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Crossing The Line – Fake Selvedge Denim

It’s safe to say that for many denim enthusiasts, the devil is in the details. We appreciate the intricacies of a well-crafted piece of clothing, one in which the creator has spent time considering the product design before putting his or her own spin on it. A manifestation of this passion for details can be seen in the trend of rolling up the cuffs of a nice pair of denim.

Wherever you fall on this decades-old trend — is it still a trend? We’re thinking it may be here to stay — one potential reason for rolling up the cuffs is to place the selvedge line on public display. As stated, many enthusiasts are suckers for great details, and the selvedge line has become a standout marker or symbol of craftsmanship and detailing for many denim enthusiasts worldwide. To be sure, selvedge denim does not always equal a solid denim, but it has become a denim status-marker nonetheless.

I’ll admit (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) that when I shop around at brick-and-mortar stores, I roll up the cuffs of each piece of denim that catches my eye. This is not to say that I snobbishly turn up my nose and glide the other way if a piece is not selvedge: it’s just a habit and something I enjoy doing. It also recently led to an interesting discovery as you’ll see in exhibits A and B below.

Faking Selvedge Lines

Exhibits A and B: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Notice anything fishy? If you don’t, take a closer look at the stitching. See it now? That’s right, these particular manufacturers have actually sewn a separate red thread right up the middle of the white projectile stitching in one case and simply through the middle of the leftover denim in the other. As far as I can tell, this red thread has no function. I turned the jeans every which way, giving the makers the benefit of the doubt, but to no avail: this was not a selvedge denim.

Now I’m not going to blast these particular brands for false advertising because they’re not even remotely alone. The following photographs document the same imitations from another two brands, showing that this is no one-off mistake within the denim industry.

CTL3 pixlr

CTL4 pixlr

In these examples, you’ll notice that the brands go as far as to use tonal stitching to cause the projectile stitch to fade into the background and showcase what appears to be the contrast weft from a piece of selvedge denim.

Now, I have nothing against projectile looms or the products they produce, nor do I exclusively own selvedge denim. This article is definitely not an outing of the brands that have jumped onto this fashion bandwagon – though they all are major manufacturers whose product are sold in department stores – and they do not claim that these pairs of denim are selvedge.

What I find nefarious about this tactic is that it plays upon the unwitting consumer who may think he or she is buying some form of selvedge denim. I know what you’re thinking: if someone hasn’t done the homework necessary to figure out the difference, he gets what he deserves to a certain degree (in this case, a healthy hit to the wallet).

While to a certain extent I agree, we’d like to show the fact that this is out there such that some newcomers to the selvedge denim world can shop fore-warned. That’s what this site is here for. So, be sure to pay close attention next time you’re out there shopping around, and don’t be fooled by pretenders. The details definitely do matter.