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A Series Of Personal And Evolutionary Denim Fades

It’s no secret that there is no silver bullet when it comes to achieving natural, surreal raw denim fades. It’s a complex process that largely depends on the denim model and make – including fit, fabric, weight, and dye – and the owner’s lifestyle and living environment. Of course how often one wears and washes their denim is incredibly influential as well.

In other words, while many wonder how to get picturesque raw denim fades, it’s really a “personal denim evolution” that is unique to each person.

On another level though, it’s not often that we are able to compare several pairs worn by the same person over a long time. As we are fortunate to hold an immense archive of denim at the Jeans Museum, let’s have a closer look to this lesser known topic, which I like to call, “A Series Of Personal And Evolutionary Denim Fades“.

  • Denim: Strike Gold 1103 23 oz, Nudie Regular Ralf, Denime 247 Contest take 5
  • Length of Wear: Worn daily (at different points) since August 2011
  • Number of Washes: None

All three three pants were worn oversized causing profound vertical fading lines on the back sides and large honeycombs. Daily bike rides was another influential factor in developing their character.

Lee Jeans Jacket

Lee Jeans Jacket

  • Denim: Lee Storm-Rider 101-LJ (1960) and a Lee 101-J Repro (1990)
  • Length of Wear: Six years each
  • Number of Washes: None

These Lee jackets have faded almost identically by looking closely at the patterns, collars, and frayed cuffs. Specifically, the trashed cuffs are a direct result of wearing too many layers underneath – sometimes even a second denim jacket during the winter -leading to high abrasion.

Lee Jeans

Worn by a carpenter from 2005 – 2009, these Lee jeans have clear and consistent wear patterns on the right pocket from carrying around various tools.

  • Denim: Levis 501 shrink-to-fit
  • Length of Wear: Unknown; over twenty years ago.
  • Number of Washes: One

These four pairs of Levis were worn very hard way by an American cowboy twenty years ago. As a result of tucking his jeans into his cowboy boots and carrying a small tool, strong (stack) fades are apparent around the front of the shin and in the front right pocket. However, due to daily horse riding, the heaviest wear and damage are definitely around the honeycomb area.

  • Denim: NudieEdwin (exact models unknown)
  • Length of Wear: Two years
  • Number of Washes: One

Denim head, Michael, from Zurich transfered his love for skateboarding into all of his raw denim projects; giving them a rough, yet clearly defined, look on their back sides.

Levi's Shrink-To-Fit

Levi's Shrink-To-Fit

Even when comparing as many as four pairs of denim worn by the same personal, it’s amazing to notice some of the shared characteristics. In the above Levi’s 501 Shrink-To-Fit models worn by a tradesman over fifteen years ago, notice the consistent blow outs just above the right bac (likely from carrying an object).

Thus, wearing denim and creating is an evolutionary process that is completely specific to you. The next time you move from one pair of denim to the next, take a step back and observe the similarities between each model. You might be surprised what you find and, without knowing, have your very own fading series.