5 Raw Jeans for Beginners

In the past few years, raw denim has become quite popular. Jeans have been a must-have item for decades, but before denim worked its way into everyday fashion, jeans were only produced unwashed, dry, and raw.

These days, denim manufacturers are getting back to their roots, producing denim as bulletproof and raw as the workwear of yore. But with the raw denim market getting so big, one has to ask:

“Where is the best place to start when getting into raw denim?”

For those who are just learning about raw denim, we recommend that your first jeans be unfussy, easy jeans to break-in and wear. They should also be as comfortable as possible, since they will more than likely become a second skin.

There are many more than just these five options to choose from, but if you want to begin your journey into the world of raw denim, check out these suggestions if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

1. Unbranded 101 Indigo Skinny – $82

beginners_unbranded_1

Unbranded was created to serve those who were eager to enter the raw denim world but unable to due to the price of a typical pair. The copper-top hardware is unbranded, the leather patch is blank, and there is no extraneous sewing anywhere.

beginners_unbranded_2

The UB101 is the slimmest fitting denim among all the Unbranded models, but not to the point of being skin tight. Be sure to check out their Tapered and Straight cuts if you like the details but want a different fit.

See how they can evolve and fade with some of our Fade Fridays.

Details

  • Name: Unbranded 101
  • Denim: Sanforized, 100% Cotton Japanese Selvedge Raw Denim
  • Weight: 14.5 Oz.
  • Fit: Skinny straight
  • Other Details:
    • Chain-stitched hem
    • Rope-dyed indigo denim
    • Blank buttons, rivets and leather patch
    • Two-tone stitching
  • Available for $82

2. Naked & Famous Weird Guy Indigo Selvedge – $135

beginners_nakedfamous_3

Love ‘em or hate ‘em for it, Naked & Famous has a knack for out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to raw denim. While this tends to draw the ire of many pretentious seasoned denim-heads, their basic jeans are still some of the most reasonably-priced, low-maintenance jeans on the market. This makes them a fine candidate as entry-level raws.

beginners_nakedfamous_

The Weird Guy Indigo Selvedge jeans are made from Japanese selvedge denim and taper slightly through the leg. They feature tonal stitching and a selvedge coin pocket.

Details

  • Name: Naked & Famous Weird Guy Indigo Selvedge
  • Denim: Sanforized, 100% Cotton Japanese Selvedge Raw Denim
  • Weight: 13 Oz.
  • Fit: Low-rise, tapered leg
  • Other Details:
    • Tonal stitching
    • Selvedge coin pocket
    • Made in Canada
  • Available for $135

3. Williamsburg Garment Co. Grand Street – $160

beginners_williamsburg_black

If you prefer your jeans on the skinnier side, Williamsburg Garment Co. is your best bet for a reasonably-priced black raw jean with a dramatic taper through the knee and calf.

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The Grand Street Raw jean is constructed from durable 13 oz. non-selvedge denim and features a five-pocket styling so you know they’re officially no-frills. There’s not even a logo patch on the waistband. Check out our full review of the Grand Street for more info.

Details

  • Name: Williamsburg Garment Co. Grand Street Raw
  • Denim: 100% Cotton Raw Denim
  • Weight: 13 Oz.
  • Fit: Mid-rise, tapered leg
  • Other Details:
    • Minimal styling
    • Unique coing pocket
  • Available for $160

4. A.P.C. New Standard – $185

beginners_apc_1

In the 1980s, when denim was being bleached, acid-washed and dyed every shade of fluorescent, Jean Touitou created a classic jean inspired by Levi’s iconic 501 model, audaciously naming his creation the New Standard.

beginners_apc_2

Touitou kept his jeans dyed in deep indigo and unwashed so the consumer could do with their jeans what he or she wished, and over two decades later, the A.P.C. New Standard is that same perfectly-proportioned, clean and raw jean.

See how they break in and fade here.

Details

  • Name: A.P.C. New Standard
  • Denim: 100% Cotton Selvedge Raw Denim
  • Weight: 12 Oz.
  • Fit: Slim straight
  • Other Details:
    • Minimal styling
    • No leather patch
    • APC branded buttons and rivets
  • Available for $185

5. Left Field Cone White Oak Greaser Jean – $180

beginners_leftfield_1

Left Field claims that their jeans are “tougher than steel,” and on top of being brutally tough, they are also 100% American-made. From the denim itself, which is woven in North Carolina at Cone Mills’ White Oak Plant, to the construction itself, the Greaser Jeans are conceived and born in the United States.

beginners_leftfield_2

The fit is an easy slim-straight, not too tight and not too loose, so they can be worn with boots, sneakers or anything in between, and at $180 they won’t punch you in the wallet.

Details

  • Name: Left Field NYC Greaser Jeans
  • Denim: Sanforized, 100% Cotton Selvedge Denim from Cone Mills
  • Weight: 13 Oz.
  • Fit: Slim-straight
  • Other Details:
    • American-made Scovill tack button fly
    • Universal rivets
    • Bandana pocketbags
  • Available for $180
Sam

Sam

North Carolina bred. Whiskey. Books. Rock n' Roll. Raw denim.

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  • Grazfather x

    Totally called the N&F WG Indigo being on there. They’re $135 most shops I have seen them, though. I wish they were heavier height; I was surprised unbranded had them beat.

    • stizzle

      Naked and Famous owns Unbranded…

      • Grazfather x

        Yes I know. I mean I am surprised unbranded (being cheaper) uses a heavier denim.

        • Altoclefchris

          Well, weight isn’t everything…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003326974874 Kyle Brooks Robinson

    I’d add 3Sixteen’s SL-100X to the list. At just over $200 they’re slighty more expensive than some of these, but IMO the quality and denim is a lot better than the likes of N&F or APC. The denim is really nice and soft but fades well, a little easier to start on than sandpaper-like heavyweight denim (I’m looking at you, my Samurai S710s.)

    The Left Field Greaser is an awesome pair though, I got my raw denim virgin younger bro a pair for his birthday earlier this year, and he loves them. Great quality and styling, they’re my favorite out of this bunch.

    • dude

      Couldn’t agree more. 3Sixteens are quite possibly one of the best made in the usa denim around, currently. Left Field being on that list as well. I’d also recommend, levi’s lvc, roy denim or rogue territory for relatively low-priced, well-constructed denim, made proudly in the USA.

      • MHG

        I can’t support Levi raw denim. Roy, I’d recommend and for summer, Rogue Territory is the bomb. I bought a pair of 3sixteens and a pair of APCs. 3sixteen is a tricky mistress. Some days the jeans are so tight it cuts off my circulation. Other days people (women) think the jeans are the sexiest thing in the world. The problem is that despite my very small size, the cotton has stretched on my thighs. I’m kind of worried about ripping or long-term thread damage, so I won’t be getting skinny jeans again. That’s mainly want turns me away from Acne.

      • Altoclefchris

        Roy for low priced? hah.

  • Hardware

    if you’re REALLY strapped and REALLY aren’t sold on the selvedge, you can try the Converse Selvege denim at $40. They’re a great starter pair if you dont have any shops around you.

  • Davil

    Levis 501 STF’s??? selvedge or not…

  • chewBACA

    I’ve been wearing unbranded 201s every day for about 2 months now, just to get a test pair going and see what works during the fading process. I have to say I’m surprised at how well they’ve hed up so far, the fit works really well and the selvage denim they use is great for the price. I also feel like the weight of 14.5 oz is well balanced and thick enough to get the desired contrast, while not being overly uncomfortable on a beginner.

  • orpickaname

    hu… Non selvedge Nudies? 501 STF’s? LVC 67 505’s? Albam’s? Norse Projects? Edwins? Carhartt WIP’s?
    not to mention that if it wasnt for the lame ass distribution many Japanese brands have., Jeans couldwould reach europeans and americans at reasonable prices! for evidence see the highway robbery that is to get some s710xx in non Japanese stores compared to original distribution price in Japan?????
    some has to say it!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003326974874 Kyle Brooks Robinson

      It’s true. But the reason why jeans like Samurai are expensive outside of Japan isn’t just because of the strong yen, but because shipping large volumes of jeans from Japan to places like Blue in Green or DC4 is very expensive for the stores, and they have to make up for that cost in their overall pricing. It’s one of those reasons I’m glad to be a denim nerd who lives in Japan…

      • opickaname

        ok. i can relate to your point. it is somewhat true, but i still stand behind the idea that some japanese brands are just doing this on purpose. how can a pair of SC 1947s leave japan at a cost of roughly 100€ and reach europe at 300£????

  • dlaz

    i like the inner for the pockets on that leftfield!

  • gray

    surprised you havent mentioned united stock jeans…they are top notch for fabric, fit and price…also selvedge…rock it

  • RapGameTaylorSwift

    Isn’t the APC New Standard 14 oz and 100% Cotton Japanese Selvedge Raw Denim?

    • dude

      Nope. It hasn’t been for quite a while now.

  • Vince

    Alot of people start off with some dry nudies but the reason may be that its one of the popular brands out there. kids these days get nudies for the brand name rather than the respect for raw denim fades

    • kh

      is not a raw denim fade obsession to you, no less superficial than their brand-whoring?

      it should be about the material, craftsmanship, ethical labor practices, environmentalism, and the people that make them.

  • http://twitter.com/BandannaAlmanac Jon Lukacek

    The yoke on those left field jeans looks terrible, straight across? The unbranded ones are the only respectable pair in this lot.

    • dude

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the yoke on the left-fields, but then again you just called the unbranded denim respectable… i’m less inclined to take your comment seriously.

      • http://twitter.com/BandannaAlmanac Jon Lukacek

        There’s nothing wrong if you want to look like you’re shaped like a cube.

      • RRL CLOTHING

        You just said 3sixteen is respectable. You’re either an idiot or a complete noob when it comes to raw denim. The denim used in unbranded is better quality, sourced from Japan and fades nicer than anything 3sixteen makes. Oh but it’s made in China! I guess the sweatshops out in LA are held to a “higher” standard. Keep deluding yourself.

        You want the BEST USA made jeans? None other than RRL slim fit rigids

        • Patchouli guy

          I agree, RRL is very nice

  • Pingback: From The Levi's Archives – The 201 Jeans | RawrDenim.com | 201

  • slyman

    anyone know what shoes the guy is wearing with the unbranded jeans?

    • http://www.rawrdenim.com Rawr Denim

      Yes, those are Keds Champion Chukka – http://ow.ly/fLh6C

      • slyman

        awesome thanks

  • Thomas Keating

    Hey, I was wondering if there were any options a little bit cheaper than Left Field’s Oak Greaser that still had the same type of fit? I like the slim straight in this one compared to the Naked and Famous which is tighter in the thigh then flares out and I don’t like the “stacking” I suppose it is, on the Unbranded Jeans. Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=627580191 Darren N Wang

    i actually prefer the likes of n&f and APC over samurais or iron hearts. back pocket stitching is a huge turn-off.

  • Pingback: http://www.rawrdenim.com/2012/11/5-raw-jeans-for-beginners/ | indieclothing1malaysia

  • Trevor Hsu

    I like how his name is Jean Touitou. Get it, Jeans? Classic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthewpadora Matt Ryan Padora

    I’ve been wearing the N&F weird guys for about 6 months now, love them. Only issue is that they aren’t as tight as I’m used to (I wonder how that will change after the first wash/and I want to hem them so there isn’t that much fabric rolled – I’m really short so I fold them up maybe 7 times.) I think my next pair might be those Williamsburgs. Price and fit seems attractive.

  • Donny Ek

    i really love unbranded. it’s my first raw denim too!

  • cs

    Finding raw denim in size 42-44 is kind of a challenge. Anybody know any brands that carry them?

    • Johnson Benjamin

      A young company called Blue Delta Jeans may be able to help you.

  • Lee Ford

    It is amazing how some people on here are so up themselves with regards to other peoples tastes. So what if someone prefers Unbranded over A.P.C or any other brand, everyone has different tastes. Also some of us are led by price too, calling someone ‘an idiot or a complete noob’ is insulting and uncalled for. We’ve all at some time bought our first pair of selvedge denim, so at some point we were all new to it. Have some respect for others, and stop being so high and mighty over denim. Rant over.
    Personally I’ve several pairs of Unbranded in all styles, plus several pairs of Levi’s Vintage and a pair of Edwin’s. I find they all have their pros and cons, with prices from between £60 to £250. But for pure value for money, the Unbranded win hands down, great weight, great colour and well constructed. Most importantly they look great on and wear extremely well.

  • trehsu

    Williamsburg and A.P.C. all the way. They both have fits that I like. I own a pair of Slim guys from Naked and Famous and I havn’t been impressed.

  • Chet56

    I’m still a Levi’s guy. I’ve had many pairs of various cuts over the years, have several pairs of different cuts now, but if someone said I had to wear only 501 STFs forevermore, I’d be fine with that.