In our latest Q&A for Primer Magazine we discuss the "affordable" raw and selvedge denim options currently on the market. I’m a big fan of Imogene + Willie’s jeans, especially the classic Willie Rigid. While I’d love to support a local business (I’m in Nashville) and I don’t doubt their quality, the price at $250 is holding me back a bit. Do you have any recommendations for something similar that won’t set me back so much? – Brad B.
Ahh, the great denim dilemma. Where to find high quality selvedge/raw/dry– the stuff that feels like cardboard at first but will wear in and mold to your body quite nicely over time–at bargain prices. I admit to not being a denim expert. In fact I only own one pair of jeans. I much prefer other versions of trousers, but there are plenty of denim heads out there who wear and swear by the stuff. In that case you may find it difficult to find a good pair made of the best denim (usually from Japan) at less than $250. Many options go for over $300 and a bespoke jeans from Brown, Deim will run you over $500. Fear not my friend. There are plenty of options for the sub $250 market and we’re here to explore them.
A brick and mortar shop located in Richmond, VA with an online store front which exclusively sells independent labels from the US and abroad. Need Supply carries several high end and lesser known denim brands like A.P.C, Ruell and Ray, Naked and Famous and others ranging from $40 to $300. Fits are offered in slim, straight, and relaxed and raw denim is available as well.
GAP The GAP is another resource for selvedge denim. GAP options come in one color and fit that sits at the waist, straight through the thigh and has a tapered leg. At less than $90 it’s a strong entry level consideration.
An online store front which offers a full range of apparel and several denim options from $148-$345. Most of the brands are independently owned and/or manufactured in the USA or Japan. Pick your poison from Momotaro, Jean Shop, Kapital, Left Field, and The Stronghold. To sweeten the pot Context also offers free shipping.
The ubiquitous collaborator offers several selvedge options from their in house label to their exclusive partnerships. Fits and washes vary across the board. The in-house label comes in a slim-straight (slim) and 484 (slimmest) fits. Washes range from dark solid to washed out white. Partnership offerings come from Wallace and Barnes, Levi’s, Lee, and Chimala. Prices range from $155-$350.
Gustin is a newcomer to the denim world but have been manufacturing men’s apparel for the last six years. Their denim is hand crafted in San Francisco, crowd sourced amongst your peers, and sold at wholesale prices. $81 to be exact. Gustin is wrapping up their exceedingly successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their denim project.