We’re thinking of that red, white and blue stripe running down the outside of the cuff. If it looks familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it running down the outer cuff of a few hundred pairs of raw denim jeans, looking something like this.
Of course, there were industrial reasons for that stripe (specifically, the red thread that marks the edge of a sheet of denim), and this is just a trick of style. But as tricks go, it’s a pretty good one.
Raleigh Denim jeans have been a fixture at Barneys for a while, thanks to an unusually patient approach to craft, but by our lights all that loom and dye work looks even better without the indigo.
This pair of jeans swaps dark blue for a clay color, resulting in the whiskey-drinking cousin of the Nantucket Red. It’s made from selvedge canvas denim and hand-stamped, so it should still be rugged enough to justify the boutique price tag. You’ll still want to try out all those raw denim tricks, but all those wear patterns will be working themselves out on a new backdrop.
This bit of raw denim got us thinking. As with most high-end jeans, the main selling point here is the material: the finest Japanese denim, guaranteed keep getting better for decades to come.
Since the fabric warps to fit your body, there isn’t much point in bragging about the cut or the skills of the designer. What you’re buying is the fabric; everything else is secondary. It’s an attention to material you don’t see much outside of bespoke houses, but by now it’s second nature to the streetwear crowd.
It’s tough to say what luxury looks like during hard times, but it’s a question fashion houses are going to have to answer one way or another. We’ve got a few ideas ourselves—most notably this one—but we imagine the Louis Vuitton folks have smarter minds than us working on this one as we speak.
The Choosy Beggar just weighed in with an answer we can get behind: sturdier, more durable clothes to last through whatever comes our way. This is what raw denim was reaching for, and it might be the only thing that would get modern consumers to drop serious money on clothing again. But after 15 years of churning out disposable duds, are labels ready to think long term?
In a few weeks—that's May 4th, for the curious—the fine folks at A.P.C. are trotting out a new denim style called the Petit Standard, and we thought we’d take a closer look. It’s got a lot of what you’ve come to expect from the brand: five pockets, slim hips, narrow legs that pull in at the bottom to keep things looking straight—all in the dark raw denim they’ve made their name on.
The Petit Standard lowers the waist a little, so you can tuck in without feeling too buttoned-up. Since it’s raw, you should expect the usual training period, but that wouldn’t faze a die-hard denimhead like you.
If you work at it, you should have them broken in by next summer.