Combatant Gentlemen may be a brand unknown to most raw denim aficionados, but it should be on the radar of selvedge denim fans with their semi-recent introduction of an affordable denim line.
Previously focusing on areas like suiting, they have also ventured into shirting, knitwear, and ties. A family-run organization with production out of Los Angeles, California, the brand is lead by Vishaal Melwani, with additional leadership in the form of his brother Mo and friend Scott. Their goal of achieving suitable quality for low prices was good enough for Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who has invested in the company.
Selvedge denim seemed like a logical next step after their tailored products, likely due to both its rampant popularity and the number of brands entering the quality-denim market. The guys over at Combatant Gentlemen sent us a pair of their Indigo Slim Straight Selvedge Denim, made of an unsanforized 11.9oz. Japanese selvedge. After almost a month of wear, they’ve become one of my frequent pairs since pure skinny fits are no longer a possibility for my growing thighs (due to time in the gym, not cheeseburgers). Being my first unsanforized pair out of who-knows-how-many sanforized selvedge jeans I’ve owned, it was also a great learning experience when it came to shrink-to-fit–especially at such a low price point.
- Name: Combatant Gentlemen Indigo Slim Straight Selvedge Denim
- Fabric: 100% cotton unsanforized Japanese indigo selvedge denim
- Weight: 11.9 Oz. (pre-soak)
- Fit: Slim Straight
- Other features:
- Minimalist design
- Blank copper hardware
- Vintage twill pocket bags
- Naturally-tanned Spanish leather back patch
- MSRP: $70 at Combatant Gentlemen
This model is a Slim Straight fit, and remains pretty true to its name. Pre-soak, the jeans were a lot baggier than I was expecting. At the urging of the brand, I went true to size with a 34, and I’m glad I listened instead of sizing up. Originally I was planning for extreme shrinkage due to the fabric’s unsanforized nature, but it ended up being fairly moderate.
With this actually being my first pair of unsanforized denim, I excitedly threw them in a big plastic storage bin filled with warm water for about an hour and a half. I didn’t do the sit-in-the-bathtub method for the ultimate shrink-to-fit experience, but the jeans still fit me well enough afterwards with a noticeable change.
With a 16″ opening at the cuff pre-soak, it lost almost inch through the soak. The front rise was 11.75″ pre-soak, and is still at a comfortable 11″ mid-rise post-soak. The 34″ pre-soak inseam measurement doesn’t matter much to me, since I cuff all of my selvedge anyway. The 9″ knee, 12.75″ thigh, and 36″ waist all shrank a bit, but not enough to justify listing measurements, especially because it’s unspecified where Combatant Gentlemen took their exact measurements on the garment to begin with.
The one flaw is what can be described as the “saggy butt.” These definitely aren’t form-fitting in the posterior, which might have been solved if I had sized down. All said and done, this Slim Straight fit is an option for those with slightly larger thighs, or those who are just looking for a more comfortable, nonrestrictive fit while retaining a slimmer silhouette. For me, this will fit nicely into my rotation that already has a few slimmer fits among them.
The fabric on this pair is a 100% cotton 11.9oz. (pre-soak) indigo selvedge from an unspecified Japanese mill with a red and white ID. When they arrived, the fabric almost had a sheen to it. Post-soak, the denim had a wonderful crispness to it with the sheen gone. The white weft is highly visible in this denim, with the right hand twill weave unmissable. Hairy in places with the occasional nep, this fabric was a lot more interesting than what I was expecting for a $70 pair of jeans.
After wearing these for almost a month, I haven’t seen any big signs of fading. Granted, I only really wear them to the office and don’t ride a bike to and from work. These also went through a soak so I’m not looking for crazy amounts of rapid contrast, but it’s surprising nonetheless.
As I mentioned earlier, this offering from Combatant Gentlemen is fairly minimalist. The copper hardware at the rivets and button fly are left blank. There is no back pocket stitching, and the stitching throughout the jean is a fairly common contrast copper color. It’s likely that this lack of overall detailing helps maintain the low cost of the jean, but that shouldn’t matter for those people who don’t like gaudy design elements on their selvedge.
Lately, it seems like denim brands are in a mad rush to add as many unique details to their products in order to stand out. For that reason, this pair’s lack of such details was a little refreshing. The only two points that stand out are the exposed selvedge ID on the coin pocket and the naturally-tanned Spanish leather back patch.
The durability of this denim seems pretty par for the course. The relatively lightweight 11.9 Oz. fabric probably doesn’t mean you should go climbing over rocks, but I haven’t felt like I could rip part of the jean at any moment. There were a few stray threads here and there that I simply pulled off, but there aren’t any glaring construction flaws that I can see. There is the typical overlock stitching used throughout–likely a cost-saving measure to keep this jean at its price point.
Combatant Gentlemen nail the pure price point value by pricing these jeans at $70. I would compare these in overall design to the A.P.C. New Standard or the BIG JOHN GUNJO, which are priced at $185 and $200 respectively, except with a slightly higher rise. For those looking to dabble in unsanforized denim for the first time, I don’t see why these would be a bad option. It would definitely be better to mess up this $70 pair via a hot soak instead of a $300+ pair of Japanese raws.
I would recommend these jeans for the minimalist who isn’t looking for tons of extra details and is willing to be patient to see fades appear. They also work well for those looking to venture into slightly more-spacious fits. Personally, my days of low-rise denim have long been over. They’ll make a nice addition to my current rotation of denim, and I’ll be sure to update people again down the road on any developments.