$10,000 jeans? Are you nuts!? The world of premium denim continues to push the envelope with price point. Designer jeans at $130 five years ago are now nearing $400… *ahem* True Religion, I’m looking in your direction….
But the REAL premium denim, and the denim that demands small fortunes, continue to be vintage. One of kind pieces that serve as inspiration to today’s denim designers and Holy Grail collector’s items to enthusiasts worldwide. What makes “old” jeans, vintage? What are the major things to look for, the key elements that turn your grandfather’s old work pants into historically significant collector’s items? Here are a couple of the big ones:
Selvage Denim: Selvage denim refers to denim that has been loomed on the now-outmoded shuttle loom. These looms were the standard machinery for making textiles from the mid 1800’s through the 1970’s. Fabric made on these looms are narrow off the bolt, usually right around 30″ wide, and have finished edges (Shuttle looms were once known as “Self-Edging” looms…which later became the term “selvage”). This type of denim, produced on the old looms are often times more irregular and grainy, a result of the natural imperfection in the engineering of the old machinery. This irregularity, known as yarn-character, gives vintage denim it’s tell tale look. As shuttle looms were retired, and replaced by contemporary projectile looms, subcultures developed that valued the superior quality, and natural beauty of the original, selvage fabrics. The first major hurdle for denim to be considered of significant vintage is to determine if its selvage: Check the out seam…. Woven, finished edges, or raw edged fabric with over lock stitching??….. Finished edges?…Good…. Keep reading.