The Raw Denim Care Guide
While our purpose remains to simplify your life, there are times when a little attention and care will set up your garments to wear incredibly well, looking better and lasting longer - a win on all counts.
There’s also an argument to be had that a lack of washing involved with raw denim (we’ll get there shortly) will actually save you time. While this might sound a little unconventional, those in the know will be well-aware of the following hacks.
Welcome to The Raw Denim Care Guide.
What is raw denim?
Image - Ape to Gentleman
Raw denim is quite simply unwashed denim. The majority of jeans are washed after the dying stage in order to achieve a look - light blue jeans will start their life as raw denim, as will any jeans with a worn-in look (our washed black jeans are a good example of this).
Some jeans may also be washed to remove excess dye, which avoids staining shoes or socks - one of the downsides of raw denim. Thankfully, we’ve treated ours so the chances of experiencing this are much lower.
Why do I need to care for my raw denim?
The Asuwere Jean, worn with Grey Pima Daily Tee
Raw denim has a deep indigo colour to it, and because its defined by its unwashed finish, protecting that colour means forgoing the urge to wash them as you might with the rest of your wardrobe. You can't keep the colour forever, but the longer you don't wash 'em, the longer that colour will keep.
Raw denim also wears much nicer unwashed. Creases that form and set in naturally are ideal as they come from wear and form around movement. Every guy's shape is unique, and similar to a nice pair of boots, raw denim will 'break in', meaning that you'll have a pair of jeans that have moulded to your body, and how it moves.
If you wash them too early, you'll end up with pre-formed creases that will look as unnatural as they will feel and loose that richness that the indigo dye brings. Let them age gracefully.
So how do I care for my denim?
Image - Fashionbeans
The first 6 months
You care for them by not washing them for 6 months. But it doesn't have to be gross. In the early days, you'll want to refrain from washing as much as possible. Don't worry, theres a few ways to get around this:
The Sub-zero Hero
Despite the nay-sayers, storing raw denim in the freezer for a week can also help to neutralise odour-causing bacteria. Pop it in a bag and you're good to go.
The Easy Breezy
Simply hang them out in a well-ventilated space after each wear to keep them fresh. Outside works too, but you'll need to turn them inside-out to prevent fading if they are in direct sunlight.
The Spray and Pray
To keep things smelling fresh, you can also use a fabric spray on your raw denim. While these are pretty easy to make yourself, we're conscious most guys won't have the time to pull together a concoction. For the time-poor, you can buy Fabric Refresher Sprays from the supermarket, or if you're looking to step it up, go for Attirecare, or The Laundress.
6-12 month mark
Once you cross the 6-12 month mark, you'll be able to start to wash them because the dye in your raw denim will have started to set in. Yes, you're still going to see some fading, but it will be more natural and in the right places (generally around areas of movement and friction - like the knee cap, and waist front).
We recommend a delicate wash cycle, along with a suitable laundry liquid that protects your dark-coloured garments, like Black Wash from Earthwise or Denim Wash from The Laundress.
When you do come to wash them add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the wash. This helps to set the dye and prevent fading. The longer you wait, the more custom they become