My Foray Into Raw Denim – Fades, Fits, & Lesson Learned

My First Raw Denim - Julian Reds

My First Raw Denim - Julian Reds

Me: “Raw denim is what?”

Response: “Yeah, you wear them for months and don’t wash them, and you can get crazy fades!”

After graduating from High School, I took a trip to Hong Kong with a friend where I was introduced to this mysterious, god-like fabric known as raw denim. It came as a shock to me as my previous experience with denim was with more common, pre-washed and distressed jeans from brands such as Diesel, Replay, and (I admit) True Religion.

I’ll be honest that I had little desire to make the switch until one day I stumbled across my friend looking at denim online. Though he was reluctant at first to let me in on the goods, he eventually gave in.

I quickly learned about and was enamoured with the process, the culture, and most all, the results. The photographic results some people had achieved blew me away. To be a bit more specific though, I was instantly drawn in by two factors:

  1. Fades – Never before had I seen such natural looking contrasts between blues and whites, along with honeycombs sharp enough to shave with.
  2. Fit – With so many denim brands being available, there seemed to be cuts for all body shapes and sizes.

After some research, I eventually settled on my first pair of raw denim jeans – Julian Red Jeans California (note: the photos below are not mine and courtesy of Funkaoshi).


  • Name: Julian Red Jeans California
  • Weight: 12 Oz.
  • Fit: Medium rise, tapered leg
Photos (source: Funkaoshi)
Julian Reds Jean Raw Denim
Julian Reds Jean Raw Denim
Julian Reds Jean Raw Denim

Julian Red California Jeans Raw Denim

Julian Red California Jeans Raw Denim

Though they served me admirably and were a great entry-level denim, I soon discovered I needed to delve into other makes & models of raw denim.  For instance, I soon with my favorite pair being my Samurai Jeans 710s, which were featured on one of our Fade Friday‘s a few months ago.

So what are some of my lessons learned?  Two pieces of advice I would give to anyone starting to get into raw denim:

  1. Be Patient – Good things come to those who wait. Obsessing over your denim isn’t going to make them wear-in better or create better fades!
  2. Relax – A lot of people fuss about their raw denim.  But remember, they’re just jeans and it’s all about the journey.  Refrain from washing for six months, but over time wear ’em and wash them as you see fit. You don’t need to follow a specific schedule or start doing new activities (sadly, I was a culprit of this). One day you might just be surprised at the results.

How you were introduced to raw denim? What was your first pair and experience like?

Stay Raw!

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After being introduced to the world of raw denim in 2005, Jian quickly became enthralled with the process, culture, and of course, results. As a contributor to, he shares his experiences & insights thus far.

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  • Sean Slater

    Hey Jian, welcome back, man!

  • Sean Slater

    Hey Jian, welcome back, man!

  • guest

    Nice post!

  • Mike

    I think the 6 months thing is a bit of a myth, personally.  If they need washing before 6 months, by all means, do it.  But everyone does it their own way, so who am I to judge?

    • Roy Klaassen

      Good point. Moreover, the time before fading becomes visible varies around brands, fabric, etc. In my opinion, you should soak or wash your jeans whenever you think it’s needed.

  • Edward Jack

    Ive been freezing mine to keep the any sort of smell out of them. I’m actually new in the raw denim “scene” or culture. Right now I’m about 3 months into a pair of APC and the Oni/N&F collab, l love the uniqueness of wearing in a pair of jeans to fit me, just picked up a pair of N&F/Flat Head collab excited to start with them! 

    • Rawr Denim

      @twitter-21377589:disqus That’s awesome to hear and great choices on the denim. Let us know how they come along!

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