Raw Denim – Unbranded 21oz Goodness

Disclaimer: this is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea – especially if you don’t care about jeans or more specifically – you hate unwashed jeans – but it is most certainly my big cup of tea and I just wanted to share! So if this isn’t your thing, scroll on…

I’ve been into raw denim for almost 10 years now but I was never a really diehard fan that knew everything about every brand and Japanese mill that ever existed – I didn’t really care for that back then. I was really all in for the hype – if you call it that – it’s as much an adventure as it is hype and if you had the patience to wear the jeans day in, and day out to get them to the grail state of fades, then it was worth it. I must have gone through at least 10 pairs over the last 10 years – none of them ever really getting to where I wanted it to be. I either got tired of the fit or they didn’t fit anymore at all – I would last a few months and move on. that’s the unfortunate part of raw denim – until you find a pair you’re willing to stick it out with for as long as possible – that end state is far in the distance.

Well up until last year, I had some time on my hands and I started to look more into raw denim. It turns out, raw denim is literally a sub-culture of the denim world and there are people that are much more than raw denim enthusiasts – they live and breathe by them and anything you could ever want or know about it, they could tell you. I started learning more about the different mills that produce jeans, the different levels of jeans, which cotton produces the best fades, which dye method produce the best indigo, selvedge and the beauty of the inner seam that no one ever seems to care about, the weight of the denim (DENIM HAS WEIGHT?!). Every little piece of the raw denim industry has a story and if you care about the story, the jeans have that much more significance.

Anyway, the point of the post is just to share my lack of knowledge over the last 10 years and how I wish I knew what I know now. Also to share my latest pick up that I’m pretty stoked about… My previous jeans have always landed in the 10-12oz range – so fairly lightweight and not much to them. They faded well for the most part but they were just generic Nudies or Naked & Famous jeans and some other off brands that never really made it anywhere. I got a pair of N&F Indigo Power Stretch when Aria was born – I said that it would be cool to have a pair that was the same age as Aria and have it essentially be the same age as her. Perhaps a little corny – but cool to me. They have been the best pair that I’ve had in a long time but again, nothing really special about them – no selvedge, they were stretch which kind of goes against the grain of wearing raw denim, and just a basic 12oz cotton. Still a great pair nonetheless.

After a few weeks of learning and reading, I suddenly had an urge to jump straight into super heavyweight denim but I wanted to make sure I got the right pair. (ie., fit, denim, brand, etc). I had looked at a bunch of brands – Momotaro, Japan Blue, Iron Heart, Unbranded, N&F, and the list goes on. One of my biggest issues was always the fit – if it didn’t fit right, then the jeans were a waste. Since my current N&F fit so well, I took the measurements of them and went off to find a pair that matched it as closely as possible. The problem is that all the brands I wanted were not sold even remotely close to me to try on. Comparison after comparison – none of the brands I wanted fit the bill for my measurements and an inch here and there was a big difference in how the jeans would fit. Finally I had come across Unbranded – an entry level brand that is essentially a sister company of N&F. The fits were almost identical in measurements (naturally) and luckily for me, they’re based out of Montreal – so I saved myself some $$$. I picked up their UB121’s which is a skinny fit 21oz denim – a perfect segway for me into the world of super heavyweights… And so lets go onto pictures finally…

I wanted to start with my N&F jeans to show the progress. I’m quite happy with where they’re at right now at almost 9 months. I’ve only done one soak with them so far and the indigo is start to show nice whisker fading and it’s turning into an electric blue.

The crotch/lap whiskers coming in nicely.

Knee fades starting to lose a lot of indigo as well.

When I got these, I didn’t end up hemming them so that they could stack. At first I regretted it but as the stacking fades start to show, I’m starting to love them.

The butt fades with the wallet showing through as well.

Back of the knee fades – much lighter than the rest of the fades mainly cause I’m sitting most of the time if I wear them so there isn’t much action going on back there.

We move onto the UB121’s. You can see the drastic difference in them and I wish those of you that have never felt or seen a super heavyweight denim before could get the sense in pictures. Unfortunately you can’t, so you’ll have to take my word for it that these are stiff and rigid and heavy mother f*ckers.

The back – plain and simple like the N&F jeans.

The difference between my previous pairs and this one is that these have selvedge stitching on the inside. A nicer quality and feature that I wish I knew about sooner. Looks nice when cuffed.

Tag…

I’ve begun marking the date on the inside pockets so I know exactly when I started wearing them. Helps to keep track of how old they are – it’s more helpful 6, 9, or 12 months from now when you want to know…

And as the brand states – everything is unbranded. Nothing is labeled to keep prices down which I think is totally cool. I don’t really care for the branding anymore so this fit the bill. Although, I wouldn’t complain if there was some pocket stitching design…

The buttons are pretty sturdy as well. Right now it takes me a good 15 seconds to button and unbotton that top one because of how thick and hard the denim is. Hurts the fingers…

And because even the leather patch is unbranded, I decided to add my own personal touch to it. I added the date on the back as well just to add some small details and then I also had some branding leaf stamps that I added to the top corner just cause as well. I didn’t want to overdo it otherwise in a year from now, it might look corny… But that’s all folks! We’ll see how these come along in the next 6 months!

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