Over the years we have received a lot of inquiries about what’s the actual difference between raw denim jeans and dark blue wash jeans.
Raw denim is unwashed and has never been exposed to any kind of treatment. All denim starts as raw denim. Technically speaking, once the denim hits water, it is no longer considered raw.
Dark blue jeans, on the other hand, have already gone through some kind of washing process.
The main difference between raw and dark blue denim – besides the obvious look – is the fit. Raw denim products are going to shrink one or two sized when first washed. On the other hand, dark blue denim which has already undergone some kind of treatment will more likely continue to fit true to size.
This said, in the end it’s only up to you which way you want to go. If you are a dedicated denim head and prefer to start off with a pair of rigid and stiff jeans, then your option is to go for the raw denim. The purpose is that you will wear the jeans in yourself to make them your own. This could mean months, if not years, until you achieve the desired worn in and well loved look. Depending on how often you wear your jeans and how long you are able to hold off washing them. We recommend – as mentioned above – to upsize when you buy raw jeans.
Pre- shrunk, or sanforized, jeans are for you if you don’t have the patience to wear in your jeans. But even so, if they are in a very dark and saturated blue, you can absolutely still make them your own, just with a head-start. And also, the jeans may still shrink a bit when you first wash them, but the shrinkage will be minimal. You can buy the pre-washed jeans in your regular size.
Scroll down and check out some options for raw and dark wash jeans.
RAW DENIN JEANS
Levi’s 501 Original Cropped Women’s Jeans ($168)
Everlane Men’s Slim Fit Jeans ($78)
Madewell Men’s Slim Rigid Jeans in Raw Indigo ($110)
DARK BLUE JEANS
Mott & Bow High Rise Skinny Jeans ($108)
Lee Reissue Rigid All-Purpose Blue Jeans ($175)
Nudie Dark Denim Lean Dean Slim-Fit Jeans ($185)