The time has come. After 9 months of heavy wear our brave denim-fading volunteers have completed their mission of developing maximum fades on raw denim. We spoke with them to touch base on their experience over the past 270-odd days, and to learn what tips and advice they can bestow upon us.
Which jean do you find yourself reaching for the most and why?
Jen: Between my CIassics and my Skinnies I find myself reaching for my Classics the most. They’ve changed my sense of style so much that I honestly hardly ever even wear skinny jeans anymore! My Classics offer versatility and a sense of originality that I have yet to find in another pair of jeans
Montana: I find myself always reaching for The Classic. The wide leg and the high waist is a style Im really enjoying at the moment and The Classic is exactly that. Also, I find the 11oz fabric extremely comfortable compared to other 100% cotton denim I own which is a big factor why I always grab for these jeans. You can’t go wrong with style & comfort!
Zoe: I find I reach for the classics more. I just love the cut and the indigo duck fabric for everyday when I’m wanting to switch up looks because it’s such a saturated blue!
How would you rate the jeans on Fit, Comfort, and Look?
The skinnies: Fit 8/10, Comfort 8/10, Look 9/10
Classics: Fit 10/10, Comfort 9.5/10, Look 10/10
The skinnies: Fit: 8/10, Comfort: 8/10, Look: 8/10
Classics: Fit: 9/10, Comfort: 10/10, Look: 10/10
Has the way that you styled these jeans changed with the break in process?
The Max: Fit: 10/10
The Classics: Fit: 10/10
Did the way you styled the jeans change during the break-in process?
Jen: As the break in process progresses, I’ve managed to find a way to style these jeans for casual day-to-day occasions and dress them up for more professional/special occasions. I wear them with sneakers or a Doc Martin and a graphic tee or sweater for more casual looks, and a heel or dressier boot and a blouse or blazer for a look that is a bit more put-together.
Montana: Not really, I didn’t find any limitations of styling from the beginning of the break in process, to now. Only thing I did at the start of breaking in my classic was to avoid tucking in any white shirts to avoid the indigo rubbing off on it.
Zoe: Not really, but I do feel like now that my classics have begun to fade they run a little more casual than they did before. Before I could pass them as a dressier pant when I needed to! The max just got a lot more comfortable as it softened up, because it is a more snug fit.
What surprised you the most about the break in process?
Jen: What surprised me the most was how invested I became, and the community I found myself becoming a part of.
Montana: One thing that really surprised me was how easy it was to break in The Classics. After one day of wear they started to soften up and mold around my body. I was also shocked at how much my Classics gave in the waist compared to my High Skinnies. I probably should have gone down a size in the Classic because they did relax about a size in the waist. As for the High Skinnies, the power stretch denim has such an amazing stretch recovery that it’s taken a lot longer for them to give. The High Skinnies only gave about a quarter of an inch in the waist overall.
Zoe: I think it was most surprising how quickly it happened. I didn’t find it took more than a solid week or two of wear to get them more comfortable. It did surprise me that my denim pair (the max) hasn’t faded nearly as much as my duck canvas pair. The duck canvas has been fading in a way that I really love and didn’t expect!
Now that your jeans have been broken in, how would you compare them to other jeans that you own that are higher in stretch?
Jen: I can’t compare either of these jeans to anything higher stretch. The latter don’t even seem like jeans to me anymore. The feel, the aesthetic, and the purposes for which I wear them are completely different.
Montana: They’re two different types of denim to me really. High stretch jeans are known for comfortability but I find that 100% cotton jeans have gotten a bad rep for being uncomfortable, when they really don’t have to be. With raw denim I find that the jean looks more authentic overall, compared to higher stretch denim that usually always have pre fades.
Zoe: I like that they still feel sturdy even at the softer weight. I find my higher stretch jeans also tend to get rippling when the stretch begins to break and I haven’t had that with the higher cotton content.
How has your perspective on raw denim and 100% cotton jeans changed throughout this project?
Jen: I now have a soft spot for both raw and 100% cotton jeans, whereas I had no significant interest in either prior to this experience. There’s a certain nostalgic feeling I have for these qualities now.
Montana: Raw denim used to be really daunting to me, but the last six months I’ve noticed why so many people love getting a fresh pair of raw denim. It’s kind of like a journey seeing the jean change over time and mold to your body, it’s really fun!
Zoe: I think I’m just more open to it now. Part of the beauty of the jeans without stretch is that when they relax out they relax to the shape of your body based on where the stress is heavy on the jean. And I also love seeing them fade! I have a baggier pair (we need what I call “long john friendly” pants in Toronto) and they’re 100 percent cotton and a little heavier and the changes I’ve seen in those were exciting as well! The whole process has really peaked my interest.
What advice do you have for women looking to get into raw denim?
Jen: Take the leap! We put ourselves through so much for nearly every other facet of fashion, so why not put the effort in to something that will love you back!
Montana: It’s not as bad as you might think. After a few days of wear the denim starts to soften up and get comfortable. There is such a wide selection of fabrics and styles that you can easily find a jean that suits your style. Also, don’t get scared off when you hear about when/how other people wash their raw denim. It all comes down to preference and what you want from your jeans. But overall it’s really fun, not to mention more environmentally friendly and it’s a denim journey I recommend you try!
Zoe: It’s going to be tight, it’s gonna squeeze a little, but the process is worth it if you’re looking for something to mold to your body and truly be your jeans. Prefaded jeans will never hit your body the way a raw pair your body fades does! It’s worth it, but its going to be a process!