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Perils Of Washing Raw Denim Too Early

When it comes to raw denim, arguably the biggest cardinal sin can be washing them too soon. For those new to or unfamiliar with raw denim, the goal is to achieve as sharp fade creases and contrasts as possible, thereby leaving you with denim that is suited to just you. To do so, however, one should refrain from washing for at least six months. There are loads of amazing success stories on the web, including yours truly’s Fade Friday, but what if you were to ignore this “6 month” rule-of-thumb and treat your raw denim as pre-washed jeans?

The short answer is simple – you’d essentially have a “fade failure” on your hands and have wasted your money.  Longer answer – your denim starts off as rigid, crisp, and pure and after enough wear will look as if it was made by you, for you. Washing the garment prior to giving enough “break-in” time is detrimental.  Your denim will lose a severe amount of indigo and have no, bland, or very little personalized contrasts.  Also, you will have effectively doubled or tripled the amount of time needed to get that “second skin” look. (If that’s something you’d like to achieve, try washing with our guide to washing raw denim jeans and using our Denim Wash.)

Case in point – a pair of LVC (Levi’s Vintage Clothing) 1967 505-0217 I’ve had for around 3 years now.  After purchasing for around $220, I made the grave mistake of washing the denim 2-3 weeks later then about every few weeks after that. Though I wouldn’t say they look horrible (I still wear them), I would admit they pale in comparison to similar denim that have been worn for 2-3 years. I’m kicking myself as well given the origins of the denim!

Details

  • Name: LVC (Levi’s Vintage Clothing) 1967 505-0217
  • Weight: 14.5 Oz
  • Denim: 100% Cotton, Sanforized Kaihara Japanese Denim
  • Fit: Slim
  • Price: $220.00
  • Length of Wear: 2-3 Years
  • Number of Washes: 30-40 Washes

Photos – BEFORE (source: caliroots.blogspot.com)

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

Photos – AFTER (notice: poor honeycomb & whisker fades)

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

LVC 1967 505-0217 Raw Denim

Have you had similar experiences with raw denim washed too soon?  Let us know via the comments below!