Japanese Selvedge Denim FAQ's

What is Japanese selvedge denim?

Japanese selvedge denim refers to a type of denim fabric woven on traditional shuttle looms in Japan. It is characterized by its tightly woven construction and the distinct selvedge edge, which is a self-finished edge on the fabric's sides.

What makes Japanese selvedge denim special?

Japanese selvedge denim is highly regarded for its superior quality and craftsmanship. It is typically made from premium, long-staple cotton and woven using traditional techniques, resulting in a dense and durable fabric with a unique texture and character.

How is Japanese selvedge denim different from regular denim?

Compared to regular denim, Japanese selvedge denim is often woven at a slower pace, producing a tighter weave and a denser fabric. It tends to have a more pronounced, slubby texture and deeper indigo hues. Additionally, Japanese selvedge denim is known for its selvedge edge, which is a clean, finished edge that prevents the fabric from unraveling.

Often Japanese denim brands sell their jeans raw or unwashed meaning that the jeans have been made from fabric that is straight from the loom without any washing or processes. This can also be called loomstate or unsanforized. Another common term is 'dry' as made popular by Nudie jeans.

Where can I buy Japanese selvedge denim?

Of course you can purchase Japanese selvedge denim at URAHARA. There are a handful of other specialty denim boutiques, both online and offline around the world that carry a wide selection of Japanese selvedge denim brands. Get in touch for any recommendations!

How do I care for Japanese selvedge denim?

Caring for Japanese selvedge denim involves some specific considerations. It is generally recommended to wash selvedge denim sparingly to preserve its unique characteristics.

When washing is necessary, a gentle, cold-water hand wash or a delicate machine cycle with mild detergent is recommended. Avoid using bleach or harsh chemicals, and air-drying is preferred over machine drying to minimize shrinkage and maintain the fabric's integrity.

Are all Japanese denim brands selvedge?

No, not all Japanese denim brands produce selvedge denim. While Japan has a rich heritage in denim production, some brands choose to focus on other aspects of denim manufacturing or use non-selvedge fabrics.
It's always a good idea to research specific brands or check product descriptions to confirm if a particular denim is selvedge.

Does Japanese selvedge denim shrink?

Yes, Japanese selvedge denim has a tendency to shrink, especially during the first wash. This is due to the fabric's raw and unwashed state.
To minimize shrinkage, some manufacturers pre-shrink the denim or provide sizing recommendations to account for potential shrinkage.

Why is selvedge denim so expensive?

Selvedge denim tends to be more expensive compared to regular denim due to several factors:
Manufacturing Process: Selvedge denim is typically woven on old-fashioned shuttle looms, which are slower and more labor-intensive than modern projectile looms used in mass production. The intricate weaving process and limited production capacity contribute to the higher cost of selvedge denim.

Quality of Materials: Japanese selvedge denim is often made from high-quality, long-staple cotton, which is more expensive to source than lower-grade cotton used in mass-produced denim. The use of premium materials enhances the fabric's durability, texture, and overall aesthetic appeal.

Artisanal Craftsmanship: Selvedge denim is associated with meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail. Skilled artisans often oversee the production process, ensuring the fabric meets high standards of quality. The combination of traditional weaving techniques and manual inspection adds value to selvedge denim, but it also contributes to its higher price point.

Limited Production: Compared to mass-produced denim, selvedge denim is produced in smaller quantities. This limited production capacity results from the use of specialized looms and the focus on quality over quantity. The exclusivity and rarity of selvedge denim contribute to its higher price.

Heritage and Branding: Some selvedge denim brands have a long-standing heritage and reputation for producing premium denim. These brands often command higher prices due to their legacy, craftsmanship, and the associated prestige. The history and brand value associated with selvedge denim can influence its price. It's important to note that while selvedge denim may be more expensive upfront, its durability and longevity often make it a worthwhile investment. The fabric tends to age beautifully, developing unique fades and character over time, which further enhances its appeal to denim enthusiasts.

How can you tell if jeans are selvedge?

To determine if a pair of jeans is selvedge, you can look for the following indicators:

Selvedge Edge: The most distinct characteristic of selvedge denim is the selvedge edge. Look at the outseam (the outer seam running from the waist to the hem) of the jeans. If you see a clean, tightly woven, self-finished edge with a contrasting color, it is likely selvedge denim. The selvedge edge is usually located on the inner side of the outseam, visible when the jeans are cuffed or rolled up.

Fabric Width: Selvedge denim is woven on narrow shuttle looms, resulting in a narrower fabric width compared to denim made on modern projectile looms. Look inside the jeans at the outseam near the hem. If you see a narrower fabric width (typically around 30 inches or less), it suggests the use of selvedge denim.

Brand or Manufacturer Details: Some denim brands or manufacturers explicitly mention the use of selvedge denim in their product descriptions or labeling. Look for tags, labels, or online product information to see if selvedge denim is mentioned. Quality and

Craftsmanship: Selvedge denim is often associated with superior quality and craftsmanship. Look for signs of meticulous construction, such as neat stitching, reinforced seams, and overall attention to detail. While these aspects don't guarantee the use of selvedge denim, they can indicate a higher likelihood.

How often to wash Japanese denim?

The frequency of washing Japanese denim, or any denim for that matter, is subjective and can vary depending on personal preference and how the jeans are worn.

Here are some general guidelines to consider when deciding how often to wash your Japanese denim:

Minimal Washing: Many denim enthusiasts advocate for minimal washing to maintain the integrity and unique fades of the fabric. The idea is to allow the jeans to develop natural wear patterns and patina over time. Some people prefer to wear their jeans for several months to a year or more without washing.

Spot Cleaning: If your jeans have minor stains or localized dirt, spot cleaning can be an effective way to address the issue without subjecting the entire garment to a full wash. Use a damp cloth or a soft brush with mild soap or denim-specific stain remover to gently clean the affected area.

Assess Odor and Soil Level: Pay attention to the odor and level of soil on your jeans. If they have developed a noticeable odor or become visibly soiled, it may be time for a wash. However, keep in mind that denim tends to hide dirt well, so it's essential to assess the overall condition of the jeans rather than relying solely on visible stains.

When washing your Japanese denim, opt for a gentle hand wash or a delicate machine cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Avoid bleach and harsh chemicals, as they can damage the fabric. After washing, air-drying is recommended to minimize shrinkage and preserve the jeans' shape. Ultimately, the decision of how often to wash your Japanese denim comes down to personal preference, comfort, and the desired appearance. It's important to strike a balance between cleanliness and maintaining the unique characteristics of the fabric.