Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Despite the fact that indigo dye has been used for thousands of years, the majority of indigo dyes used today are synthetic. And that comes as no surprise–synthetic dyes are cheaper, easier to source, and tend to produce more consistent results. Luckily for us denimheads, some brands are willing to produce natural indigo-dyed denims to satiate our thirst for more unique jeans.
1) Naked & Famous: Weird Guy in Natural Indigo
Naked and Famous is one of the most recommended brands for entry level raw denim, and is known for offering some of the most unique fabrics on the market. Their Weird Guy in Natural Indigo Selvedge is made from 13oz. denim that’s dyed to a medium blue tone with natural indigo. Generally speaking, natural indigo dye results in a lighter hue than synthetic dye, which is quite noticeable in this case.
Available for $158 from Tate + Yoko.
2) Iron Heart: IH-634N Straight Cut
Iron Heart is known for producing jeans from some of the heaviest-weight denims available, and while the 17oz. denim used for their IH-634N Jeans is light by Iron Heart’s standards, it’s certainly a medium-heavy fabric overall. Like all of IH’s jeans, these are made to a very high quality standard, featuring tucked belt loops, hidden rivets, and poly-cotton thread throughout.
Available for $295 from Iron Heart.
3) Studio d’Artisan: D1730AI Aizome Jeans
Studio D’artisan’s D1730AI Aizome Jeans feature some of the most beautiful fabric on the market. The yarn is hand hank-dyed in a vat of natural indigo, and the irregularities in the yarn produce a slubby texture once the denim is woven. These jeans are unique for more than just their denim, though. They also feature a back cinch, copper rivets, traditional crotch rivet, offset back belt loop, and duck canvas pocket bags.
Available for $495 from Okayama Denim.
4) Left Field: Chelsea Jean in White Oak Natural Indigo Selvedge
Left Field’s Chelsea Jean in Natural Indigo Selvedge is a great option for those of you who want the vibrant look of plant natural indigo jeans but don’t want to break the bank. The fabric is from Cone Mills White Oak plant, one of the oldest fabric mills in the country, and features a white selvedge line. And, as mentioned before, the natural indigo makes the hue of the denim a bit lighter than most raw iterations. These jeans feature all of the features you’d expect from LF’s jeans, such as bandana pocket backs and skull-branded rivets.
Available for $240 from Left Field.
5) Tanuki: NT1 in Natural Indigo
Blue Owl has a way of finding great Japanese denim brands that have yet to make their way to the US, and it looks like they did it again with Tanuki. Their NT1 jeans are dyed with natural indigo to a deep blue hue and feature a white/pink selvedge ID, extra large front hand pockets, antiqued buttons and hardware, and a veg-tan leather patch on the back.
Available for $325 from Blue Owl.
Plus One – Oni x Burgus Plus: 850 Natural Indigo
The Oni x Burgus Plus 850 Natural Indigo collaboration is one of the most sought-after pairs on the market. The main denim is a 15.5oz. loose-weave that’s dyed with natural indigo, but two other denims are also used: Oni’s Secret denim and a natural indigo secret denim. These two fabrics are used for the back pockets, coin pockets, and backing of the hand pockets, resulting in textural contrast throughout the garment. The jeans are Tempi treated to reduce shrinkage and feature two leather patches, one for each brand, on the back of the jeans.
Available for $325 from Tate and Yoko.