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A Brief HistoryofDenim

The then & now

TRADEMARK

When the going gets tough, the tough wear denim

Born out of an era of dust, sweat and gears in the outer reaches of America back in the 1930's, from sailor to cowboy, denim was as much then as it is now one of the greatest, most desirable fabrics of the last century. Once known only for its durability as a hum-drum work-proof material, denim as we know it today has transcended every generation, fad, trend and style, proving itself time after time to be one of the most remarkable, sustained contributions to the fashion industry to date.

Denim originally took hold in 1870's, alongside the gold rush boom in America, and for a long time was worn only by the workers and labourers who saw it as a protective layer whilst they were down in the mines, working with coarse, destructive materials that would make light work of ripping, tearing and damaging any other fabrics. Denim was a hard-wearing, durable fabric that wouldn't easily tear and kept its strength wear after wear, which made it perfect for the kind of environments it was subjected to early on. It wasn't until the early 20th Century when denim really took hold as part of popular culture, and since then, we've witnessed its popularity grow into a living, vibrant cloth, carrying its own set of loyal followers. Those who seek the finest denim product and the richest heritage tend to harbour a similar passion for freedom, and perhaps also a rebellious and non-conformist take on society's set of rules.

The term 'jeans' derives from a French phrase 'bleu de Genes', meaning 'the blue of Genoa'.

Manufactured by a certain Mr. Levi Strauss who moved his life's work to Nimes to focus on the production of this rugged indigo cotton twill textile, the denim fabric 'serge' found its roots, to which it now owes its name. The blend of this characteristically woven twill and its location gave way to a new name 'Serge-de-Nimes', a phrase that is now synonymous with the fabric and the starting point for the ecplised growth of denim throughout the 20th Century.

A good pair of authentic denim jeans is a staple for any mans wardrobe. None moreso than a pair of jeans that has been soaked in history, with an authentic back-story that makes you feel like you're wearing a slice of the rich tapestry. To this extent, we believe that this is the reason as to why they have stood the test of time, and why they are so sought after to date.

How you wear them is entirely up to you, they shape around you, take on your daily tasks and reflect every event you put them through, a real second skin. It's not hard to understand why, or even how people are so passionate about the humble denim jean, every pair carries with it a sense of identity, individuality and experience that is like no other - that's what life's all about.

 

Glossary

DENIM TERMINOLOGY

- USE THE ARROWS -

 

ABRASION

This is the process of making garments look & feel work and aged, in which the garments surface is scraped or rubbed. The item most frequently used by industrial laundries to create this effect is a pumice stone.

 

ANTI-FIT

Slightly oversized jeans that look intentionally too big, or too long for the wearer. For those who prefer a looser fit, this style of jean creates a more casual, laid back look.

 

BARTACK

A sewing procedure that reinforces the stress points on a pair of jeans. Usually this is in the form of zippers, front flies, pocket openings and crotch joins of inseams. This is done by using a dedicated bartack machine as opposed to hand stitched, thankfully!

 

DISTRESSED

A style of denim that are given a more vintage worn look through the manufacturing process. This is to give the denim a similar look to a raw denim that has been broken into by the wearer, for those of you who want the 'worn' look straight away.

 

DRY DENIM (RAW)

A type of jean production that means the materials are unwashed and have minimal wear. This type of fabric is also referred to as 'Raw Denim', the style of jean that some would go for in order to break in their own body shape, making for a more personal look.

 

HONEYCOMB

This is a style that is self-created on the back of the knee area as it fades during the wear process. Known in this way for the hexagonal 'honeycomb' effect that the constant folding of the material creates.

 

Oz WEIGHT

This is the term used to grade the weight (per yard) of your denim. The heavier your fabric, the stiffer the jean. Most, if not all denim descriptions will include this information as standard.

 

SELVEDGE

Initially known as 'self-edge', the selvedge seam is the narrow, tightly woven band on both edges of the denim fabric. This seam prevents the edges of the denim from unravelling and creates a clean, finished look.

The Anatomy of Denim

 

Denim Care

For many, breaking in a new pair of jeans is a seminal moment. It's the start of a long friendship that will take a bit of effort, patience and ultimately commitment to gain the best results. Nothing quite beats the smell or feel of a fresh pair of denims, so how do you keep them looking great, and more importantly, smelling great? We'll show you how, here's a few simple tips to keep your denim healthy from wash to wear, year after year.

 

Tip 1

For the best results, get your hands on a pair of heavy Oz Dry Denims (or your preferred) these will give you the best abrasions and contrasts.

 

Tip 2

Give your jeans a good 6 months breaking in period before you consider freshening up. Breaking in means you're in it for the long haul, don't be tempted to wash too soon or you'll lose all your hard work in one fell swoop. Washing them too soon will result in a flat indigo colour-run.

 

Tip 3

Wear your jeans every day, or as much as possible for those 6 months, the longer you wear them the more character they will take on.

 

Tip 4

To remove any stains, rub down with a damp cloth. When the stale smells creep in, hang your jeans inside out in the sun, and preferably the wind too, this should air out any lingering worn odours.

 

Tip 5

When the time comes to finally wash your jeans, don't just put them in with a normal wash. Turn them inside out and wash at 40 or 60 degrees. When done, stretch the inseam whilst they are still damp. Hang to dry, never tumble.

 

Tip 6

The best prevention of crotch blowouts is early detection. Some brands offer a simple, built-in crotch reinforcement but nothing beats keeping them well aired, fresh & clean. The more well-maintained the material is, the stronger the bond between the fibres will be.

Selvage

A TIME HONOURED CRAFT

So, what is selvage denim?

Selvage denim is a premium, high quality fabric, made using a traditional method of weaving. Produced using 28 to 30 inch shuttle looms, this fabric is woven on one continuous thread (the weft) that goes back and forth during the weaving process. The weft loops back on itself creating its own 'self-edge', meaning an edge that cannot fray. The edge is then stitched down its length with a coloured thread to give each pair of jean its own unique signature as a way of 'listing' or distinguishing one style from the next. The shuttle loom process itself is much slower than the projectile loom that was introduced in the 1950's to satisfy the demand for the denim jean, pressure to deliver the quantities of jean that were required meant that manufacturers had to compromise on time to get the garment out of the door. The projectile loom was almost 10 times faster per hour per pair, making the shuttle loom process almost obsolete. Some brands however, stood by the belief that a good pair of jeans is worth the wait, and it's this notion and dedication to product that has kept the selvage jean alive for all these years.

What was once an elusive, and somewhat pricey product that only the most dedicated denim followers knew where to get, the 'selvage' denim has fast become a desirable, and now widely accessible commodity for any style connoisseur with a panchant for quality and product detail. Many highstreets imitate the selvage style but if you want a true genuine selvage jean then you need to seek out the authentic masters at work; Levi's, Nudie & Edwin.

Dos & don'ts

When you're sizing up a pair of jeans, there's a few key factors to bear in mind to ensure that you're 100% happy with your choice, if you follow our basic 'Dos & Don'ts' you won't go far wrong.

Do

  • Make sure you have accurate measurements - the waist and inseam are essential for any denim purchase.
  • Take into account the rise of the jean.
  • Look at the cuff width to decide on the style of look you're going for.
  • Be aware that different brands will have different variations of their fit.
  • Take a pair of jeans that fit you well, lay them out flat and take your measurements from those.
  • Try RAW denim, they take a while to break in but the results will be well worth it.

Don't

  • Try Raw Denim if you're not up for wearing them in for a good few months before they take their true shape.
  • Worry about the specific names of the jeans, all our jeans come with full, listed measurements.
  • Forget that a good pair of jeans needs looking after.
  • Be tricked by vanity sizing, go for a pair of jeans that will actually sit your waist size.
  • Wear a pair of jeans that rises above your stomach, it's not a good look on anyone.

Brand Profiles

7 For All Mankind

"THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL EXPRESSION"

Founded in the Autumn of 2000, 7 for all Mankind is a relatively young brand that has already developed a strong reputation in the fashion world. With their headquarters set in the heart of Los Angeles, California, 7 for all Mankind's range has grown alongside some of the most glamorous people in the world. Initially a womenswear brand, in 2002 they released their first menswear range which was quickly adopted by many of the biggest names in L.A., including Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Affleck and Ryan Reynolds.

Their high-profile customer base allowed them to quickly gain recognition from other designers, which has led to some exciting collaborations over their short history. These acclaimed American designers include Zac Posen, Evan Yurman and The Great China Wall, as well as European legends Azzedine Alaia and Pucci.

The brand has since grown into a complete lifestyle brand, with offerings ranging from women's, men's and kid's collections, to sports, handbags and footwear.

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ARMANI JEANS

"DRESSING THE BEST"

Georgio Armani is a household name that is synonymous with high fashion, and for a good reason. It is one of the foremost luxury brands in the world with thirteen factories worldwide. It designs, manufactures, distributes and retails fashion and lifestyle products under a range of prestigious labels, not the least of which is Armani Jeans.

Founded in 1981, Armani Jeans was envisioned as a bridge-line collection with a strong focus on denim. This was an area that allowed their designers to experiment, introducing a more playful colour palette and diverse range of styles at a more affordable price point than their flagship Georgio Armani lines. This new approach proved to be a resounding success, with the brand continuing to grow year on year, leading to lucrative sponsorship deals with the Olympia Milano basketball team and footballer Ricardo Kakà .

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BOSS GREEN

"FROM A SMALL CLOTHING WORKSHOP TO AN INTERNATIONAL LIFESTYLE GROUP"

Hugo Boss is a company that needs no introduction. One of the longest running European fashion houses, Hugo Boss was established in 1924 by Hugo Ferdinand Boss, the fifth and youngest child of Heinrich Boss and his wife Luise, who jointly owned a lingerie and linen shop in the Swabian town of Metzingen, Germany. Hugo came to inherit his parents' business and expanded it into a thriving clothing supplier during a very difficult period in German history, controversially supplying the German National Socialist Party with garments and uniforms throughout World War II. Although this is a period that the modern Hugo Boss brand would probably rather see forgotten, it's impossible to deny that, were it not for the growth the company saw in this period, Hugo Boss would never have become the household name that we have today.

After World War II, Hugo himself was banned from operating the company due to European sanctions. Ownership was transferred to his son-in-law Eugen Holy who, free from the negative connotations brought about by the company's namesake, was able to transform the brand into something more progressive. In 1950 they produced their first batch of men's suits, and began to grow slowly but steadily in to what we see today. By 1977 they had their own line of suits, and had begun their long standing association with sports, particularly motorsports, sponsoring F1 driver Nikki Lauder and eventually the McClaren Racing team.

Launched in 2003, Boss Green was a rebranding of the earlier Boss Sport clothing range that built upon their sports connections with a heavy focus on golf-style activewear. Blurring the boundaries between stylish casual wear and technical golf apparel, they aimed to create a fashionable yet sporty look that retained the signature Boss style.

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EDWIN

IT'S NOT JUST DENIM - IT'S A LIFESTYLE

Edwin is a long established brand, originating in Japan in 1947 and founded by Mr KK Tsunemi. He developed the name by cleverly using the letters D, E, N, I & M (inverting the M creating a W) to create the brand name that is widely recognised today 'Edwin'.

Edwin produced the world's heaviest ringspun denim jean (16oz), which featured the famous three-colour 'rainbow' selvedge, which is still being used today. They were also the first company in the world to develop 'old wash' style, designed and manufactured to replicate denim that has been worn from its rigid, unwashed state traditionally designed for workwear due to its durability. The Japanese jeans brand also invented 'stone washing' which revolutionised the entire denim industry and was a pivotal moment in the development of denim manufacturing, subsequently influencing every denim company in existence today.

Edwin is an authentic denim lifestyle brand, priding itself on innovation and craftsmanship, utilising exclusive fabrics and fabrication, unique technology, hand wash processes, and continual progression in design and fit. Plus, they know how to live, regularly venturing off into the wilderness in search of adventure and inspiration, a real life-blood to the brand.

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LEVI'S

THE ORIGINAL BLUE JEANS

When it comes to jeans, you can't get more authentic than a pair of Levi's. The man behind the brand, Levi Strauss, designed the first pair of jeans in 1873, kicking off a denim trend which has lasted well over a century.

The story of Levi's began in gold rush era San Francisco, when the Bavarian-born, Levi Strauss moved to the area to open a dry goods business. What he found was that miners and manual labourers were in desperate need of hard-wearing clothing. To meet the demands of tough manual labour, Strauss adapted canvas into jeans and dyed it that signature denim blue. Together with tailor Jacob Davis, Strauss developed the design to include strengthening rivets, and jeans as we know them were patented. The end result was an extremely hardwearing design - an advertisement in 1886 showed two horses trying to pull apart a pair of Levi's, with the caption "It's no use, they can't be ripped".

Like many garments that are designed for a practical purpose, Levi's jeans soon became a fashion statement in themselves. The popularity of jeans with cowboys elevated the brand to an almost mythic status, associating the Levi's label with a life of freedom and a sense of adventure.

Levi's jeans have been a part of every generation's wardrobe since their creation and to honour this garment's contribution to fashion, Time Magazine named the Levi's 501® jean the fashion item of the century.

The brand's rich heritage, along with its continued investment in innovation, ensures that the Levi's label remains a badge of quality.

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NUDIE JEANS

THE NAKED TRUTH ABOUT DENIM

Founded in 2001 in Sweden, Nudie Jeans has had a vision of completely organic collections. Over the years the brand has ambitiously worked to fulfil the vision and gradually the share of organic garments has increased. Their ambition has always been to produce denim in an environmentally, but also socially responsible way, this includes every step of the production. Nudie Jeans Fall Winter 2012 denim collection was entirely made from organic cotton, with all pocket linings and trims being made from organic raw material as well.

Nudie Jeans understand their environmental responsibilities as a company, so they introduced an Eco-Cycle that helps to extend the life of the product they sell. The worn-out jeans that get taken to the concept stores becomes new fabric for new jeans, or at least are used for the recycle denim maniacs programme, which is a creative project to recycle old denim samples into new creations made by young designers.

With a firm passion for denim, they firmly believe that no fabric ages quite as well as denim, mourning the passing of a well worn pair of jeans like the passing of a friend. Not only do they offer the finest quality jeans, but they also prompt you to consider the bigger picture, a certain way of thinking, a concept, an undying and undwindling passion fuelled by the traditions from which it was first conceived.

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REPLAY

"IMPERFECTLY PERFECT"

Italian fashion brand Replay was started in 1981, initially under the name 'Fashion Box'. With an initial focus on casual shirts, by 1989 Replay had moved into the world of denim. A reinvention of the double-ring denim jeans proved so popular that production reached one million garments in just two years. Through the early 90's, Replay maintained their growth, expanding from their core shirt and denim lines to include a diverse range of products, including a children's range. Their success allowed them to finally move to a 25,000 square metre, retro styled headquarters located at the foot of the Asolo hills in Italy. The plant is a reproduction of an American industrial building from the beginning of the 20th century in which old and new, past and present, tradition and technology blend with new ideas and are transformed into the contemporary look that you can see in Replay products today.

Replay has always aimed to excel in its innovative style, characteristic Italian design and superior quality of its products; the skill and expertise gained in the production of denim, in particular, is a special, unique asset to the Group.

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TRUE RELIGION

THE AMERICAN DREAM

In 2002, Jeffrey Lubell founded True Religion with the goal to redefine high-quality denim. He set out to make quality, American-made, authentic, great fitting, 1970's inspired jeans wear, to stand the test of time. Today, True Religion Brand Jeans is known not only for its denim, but also for its knitwear, t-shirts, shirts and sweatshirts with each piece having that traditional, classic feel.

True Religion, which is headquartered in California, was founded with the intention of redefining premium denim through an emphasis on fit, quality and style. Over a decade later, while the brand has evolved within the marketplace, it remains committed to achieving excellence in authentic American-made, superior-fitting denim with a trendsetting appeal for today's consumer.

True Religion manufactures and markets denim and denim-related sportswear, selling through a diversified network of retail, ecommerce, wholesale and licensing channels worldwide. As of March 21st 2013, the Company operated 124 stores in the U.S. and 31 international stores.

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