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I love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim – Review

Lately, the masses (read “Heddels commenters”) have been calling for brands to take a more unique and interesting approach when designing raw denim. Unexpectedly, terms such as “slim-straight”, “13-14Oz.” and “Made in the USA” have ceased to tickle the fancy of raw denim consumers, leading denim brands to stray from the beaten path and follow the road less travelled.

New Zealand based menswear brand, i love ugly, have forged their reputation in the fashion industry through avoiding the beaten path. Specifically, they’ve answered the call in the form of their Japanese Selvedge denim released as part of their May 2013 collection.

i love ugly were generous enough to send us a pair of their first raw denim offering. After a couple of weeks of wear, they have definitely left an impression.

Front and Back Fit - i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim

Front and Back Fit – i love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim


  • Name: i love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Fit: Tapered fit
  • Denim: Japanese selvedge denim
  • Further Details:
    • Osaka lining
    • Custom embossed button fly “when nothing goes right go left”
    • Genuine leather patch “i love ugly denim – made to wear”
    • Back pocket loop
    • Coin pocket on right side
    • Pen pocket on left side
    • Embossed rivets
    • Triple stitched cross hem
  • Available at: i love ugly for $220.00 NZD ($180.00 USD)


For their first pair of raw denim jeans, i love ugly chose to work with a fairly lightweight (but considerate of the humid New Zealand climate) 12 oz. Japanese selvedge denim in a color that is somewhere between grey-caste and black.

Whilst not being woven by any notable mill, the denim feels surprisingly crisp for it’s 12 oz. weight and has a tight-weave with little to no stretch in the fabric, indicating that the denim is still of good quality. The denim softened up considerably over the first few wears indicating that the break-in period for this pair of jeans will be a short and stress-free one.

The only negative aspect within the denim category came when I turned the jeans inside out – i love ugly‘s failure to iron flat the selvedge seam was an extremely disappointing detail.

Side Fit - i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim

Side Fit – i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim


Although the fit of these jeans was subject to an immense amount of scrutiny in the comment section of our previous feature, in my opinion it compliments the wearer.

I’ll start from the top and work my way down. Whilst some denim wearers would see this fit as “drop-crotch”, I interpreted the jeans as having an extremely high rise (12″ at the front) and this really appealed to me – no longer did I spend my days pulling my jeans up from below my crotch.

The relaxed fit around the knees and thighs makes the upper half of these jeans extremely comfortable and although this may lead to relatively weak whiskering up top, the 12 Oz. weight doesn’t promise any extreme contrast fades anyway.

Going below the knee is where my gripes start. Measured after a couple of wears, the jeans taper to a tiny 6″ leg opening and never did I have an easy time removing these jeans. In fact, on the first wear I rolled and tugged my way around my bedroom for an agonizing 8 minutes before I got my right leg out (at one point I swore never to put them on again).

While it would have been nice for i love ugly to have offered these jeans on a number based system with varying inseams, this wouldn’t have made sense considering their history of sizing their bottoms using a S, M, L, XL system.

ILU Japanese Selvedge Denim. Osaka lining, size badge and un-ironed selvedge seam

Osaka lining, size badge and un-ironed selvedge seam


The hardware on the i love ugly raw denim jeans is where the fun begins. Noticeable from the rest of their collection, i love ugly has an extremely active design team who have made a pair of denim that is jam-packed with features. The lining that graces the inner-waistband, leg piping and pocketbags is comprised of many Japanese inspired symbols, and gives the jeans unique character and streetwear appeal.

Other details include buttons embossed with one of i love ugly’s inspirational quotes (“when nothing goes right, go left.”), logo embossed rivets, an awesome leather patch, front left pen pocket (which is, ironically, too shallow to fit a pen) and a denim loop on the rear pocket. These are all aesthetically pleasing touches, though I would’ve liked to see a higher emphasis on function over form.

The inclusion of spare buttons and rivets in the packaging is also a thoughtful and useful addition.


i love ugly has done an impressive job on the construction of these jeans – something that is often lacking in a company’s first venture into denim.  The lack of loose buttons and missed stitches gives the impression that these jeans will more than live up to the urban beating that their target market will throw at them.

However, by no means could these be classified as work wear. The lack of a chainstitched hem is something that only a denim head will notice.


With all said and done, i love ugly has done an impressive job designing and constructing these jeans. Hopefully this is an indication that other raw denim offerings are in the pipeline as we would love to see more from this New Zealand brand.

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