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Stages of breaking in a pair of raw denim jeans

Andy Yong
Andy Yong

Published: 11 December 2015, 6:56 PM

Is the arduous process really worth it?

You have probably heard of raw denim now. If you have not, well it is time to come out from the rock you have been living under.

With the slow but steady rise of brands such as Nudie Jeans and April 77 here in Singapore, one might wonder what is with the hype about raw denim. What makes them so different from normal jeans?

GOOD QUALITY SELVEDGE DENIM CAN GENERALLY BE IDENTIFIED BY A RED STITCHING.

In a nutshell, the main difference between raw and treated (normal) denim jeans is that normal denim has been pre-washed in the manufacturing process, which softens the jeans and prevents dye from fading off. Raw denim skips this step which allows you to “personalise” you jeans.

You know those ‘pre-distressed’ and ripped jeans you used to see everywhere? With raw denim, you create a pair of jeans that are uniquely yours, with fades and creases based on your body shape and how you wear them.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is. The process of properly breaking in a pair of raw denim jeans is arduous and takes months.
MY TWO YEAR OLD PAIR OF CHEAP MONDAYS. THE HOLE WAS A RESULT OF MY WALLET HAVING A MONEY CLIP.

I got myself a new pair of raw denim jeans from H&M earlier this year. Here is my experience of breaking them in for your viewing pleasure.

Stage 1 – Tough and inflexible

The first two months of wear were agonising. My jeans were about as tough and inflexible as that Chinese teacher I had in primary school. Putting them on was no easy feat and taking them off took me a good two minutes. It felt incredibly rigid and something as simple as bending my knees to sit or stand took extra effort.
IF I TOOK A SHOT EVERY TIME I THOUGHT TO MYSELF “IS THIS REALLY WORTH IT?” I WOULD HAVE PROBABLY DIED FROM ALCOHOL POISONING.

Stage 2 – Signs of breaking in

My previous two months of torture seemed kind of worth it now as my jeans began to soften around the third month of wear. I could feel the denim adjusting to my legs and creases around the knees and pockets were forming.

In my opinion, the denim was the perfect mix between stiff and flexible, and it quickly became my go-to pair of jeans.

Stage 3 – First wash

I finally got around to washing my pair of jeans after eight months. I did not want to be the extremist who goes years without washing to create “sick fades” at the expense of hygiene.
TO AVOID WASHING, SOME EVEN GO AS FAR AS PUTTING THEIR JEANS IN THE FREEZER TO KILL OFF BACTERIA.
Following a guide I found online, I soaked my jeans in lukewarm water with soap for 45 minutes. The water quickly turned to a greyish-blue colour which I supposed was a combination of indigo dye and dirt.

Stage 4 – Eureka!

My pair of jeans certainly looked and felt different after the first wash. They were unmistakably softer and had transformed from a dark, indigo colour to a lighter shade of blue.

HERE THEY ARE, AFTER ENDURING EVERYTHING FROM NIGHTS OUT TO GOING ON IMPROMPTU HIKES

While some people prefer to skip the hassle and get a pair of normal jeans, I personally enjoy the process of breaking them in, as you really do reap what you sow.


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