Raw denim refers to a twill denim fabric sans treatment or coloring after the dyeing stage of production, as opposed to washed denim which features styled fading at the time of purchase.
Raw denim is typically a dark indigo blue as a new product. The areas that a pair of jeans will show the most wear and fading include the ankles, behind the knees, and upper thighs.
Often considered the most desirable aspect of Raw denim, the fade patterns and patina which develop over time will be unique to the body of the user and his/her daily activities. Raw denim will shrink approximately 1-2 inches around the waist after washing, while this will not affect the actual intensity of fade contrast.
Sanforized denim is treated post-production and is mechanically pre-shrunk to ensure less shrinkage of the fabric after washing. This will eliminate the calculating and guessing process that often comes with buying Unsanforized denim.
On the other hand, unsanforized denim does not receive any treatment post-production and is sent directly for cutting and sewing into jeans, as loom state fabric. These jeans are prone to shrink 7- 10% with the first soak (variance can be greater even, and depends on fabric and soak process) and are preferred by hardcore enthusiasts due to the character and weave which tends to be much hairer and slubbier in nature. You can find additional information about the differences between types of denim in this helpful infografic.
We are always explaining to our clients who may be new to our little Selvedge denim world about the differences between these terms.
This seems to be the biggest misconception: Raw denim and Unsanforized denim are interchangeable words. It is no ones fault, and it is likely that is has never been laid out clearly enough to comprehend with ease. Feel free to read more about it here.
The ideal setting for this soak is a bathtub, and if you are willing to go the extra mile, wear your jeans and sit in the bathtub during the soak. This will help you derive an ideal fit, as the jeans will shrink according to your physique.
Step 4: Post-Soak Dry
We recommend running a thin rope through the belt loops along the back of the waistband. Once you have the rope ready, tie the jeans up on a dryer line on either side and make sure the bottom of your jeans are not touching the ground. Watch the indigo puddle beneath your jeans grow, as your jeans naturally dry. This will take several hours, even on a hot day, thus we suggest to start the soak process as early as possible.
As far as storing your jeans, hanging them out to allow steady air flow is the ideal situation for your denim. Either on a hanger or through the belt loops.
There are differents types of fading, such as Honeycomb, Whiskers and Train Tracks or Stacks. Atari (当たり) is a Japanese term describing to the most common fading located along side seams, front and back of knees, upper thighs, along the hem, belt loops and pocket seams.
In order to perfect the natural whiskers and honeycombs, the best way is to wear the same pair of jeans everyday for at least three to six months before washing.