Here is what Marc Flashberg – the “other” half of the Marc Allison Jeans – explains about the importance of having a denim wash done right:
” When I begin a conversation on what makes a premium jean invariably I begin with fabric.
But there is so much more that goes into manufacturing a quality denim. After fabric wash is key. Unless one has been to a wash house it is difficult to comprehend why washing a garment is so expensive. The amount of labor that goes into washing one pair of jeans is intensive. When one sees sanding on a jean it is done by hand. The process of making holes is also done by an individual. It is a long arduous process, and when the wash house is producing 10,000 jeans for a department store they better look almost exact or they are coming back. If one cuts corners to save money in washing it can adversely affect the appearance of the jean.
Lets go back to fabric for a minute. Most traditional denim is a three by one twill, see below. To get a little technical, the length yarns (warp) are dyed indigo, and the width yarns (weft) are left natural.
This is a picture of the back of a fabric. Notice the bottom row, the white (width) there are three yarns up and one under which gives us a 3X1 twill. So on the body side of ones jean it will be predominately white, but if you look at the front of the jean the majority of the color, indigo, will be seen. This is called yarn dying. Each individual yarn is dyed before the fabric is made. The alternative is piece dying. This is when there are only natural yarns in a fabric, both warp and weft. This is a less expensive way to manufacture fabric. The fabric can then be dyed into a color in fabric form, or made into a garment and then dyed into a color. This process is called garment dying.
Which brings us to Marc Allison Jeans; most manufactures, including premium jean manufactures will garment dye jeans. It is cost affective. The jean company can produce thousands of jeans, and keep them in natural. The sales staff can show a multitude of colors to the retailers, and based on the orders the company can dye the natural garment into the colors sold with out worry of inventory. Though this is good for the company, in my opinion it is not ideal for the consumer.
When jeans are garment dyed the color looks flat, and boring. There is no character to the jean.
I prefer a technique we use, and though it is very expensive, it gives life to a Marc Allison Jean. First the indigo is dyed on the yarn (dye #1). In the final process of dying we add a sulfur black on top of the indigo (dye #2). We then manufacture a dark denim jean. The garment is brought to the wash house, and a percentage of that beautiful indigo is bleached down to give a blotchy look to the wash. This is followed by dying a color (browns, burgundies, greens, etc) on the garment (dye #3). The end result is a beautiful three dimensional look to a garment. As mentioned before most premium jean companies won’t use this process due to cost. At Marc Allison Jeans cost is never a factor.”