The new movement in fashion is a “dry” (sometimes referred to as “raw”) denim style that when pieced together correctly can be bold, edgy and original.
Here’s a look at the look that’s been turning heads this 2015 along with the pros, cons and fashion best practices that coincide with it.
Raw Denim A.K.A. Dry Denim: The Definition
Raw denim is a way of breaking in new jeans without washing them that allegedly produces a more dramatic, high end appearance.
What’s so special about not washing your jeans? Well, supporters of the movement claim the approach helps to maintain the original integrity of high quality denim and the end result is an effortless vintage look that’s naturally distressed by the consumer rather than the vendor.
What It Looks Like
If you know how to apply the raw denim effect, you can enjoy custom creases that glide along your curves along with a stiff, intense hue that is comparable but slightly more vibrant than its manufactured denim counterpart. Envision a vivid, snug fitting jean with crinkles in all the right places. That’s the look.
So, How Can You Achieve It?
In order to hit the streets in real deal raw denim fashion, you’ll need to start with the right type of jean. This typically translates to a pair of high end jeans with a high price tag to match.
Most dry denim advocates opt for unsanforized denim, a material that is known for shrinking, so bear this element in mind when making your initial purchase. You’ll want these jeans to fit seven or eight months down the line, since that’s when they’ll peak in the breaking in process.
Another important factor when making your purchase is the type of dye the manufacturer used on the original jean. Since you’re going for a natural look, a natural dye is an absolute must; natural indigo is an optimal denim dye choice.
The weight of the jean should also be taken into consideration. Discount stores often specialize in light, flimsy material, and this type of denim generally won’t be able to endure the wear and tear that is necessary in order to pull off this look.
For an affordable take on classic design, Rawr Denim suggests Unbranded 201 jeans, which fall just below the $100 mark.
Soaking, Starching and More
The process of breaking in your own denim can be grueling, but there’s no denying the end result. Raw denim rockstars have the soaking and starching process down to a science!
To soak, simply fill your bathtub with hot water and submerge the jeans for approximately one and a half to two hours. Line dry for best results.
To take this look one step further, you can also opt to starch your jeans. This controversial procedure serves to optimize the stiffness of your denim and create incredible creases. To do this, apply a spray or liquid starch to the material and work it in with a sponge or hot iron. Iron at your own discretion after carefully reading all washing instructions.
Experts suggest that your jeans should spend at least one cold, hard night in the freezer in order to be rid of bacteria.
The Starching Controversy, The Raw Denim Controversy and The Line Between Natural and Manufactured
Natural, organic, earth friendly and green are words and phrases that ultimately define this generation—but have we taken things too far for our own good? Critics of the raw denim movement claim that not washing your jeans is an unnecessary, unsanitary plunge into hipsterdom that is not only backwards, but expensively so.
Supporters of the movement claim that going raw is the only way to achieve a genuine, custom vintage look and feel. When starch is thrown into the mix, the movement can further befuddle. Does starching take away from the organic agenda? Does ironing while starching ruin the denim’s rawness? Do jeans need to be so stiff that they stand up on their own in the name of fashion forwardness? And possibly even more importantly—can your freezer really be trusted to kill the kind of bacteria that might otherwise cling to the inside of your earth friendly, runway ready jeans?
Feel free to add your opinion to the comments section below!
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