Like many of my other compatriots, the recent strength of the Australian dollar has made for a recent binge in internet shopping, particularly from the United States.
The three staple stores for good labels, great prices and quick delivery from the US have always been Asos, Revolve Clothing and Urban Outfitters. After browsing the latter site for bargain wares, I stumbled on an almost unbelievably good deal. A pair of Raw Selvedge Denim Tapered Jeans for $78.
As our long-time readers will be aware, selvedge denim is the cream of the crop, and makes the best, highest-quality jeans.
For such a cheap price I was skeptical, but figured I should act as the official Harrison Fjord Guinea Pig and see whether they were the real deal or too good to be true.
After 3 weeks, the package arrived
After 3 weeks, the package arrived
(along with some pomade and beeswax)
Rather than give a long diatribe about the origins of denim, how to wear it and when to wear it, I’m going to give a short review and my initial impression of the jeans.
Unbranded Denim is manufactured by Naked and Famous and is billed as a no-frills denim label. There’s no branding, no advertising, no celebrity endorsements – just good quality denim. It’s a little gimmicky, but it certainly keeps costs down, and I’m not a fan of overt branding anyway.
The denim is very, very stiff. Stiffness is, of course, to be expected with raw denim jeans, but they certainly feel stiffer than my raw selvedge Nudie Jeans when they were new. However, they will no doubt soften up as I wear them in. This stiffness adds to the general feel of solid construction – these jeans don’t feel like they’re going to fall apart any time soon.
The fabric itself is a deep indigo colour, however the quality of the dye seems a little bit cheap. As you can see in the photo above, the dye work seems to be a little bit patchy and not as “solid” as higher quality (albeit more expensive) examples of raw selvedge denim. Aside from that, the fabric is pretty nice, genuine selvedge (14.5oz Japanese selvedge, for the connoisseurs in the audience) and has some very nice and unique buttons (see above).
I’m usually a size 30/34 (“waist”/”length”) in dry denim, so expected that the size 30 Unbranded Raw Selvedge jeans would fit just as well. The reviews on Urban Outfitters suggested to buy a size smaller than your normal size, but as I’m used to wearing raw denim I threw caution to the wind and ordered a 30.
Unfortunately I should have listened, and these jeans are ever-so-slightly too large, although not unwearably so – I should have bought a 29. Regardless, they fit very nicely and have a fairly relaxed shape with a slight tapering towards the ankles.
One thing worth noting is that these jeans are long. Considering that I am 6’3″, I’m not used to jeans touching the floor when I try them on for the first time, so this was actually a pretty pleasant surprise. I generally like to do a single roll on the cuffs of jeans, so this doesn’t bother me, but shorter guys should be aware that there really is a lot of length to these jeans so you might be best off having them taken up by a tailor.
With all that said, I really liked the relaxed fit of these jeans and they’re a nice alternative to skinny jeans.
There was a time when, if looking for a pair of good jeans for sub $100, we were limited to Cheap Monday, which are known for their great cuts, their great price and their tendency to fall apart after prolonged usage. Unbranded Denim, then, provides something that this price point sorely lacked – a good cut with good construction and great fabric. I’ll be the first to admit that these are not in the same league as Nudie Jeans, APC or Edwin in terms of fabric quality and the cut of the jean – however, for men on a budget they represent something quite special, and I’m sure they’ll age nicely over time. And for $78, you could do much, much worse (I’m looking at you, Just Jeans).