A thought struck me today as I mulled around with my book, in a cafe. “What defines the denim aficionado?”. So I figured the easiest way to go about this would be to think through the steps when one purchases denim. Gone are the days when quality denim was defined by a selvage line. If you have a friend that tells you selvage defines quality, he probably still lives in the same era when we rode horses to work instead of cars.
Picking out a pair of jeans these days is an incredibly arduous task! With so many brands and types of fabrics, most would be swept away by the choices and wouldn’t know where to start. Now I firmly do not believe in going by brand alone in deciding your next denim purchase. A company may move it’s manufacturing to a different country, choose a lower quality cotton, work out of a sweatshop to cut costs. That being said, its important to have a trustworthy friend who knows what he/she is talking about when it comes to denim.
So I believe a denim purist should be able to tell almost instantaneously whether the fabric he/she has just scrutinized and felt was of good quality or not. These are the basic things a self proclaimed “denim expert” should know. Through touch, you should be able to ascertain the kind of cotton the denim uses. If the weight was given, you should instantly understand the strength and durability of the fabric. If the weight was not given, one could easily guess accurately. By sight, you should be confident enough to spot the twill, the color of the core, the slubbiness of the denim and what it all entails. By looking at the uniformity, you should know whether the fabric is sanforized or unsanforized. The cut could be an indication of the quality of the construction as well.
I, however, am not satisfied with just knowing all of these. Perhaps one day, I would like to spot the differences between natural and synthetic dye, of double ring spun and one and a half ring spun, of an extremely high quality stitch and a good quality stitch. Until that day comes, I would not consider myself a purist, rather a humble enthusiast.
Credits for the picture: retaildesignblog.net, tenue de nimes.