Updated August 2020 – Unfortunately Studio D’Artisan is no longer available, but scroll down to shop for similar selvedge raw denim jeans.
It is no secret that the movement for raw denim has taken on a life of it’s own. Instagram is overflowing with hashtags like #neverwash, #rawdenim and #heavyfades creating an outlet for the dedicated to display their raw denim projects like trophies on a shelf. Hell, there are even blogs proclaiming Friday as #fadefriday to spread the word and reward the hard work many put into their jeans.
When talking to true raw denim heads, it wouldn’t take very long before Studio D’Artisan enters the conversation. Manufacturing selvage denim on vintage looms since 1979, Studio D’Artisan was quickly and widely accepted as one of the most desirable brands for selvage Japanese denim. One thing that probably helped their claim was the limited availability of the brand worldwide. Up until recently, a pair of Studio D’Artisan jeans were very hard to find to many markets outside of Japan. However, now Studio D’Artisan is slowly emerging in the European market and what better way to jump in then with a review and comparison of the Studio D’Artisan SD-107 raw selvage jeans and the Studio D’Artisan SD-103 raw selvage jeans.
The SD-107 fit is listed as a Super Tight fitting jean, so basically a skinny fit. Since this is full on Japanese denim with no stretch blend, I went with my normal waist size of 32. I was looking forward to taking on the challenge of breaking in a true skinny pair of raw denim…the fades, the potential…so exciting. Let’s just say that I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. Even in a 32, these bad boys are tight tight tight. (the fit description should have tipped me off but I just thought this was a “lost in translation” sort of thing). From top of bottom, they will be like a second skin. I have had these jeans for a bit of time now and it has taken that long to break them in to the point where I can sit down and not bust the fly.
The SD-103 jeans on the other hand are listed as a Tight Straight fit. How this translates to the actual fit is tight up top, but only around the waist, and much wider (wider than standard slim fits) throughout the entire leg. So wide in fact that my legs felt a little lost. Again, went with a 32 waist but this time didn’t have a problem getting them up and buttoned.
When I first put them on the SD-107 pair, they were stiff, heavy and very tight. So tight in fact that I could barely even button the top button. So my first step was to put a hanger inside the jeans and leave them for a couple weeks. My goal here was to slowly stretch out the waist so I could at least start to wear them around. Occasionally I would take the hanger out and wear them around the house unbuttoned – but right back on the hanger afterwards. The second step, after I felt they stretched a bit, was to start the “on body” break-in process. To date, this is still moving forward but the results are slowly starting to show. The denim is extremely sturdy and all the hardware is solid so I have to put in the work. There are no frill on the jeans, just a solid quality pair of jeans that I know will have a long life.
The SD-103 jeans were shockingly roomy. Maybe it was because I just took off the Super Tight pair, but I drowned in the SD-103 fit. The top panel of the jeans fit similar to the Super Tight SD-107’s but that is about where the fit comparisons stop. There is plenty of room in the legs on the SD-103’s to keep your average guys happy while still maintaining a slimmer fit around the butt. I would imagine that once these are washed or soaked for the first time, they will slim down pretty significantly. They are a break from my normal slimmer fitting jeans but it’s never a bad thing to have some different options in your closet.
When it comes to quality, there’s not anything new to add to the long rich history of Studio D’Artisan. Similar to Levis, the reason Studio D’Artisan has become one of the top denim brands is due to their quality materials and impeccable craftsmanship. They don’t mess around with different washes, crazy logos or hidden features – Studio D’Artisan simply let’s the denim speak for itself. This is one of those brands that you won’t really understand until you own your own pair. The depth of the indigo, the structure in the weave and the hard softness (it makes sense trust me) in the denim is what puts Studio D’Artisan in the top rankings of the denim game.
Bottom line: If you want to try your hands at a skinny pair of raw denim, the Studio D’Artisan SD-107 raw selvage jeans are the way to go. In order to wear them right off the rack, I would highly recommend sizing up. Be warned, it will take some time to soften these jeans up, but the fading potential on this Japanese denim is unmatched….just take a peak around the internet for some well worn pairs and prepare to be amazed. If you want to go for a straighter fit than the Studio D’Artisan SD-103 raw selvage jeans should be on your list. All the same characteristics as the SD-107 but more liberal in the legs and waist for normal guys. Either way, Studio D’Artisan should be a welcome challenge for your next or first raw denim project.
Head on over to the Studio D’Artisan website to find new retailers in your area and continue to watch for them to pop up in your area.
Fit description: Super Tight
Actual fit: Hella skinny
Size recommendation: go up at least one full size
Recommended for: Guys who are pretty slim and have the patience to break-in a good pair of denim
Fit description: Tight Straight
Actual Fit: Tight on top but legs have fair bit of room
Size recommendation: stay true to size if you won’t wash, size up if you will wash
Recommended for: Pretty much anyone who wants a slimmer fitting jean but not on the legs
Feel free to check out my other reviews here.
Until the next pair,