What is selvedge denim, and why should I care?

In a world of millions of pairs of jeans, there has been a huge resurgence in the purchasing of selvedge denim. So what is it? Where does it come from? Why should it matter to you?

What Selvedge Denim Is:

The "Selvedge" of a jean is a colloquial term that refers to the 'self-edge' of a denim fabric. Old shuttle looms create selvedge that is woven closed, whereas modern looms produce a selvedge that is frayed and cut.

In the times when your grandparents were kids (think the initial introduction of the Levi's 501), all denim fabric was created on a shuttle loom and were finished with a closed selvedge. This resulted in a higher quality jean, more tightly woven fabrics, and jeans that would well...last.

Selvedge denim has incurred a sort of renaissance in recent years due to its quality, durability, and look. You can generally spot a pair of selvedge denim jeans by looking for a "Selvedge ID". The woven closed fabric seen at the seams:

Image result for selvedge denim

Photo credit: Heddels.com

Where does it come from?

Currently, selvedge denim fabric, is milled around the world. However, due to the more time intensive nature, and the care that is put into the fabric, there are few remaining mills that produce selvedge fabric. Up until early 2019, Cone Mills was the last remaining American denim mill in the continental United States. When American manufacturing began to go overseas in the 70's-80's, Japan actually purchased a majority of American Shuttle Looms used in the making of selvedge denim.

Japanese selvedge denim is considered the best denim fabric in the world. Brands such as Full Count, Studio D' Artisan, and Warehouse Co. are some examples of premium Japanese Selvedge denim. 

Image result for shuttle loom

An image of a shuttle loom producing selvedge fabric. Photo courtesy of Heddels.com

Why Should I Care?

As with any niche product, consumers are prone to asking a single question: "Why should I care?"

It comes down to one buzzword that actually carries weight beyond the use in the "Maker's Movement". Quality.

It is one thing to claim a product holds an innate quality, it's another thing to live in the item day in and day out, with it performing the way you want it to. Selvedge denim is an investment. Not only for your wallet, but also for your wardrobe. We all live in jeans day after day, and Clever Luck is committed to bringing you the best denim on the whole damned planet. What you wear shouldn't be an after thought. It should be a non-narcissistic commitment to self betterment. Clothing is the physical extension of that. Caring about what you wear, where it comes from, who made it, why the produce it, and how it makes you feel is an important part in building a quality wardrobe. 

When you feel good and look good, wearing products that are well made, you'd be surprised the difference it makes in your daily life. You can always rest easy knowing the guarantee of Clever Luck is to provide you with quality apparel, to do exactly what we set out to do: to make you look good and feel good.