys. Beautiful_freak, Volvo240thebest, Atzec, Almostnice, Kayodic and Blue Nemo come to my mind immediately, but I think there were more (also from other forums). It was always a good time and a good opportunity to be nerdy.
07 | are you fast and furious / slow chilled and controlled / or bitter and twisted?
Sometimes bitter, but I think online I'm pretty chilled.
08 | the internet is full of crap. with over 3.2 million posts since 2003 has supertalk been a credible contributor or a major culprit?
Most of it is super useful information and there are very well informed regulars here.
09 | if supertalk got accidentally deleted would you be devastated or relieved? You often need to lose something to fully understand its value... so I'm certain I would be devastated a while as this place has played a part in my life for almost 7 years now. 10 | if you could nominate another superstar who would it be?
It has to be Maynard Friedman, we need to know more about this guy. Beautiful_Freak is a close second as he's a super active user for many years.
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