Store Blog

How To Get Good Denim Fades (with Pictures)

All of the denim we sell are considered "raw" as the denim has not been subject to any pre-wash processes (i.e. distressing). As such, it's up to the wearer to break them in and achieve the distressing themselves. Granted this process is challenging and time consuming but they look substantially better if done correctly. Success or failure comes down to what you do before you wash your jeans, how you wash them, and what you do after the first wash.

CT-100x - Classic Tapered 14.5oz Indigo Selvedge

note, cut is not the Classic Tapered, but fabric is the same

Pre-Wash

Raw denim is usually pretty stiff and rigid. We recommend giving your jeans a quick soak in the bathtub before you start wearing them. This will help remove most of the starch and soften the fabric. Even though some argue that rinsed jeans won’t wear in as well as dry ones, the rinse will make your jeans last longer.

  1. Turn your jeans inside out.
  2. Fill your sink/tub with lukewarm water.
  3. Use something to keep the jeans submerged.
  4. Let the jeans soak for an hour or two. You might see a slight colour change of the water. This is completely normal and a result of starch (and a tiny bit of indigo) being washed out.
  5. After the soak, hang your jeans to dry in the shower or outside if the weather allows it.

JB0404 12.5oz African Selvedge Denim - Tapered

After the pre-soak, wear your jeans as much as possible – preferably for several months – before you wash them for the first time in the washing machine. The more you wear your jeans, the more distinct wear patterns you will achieve.

Several months of intense wear will cause the denim to wear in some areas more than others. Especially in areas with a lot of friction, for example, cuffs, crotch, knees and pockets.

JB0601 14.8oz US Selvedge Denim - High Tapered same fabric as (JB0401 - Tapered)

Wash

Certain "denim heads" would argue that you shouldn't wash denim at all, but given the (un)sanitary issues that could impact the strength of the denim, we recommend moderate washing to ensure your jeans last for a long time. To ensure the best results, here are three simple steps to ensure your denim is washed correctly:

  1. Close the zipper and fasten all buttons. Turn the jeans inside out. This helps to protect against losing shape as well as minimizes any scratches on the washing machine.
  2. Put in the detergent and turn on the washing machine. Please don't use fluorescent whitening agents and do not wash with whites.
  3. Hang the jeans inside out and let them dry naturally. It's recommended to dry the jeans in the shade (avoid sunlight while drying). Avoid direct heat (drying/tumble dry) as this causes shrinkage of both the jeans and leather patch.

JBCD0463 13.5oz Côte d'Ivoire Selvedge Denim - Tapered

Post-Wash

After the first wash, your jeans will be less dirt repellent. To go for months between each washes might be unrealistic. But, you should wear your jeans as much as possible between washes.

JB0706 14oz Zimbabwe x Memphis Selvedge Denim - Tight Straight

 

note, cut is not the Straight Tight, but fabric is the same

 all pictures courtesy of JapanBlueJeans.com & 3sixteen.com

Product Highlight - Japan Blue Jeans

This isn't a product highlight insomuch as it's a brand highlight. Given most of the production process, except for the fabric/material, is similar with each pair of Japan Blue Jeanswe'll break down each of the four stages of production to help you appreciate the dedication, care & quality that goes into each pair of jeans. By integrating all elements of production into one company, the Japan Blue Group is able to tightly control every part of their process, guaranteeing the quality of the final products.

Cotton: Having started their business as a fabric maker in Kojima, Okayama, Japan in 1992, Collect Co. Ltd decided to launch Japan Blue Jeans in 2010. By feeling the different pairs of jeans you can really tell the difference in cottons that Japan Blue uses. As their moto states, Cotton is a key factor to materials. They've studied various combinations of high quality cotton and maximize the good characteristics of each pair. We have three different fabrics (across four distinct pairs) and each one has it's own characteristics:

  • 14.8oz Texas Cotton - The tough American cotton allows for the stronger yarn, as well as giving it a nice deep indigo colour when dyed.
  • 14oz Zimbabwe x Memphis Cotton - Great balance between the softness and tense. This ages beautifully over time.
  • 13.5oz Cote d'Ivoire Cotton: Handpicked cotton giving it a texture of handwoven cotton.

 

Weave: Selvedge (or Selvage) denim has become very popular over the last 10-15 years. Selvedge is a self-finished edge of the fabric. The selvage keep the fabric from unraveling or fraying and is a result of how the fabric is created. Selvedge denim is created on vintage looms called selvedge looms (or shuttle looms). However, good denim is not just a question of a selvedge outseam. To weave denim with a soft feel and without damaging the fabric, production requires master craftsmanship. Selvedge looms, together with master craftsmanship create some of the best denim in the world. 

 

Dyeing: The white core of the yarn is an essential part of the aging of denim. Japan Blue uses a method of yard dyeing called Rope Dyeing. Originally rope dyeing was developed for mass production but the white core of the yarn was not the end goal. During the 1990's Vintage boom, a shift to the importance of Rope Dyeing occurred. Japan Blue values the fading of the denim and by process of trial and error have landed on the best fade. They study cotton, the spinning process and weave that is best suited to Rope Dyeing. They create jeans which enjoy various stages of aging.

Sewing: The special vintage sewing machines used by Japan Blue are at the essence of their jeans. Union Special Corporation machines have been used in jean production in the United States. Japan began importing these machines during the jean boom but in the late 1970's standard sewing machines began to supersede Union Special. The main difference between the two are the aging of the hem, twist of the rolled seam, seam puckering, etc. Japan Blue has gathered and uses Union Specials and with their artisans are sewing amazing jeans.

Introducing Japan Blue

Japan Blue is the house brand from The Japan Blue Group. The label was started in 2010 with the purpose of providing jeans with clean, modern silhouettes using high quality original denim fabric. The weaving, dying and sewing are all done in-house, by skilled craftsmen and the jeans reflect the lives of the people.

 

The Japan Blue Group was founded in 2005 and is comprised of various companies that represent different parts of the denim production process. Collect is the famous denim mill and fabric supplier; Rampuya is the dyeing division; and Japan Blue and Momotaro Jeans are the denim brands comprised of the components that Collect and Rampuya produce. As a whole, Japan Blue has a philosophy that focuses on providing quality goods that combine old-world craftsmanship with modern designs rather than profits.

 

Creating the best jeans means creating the best material. Japan Blue spends most of its time developing and creating materials, because, as they believe, the material is a key factor to determine the quality of jeans. By selecting and spinning cotton, dying the yarn and weaving the fabric, one can create thousands of variations of fabric using just these four processes. Japan Blue considers all four processes when creating their jeans and creates a fabric best suited to the times. Designs and silhouettes are kept simple yet contemporary. Japan Blue would rather you focus on the material and how they develop over time.

 

We've got three different silhouettes, including Japan Blue's most popular Tapered cut as well as the Hi-Tapered cut, which gives way for bigger thighs, and larger glutes, but does not sacrifice on the narrow hem. Finally we have the Tight Straight cut, which is tight above the thighs and the overall narrowness of the cut is Japan Blue's second narrowest cut. 

Shop the full collection here