New York lifestyle photos & all denim flat and detail photos by Velvet Sea Media; San Francisco lifestyle photos by Matthew Reamer; Seattle lifestyle photos by Thomas Akin; Los Angeles & Chicago lifestyle by Sean Klingelhoefer; animations by Studio 30
What does a year of wear and tear look like on a pair of jeans? If they’re Nudie jeans, really good.
Don’t believe? Peep the finale of the Swedish brand’s #breakingdenim campaign: five guys, five cities, five pairs of jeans, one year.
Here is post #1. This is post 2, with full documentation of a year in the field.
Our new collaboration with Nudie Jeans—Swedish master-craftsmen of raw denim in its purest form—follows five men of distinction over the course of nine months, as they do their best to beat up a crisp, new pair of jeans. You can follow their progress here on Men’s Shop Daily, as well as on Instagram.
Keep reading to meet the five guys—from a bicycle shaman to a caffeine connoisseur—whose stories, and jeans, we’ll be getting better acquainted with in the months to come.
From dark and raw to bleached and faded, we can all agree that a great-fitting pair of jeans is a menswear essential that will never go out of style. With more new and unique denim brands entering our Men’s Shop lineup than ever before, we asked our buying team to name a few whose stories (and, of course, jeans) they thought you, our valued reader, would like to know. Keep reading for the low-down on eight cutting-edge denim brands—from zany Canadian start-ups to 125-year-old American icons.
Swedish denim brand Nudie knows its way around a killer fit (see their spring 2013 lookbook image above)—but their philosophy runs way deeper than just looking good. Last year, Nudie achieved the difficult goal of converting to 100% organic cotton.
The eco-friendly journey doesn’t end there: Nudie takes impressive steps to extend the life of your jeans by offering tutorials on how to patch your pair at home and opening a brick-and-mortar repair shop in London. They even offer wrecked jeans a chance at reincarnation with amazing projects like handwoven recycled-denim rugs.
The images below illustrate the ironic beauty of Nudie’s craftsmanship—despite the outwardly gritty appearance, the dyeing and recycling processes being depicted are sustainable and environmentally conscious. (For a video of Nudie’s recycling process, check out our previous post on selvedge denim.)
Besides being a clear leader in sustainable jeans, Nudie also has its finger on the pulse of independent music. Here’s a live performance from Nudie’s store in Gothenburg, Sweden, by a band from the same town called The Shy Lips (who, according to their own Facebook page, have been producing the “Finest Swedish indie rock since 2012”). For many more in-store shows by the likes of Little Dragon, Band of Horses, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and more—check out Nudie’s website.
In their ongoing efforts to make the world of blue jeans a greener place, Swedish denim brand Nudie Jeans released a short film encouraging denim wearers everywhere to patch holes and scrapes in their favorite jeans—rather than relegate a lived-in, well-loved pair to the landfill.
It’s about the simplest way we can think of to recycle, reduce and reuse—and Nudie makes it even simpler by providing you the Repair Kit free of charge. Months or years down the line, if your Nudies develop a rip or hole, just contact Nudie on Facebook, Twitter, or via email at email@example.com, and they’ll get you taken care of. (If you’re not so handy with a needle and thread, fear not: Nudie’s Repair Kit Handbook breaks the process down step by step.)
Show Off Your Handiwork. Got a pair you’re proud to say you gave new life to? Post photos on Instagram, tagged #NudieAtNordstrom, or email them using the ‘Email the Editor’ link at right. We’ll publish the best submissions here on Men’s Shop Daily.
If you’re new to the concept of jeans constructed with a truly masterful hand (the term ‘selvedge’ or ‘selvage’ is often used in menswear circles), we think the pros at one of our favorite denim brands, Sweden-based Nudie Jeans, explain it best. From NudieJeans.com:
“Selvedge denim is made on old-style shuttle looms. The fabric is woven using one continuous cross thread; the weft. As the weft loops back into the edge of the weave, the selvedge [derived from ‘self edge’] edge is created…Selvedge production is much slower than conventionally produced denim [creating a softer, more durable fabric], and only the best raw materials are used. It can be compared to the ‘slow food’ movement; this is slow denim.”
Many pairs of Nudie, in particular, are also made with organic and/or recycled cotton. The following videos show the unique life cycle of Nudie Jeans—from harvesting the organic cotton, to the artisanal craftsmanship that goes into every pair, to the brand’s repair/reuse/reduce ethos, to the dismantling and revival of old jeans through fabric recycling:
One of the selvedge-denim connoisseur’s favorite topics is the art of breaking them in. The jeans in the picture up top started out in a deep, raw, untouched blue (often referred to as ‘dry’ selvedge—i.e., unwashed during the production process). As the owner, a guy named Jeppe, wore them day after day, the raw denim gradually faded in a completely unique way—you can even see where he kept his phone and wallet. Here’s another look at the breaking-in process, month by month:
(click to enlarge)
Note that these remained unwashed for the first eight months. Purists will tell you that abstaining from laundering selvedge denim is vital to the personalized fading process. Here’s a chart, thanks to the people at Nudie, in case you’re not sure when the time is right:
Now that you’re in the top-shelf denim market, the choice is yours: Go raw and try your hand at wearing them in, or skip ahead to an artfully pre-distressed pair. Either way, just don’t wear them in the ocean.