hard denim jeans

Raw Denim: Everything You Need To know

Raw denim is a term that you may have come across in the world of fashion. But what exactly is raw denim? 

In simple terms, raw denim refers to denim fabric that has not undergone any washing or processing after being dyed. Unlike pre-washed jeans that have a worn-in look, raw denim starts off stiff and rigid, gradually moulding to the wearer’s body over time. 

It is often characterised by its deep dark indigo colour and has unique qualities that make it a favourite among denim enthusiasts.

Characteristics of raw denim

  • Unwashed, Unprocessed, and Deep Dark Indigo Color

One of the defining characteristics of raw denim is that it is unwashed and unprocessed. This means that it retains its original colour and texture, giving it a raw and untouched appearance. 

Raw denim jeans are typically dyed with a deep dark indigo colour, which adds to their charm and versatility. This rich hue can vary in intensity, depending on the type of dye and dyeing process used.

  • Stiff and Rigid

Raw denim is known for its stiffness and rigidity. When you first put on a pair of raw denim jeans, they may feel uncomfortably stiff. 

However, as you wear them, the fabric begins to soften and mould to your body, creating a personalised fit that is unique to you. This process is often referred to as “breaking in” the jeans.

It’s important to note that raw denim has a tendency to shrink when washed. This is because the fabric has not been pre-shrunk during the manufacturing process. 

To minimise shrinkage, it is recommended to soak raw denim jeans in cold water before wearing them for the first time. This helps to remove any excess dye and allows the fabric to relax.

Another characteristic of raw denim is its potential for fading. Unlike pre-faded jeans that have a uniform colour, raw denim fades naturally over time, creating a personalised patina that reflects the wearer’s lifestyle and habits. 

This fading process occurs through regular wear and exposure to elements such as sunlight and friction. Each pair of raw denim jeans tells a unique story, making them a popular choice for those who appreciate the individuality of their clothing.

Benefits of raw denim

  • Personalised Fading and Patina

One of the biggest advantages of raw denim is the ability to achieve personalised fading and patina. As mentioned earlier, raw denim fades naturally over time, creating unique patterns and shades. 

This personalised fading is a result of the fabric’s high-quality construction and its ability to retain dye. By wearing raw denim regularly and taking care of it, you can create a pair of jeans that is truly one-of-a-kind.

  • High-Quality Construction

Raw denim is known for its high-quality construction. Raw denim jeans, as opposed to mass-produced jeans, are generally handcrafted by trained artisans who pay attention to every detail. 

From the stitching to the buttons and rivets, each component is carefully chosen and expertly assembled. This level of craftsmanship ensures that raw denim jeans are built to last, making them a wise investment for those seeking durable and long-lasting clothing.

  • Customised Fit

Another benefit of raw denim is the ability to achieve a customised fit. Because raw denim starts off stiff and rigid, it gradually moulds to the wearer’s body over time, creating a fit that is unique to them. 

This personalised fit is achieved through regular wear, allowing the fabric to stretch and conform to the wearer’s shape. This means that each pair of raw denim jeans becomes a true reflection of the wearer’s body and style.

  •  Timeless Style

In addition to its personalised fading and customised fit, raw denim also offers a timeless style. Unlike trendy jeans that come and go with fashion fads, raw denim has a classic appeal that transcends time. 

It’s deep indigo colour and clean style make it a versatile pick that can be dressed up or down for any occasion. Whether you prefer a casual or more formal look, raw denim is a reliable choice that never goes out of style.

  • Selvedge Detailing

A notable feature of raw denim is its selvedge detailing. Selvedge denim is woven on traditional shuttle looms, resulting in a tightly woven fabric with a self-edge that prevents fraying. 

This selvedge edge is often visible on the outseam of raw denim jeans, adding a distinctive and authentic touch. Selvedge denim is highly regarded for its quality and craftsmanship, making it a desirable feature for denim enthusiasts.

How to Care for raw denim: Washing and Maintenance Tips

Caring for raw denim requires a different approach compared to pre-washed jeans. Since raw denim is unwashed and unprocessed, it is recommended to delay the first wash for as long as possible to allow the fabric to develop natural fades and a personalised patina. However, when it comes time to wash your raw denim jeans, there are a few important tips to keep in mind.

Firstly, it is recommended to wash raw denim jeans inside and out in cold water to minimise colour loss and shrinkage. Avoid using harsh detergents and opt for a mild, denim-specific detergent instead. Gently hand wash or use a delicate cycle on your washing machine.

To preserve the colour and texture of raw denim, avoid using a dryer, as it can cause excessive shrinkage and damage to the fabric. Instead, hang your jeans to air dry or lay them flat on a clean towel. This will help maintain the shape and fit of the jeans while allowing them to dry naturally.

It’s important to note that raw denim may bleed dye onto other fabrics, especially during the first few washes. To prevent colour transfer, wash your raw denim jeans separately or with similar dark colours. A cup of vinegar added to the wash can also help set the indigo colour and reduce bleeding.

By following these washing and maintenance tips, you can ensure that your raw denim jeans retain their quality, fit, and unique characteristics for years to come.

Raw denim fashion trends and styling tips

Raw denim is a classic fabric that can be dressed up or down to suit different fashion trends. Here are a few styling tips to help you incorporate raw denim into your wardrobe:

  • Casual and Classic

Pair raw denim jeans with a white t-shirt and sneakers for a classic, casual look. This combination is versatile and can be dressed up or down with the addition of a blazer or leather jacket.

  • Double Denim

Embrace the denim-on-denim trend by pairing your raw denim jeans with a denim jacket or shirt. To create a balanced look, choose different shades of denim and vary the texture between the jeans and the top.\

  1. Smart Casual

Dress up your raw denim jeans by pairing them with a tailored blazer, button-down shirt, and loafers. This combination strikes the perfect balance between casual and formal, making it suitable for a variety of occasions.

  • Monochrome Styling

Create a sleek and modern look by pairing your raw denim jeans with a black or gray top. This monochrome styling allows the jeans to take center stage while maintaining a polished and sophisticated aesthetic.

  • Layering

Experiment with layering by adding a sweater or cardigan over your raw denim jeans. This adds depth and dimension to your outfit, making it suitable for colder weather or adding a touch of sophistication to your look.


In conclusion, raw denim offers a unique and personalised experience that sets it apart from pre-washed jeans. Its unwashed and unprocessed nature, deep dark indigo colour, and stiff yet moldable fabric make it a favourite among denim enthusiasts.

The benefits of raw denim, such as personalised fading and patina, high-quality construction, customised fit, timeless style, and selvedge detailing, make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking durable and individualistic clothing.

Caring for raw denim requires special attention, including washing and maintenance tips to preserve the colour and texture of the fabric. Lastly, raw denim can be styled in various ways to suit different fashion trends, allowing you to create unique and versatile outfits.

Embrace the unique qualities of raw denim and enjoy the journey of personalization and self-expression that comes with wearing this exceptional fabric.