i love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim – Review

Leather Patch -  i love ugly

Leather Patch – i love ugly

Lately, the masses (read “Rawr Denim commenters”) have been calling for brands to take a more unique and interesting approach when designing raw denim. Unexpectedly, terms such as “slim-straight”, “13-14Oz.” and “Made in the USA” have ceased to tickle the fancy of raw denim consumers, leading denim brands to stray from the beaten path and follow the road less travelled.

New Zealand based menswear brand, i love ugly, have forged their reputation in the fashion industry through avoiding the beaten path. Specifically, they’ve answered the call in the form of their Japanese Selvedge denim released as part of their May 2013 collection.

i love ugly were generous enough to send us a pair of their first raw denim offering. After a couple of weeks of wear, they have definitely left an impression.

Front and Back Fit - i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim

Front and Back Fit – i love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim


  • Name: i love ugly Japanese Selvedge Denim
  • Weight: 12 oz.
  • Fit: Tapered fit
  • Denim: Japanese selvedge denim
  • Further Details:
    • Osaka lining
    • Custom embossed button fly “when nothing goes right go left”
    • Genuine leather patch “i love ugly denim – made to wear”
    • Back pocket loop
    • Coin pocket on right side
    • Pen pocket on left side
    • Embossed rivets
    • Triple stitched cross hem
  • Available at: i love ugly for $220.00 NZD ($180.00 USD)


For their first pair of raw denim jeans, i love ugly chose to work with a fairly lightweight (but considerate of the humid New Zealand climate) 12 oz. Japanese selvedge denim in a color that is somewhere between grey-caste and black.

Whilst not being woven by any notable mill, the denim feels surprisingly crisp for it’s 12 oz. weight and has a tight-weave with little to no stretch in the fabric, indicating that the denim is still of good quality. The denim softened up considerably over the first few wears indicating that the break-in period for this pair of jeans will be a short and stress-free one.

The only negative aspect within the denim category came when I turned the jeans inside out – i love ugly‘s failure to iron flat the selvedge seam was an extremely disappointing detail.

Side Fit - i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim

Side Fit – i love ugly Raw Selvedge Denim


Although the fit of these jeans was subject to an immense amount of scrutiny in the comment section of our previous feature, in my opinion it compliments the wearer.

I’ll start from the top and work my way down. Whilst some denim wearers would see this fit as “drop-crotch”, I interpreted the jeans as having an extremely high rise (12″ at the front) and this really appealed to me – no longer did I spend my days pulling my jeans up from below my crotch.

The relaxed fit around the knees and thighs makes the upper half of these jeans extremely comfortable and although this may lead to relatively weak whiskering up top, the 12 Oz. weight doesn’t promise any extreme contrast fades anyway.

Going below the knee is where my gripes start. Measured after a couple of wears, the jeans taper to a tiny 6″ leg opening and never did I have an easy time removing these jeans. In fact, on the first wear I rolled and tugged my way around my bedroom for an agonizing 8 minutes before I got my right leg out (at one point I swore never to put them on again).

While it would have been nice for i love ugly to have offered these jeans on a number based system with varying inseams, this wouldn’t have made sense considering their history of sizing their bottoms using a S, M, L, XL system.

ILU Japanese Selvedge Denim. Osaka lining, size badge and un-ironed selvedge seam

Osaka lining, size badge and un-ironed selvedge seam


The hardware on the i love ugly raw denim jeans is where the fun begins. Noticeable from the rest of their collection, i love ugly has an extremely active design team who have made a pair of denim that is jam-packed with features. The lining that graces the inner-waistband, leg piping and pocketbags is comprised of many Japanese inspired symbols, and gives the jeans unique character and streetwear appeal.

Other details include buttons embossed with one of i love ugly’s inspirational quotes (“when nothing goes right, go left.”), logo embossed rivets, an awesome leather patch, front left pen pocket (which is, ironically, too shallow to fit a pen) and a denim loop on the rear pocket. These are all aesthetically pleasing touches, though I would’ve liked to see a higher emphasis on function over form.

The inclusion of spare buttons and rivets in the packaging is also a thoughtful and useful addition.


i love ugly has done an impressive job on the construction of these jeans – something that is often lacking in a company’s first venture into denim.  The lack of loose buttons and missed stitches gives the impression that these jeans will more than live up to the urban beating that their target market will throw at them.

However, by no means could these be classified as work wear. The lack of a chainstitched hem is something that only a denim head will notice.


With all said and done, i love ugly has done an impressive job designing and constructing these jeans. Hopefully this is an indication that other raw denim offerings are in the pipeline as we would love to see more from this New Zealand brand.


Harry is a fixie rider, brother of three, full-time student and an Instagram addict. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Follow his daily activity: @harryross_

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  • Blu Recipe

    I honestly disagree with most negative comments in previous review. Of course, there are some points they def need to fix (chain-stitched hem, flat ironed inseam) but I really enjoy watching new developments with premium denim. I have most of my premiums tapered to a 7-8″ foot opening, as I prefer that look more. I respect the vintage work-wear and their fits but in a denim world where everybody seems too busy re-inventing an iconic product, it is a nice relief every now and then to see more modern styles.

    • I Spy

      I can’t see any of the “negative comments” that you are referring too? The article says that they like the fit and the new take on raw denim. In fact it doesn’t even negate the fact that the jeans aren’t inspired by vintage workwear – it merely states it as fact.

      • Blu Recipe

        I Spy just a few. Personal opinions but negative comments nonetheless. And I was not linking the negative comments posted to any work-wear related issues concerning the jeans. That’s just an additional comment on my behalf.

        Vinyl Scratch
        15 days ago
        Between the zipper, awkward
        sizing, light weight, helter-skelter construction and unflattering fit
        pics, these jeans appear to be one huge mess (especially at that price
        point! $220 for shoddy jeans? Seriously??). I suppose you truly would
        have to love “ugly” to buy a pair of these.

        15 days ago
        What an incredibly awful fit. Also I have a feeling these Beijing skills denim craftsmen were simply children.

        Ryan Chinaski
        14 days ago
        what a joke. chinese made garbage. even the sizing is wack. small, medium, and large? with a 32 inch inseam?


        • growe13

          “Chinese Made Garbage”

          So I guess Chinese goods are garbage, and merely being produced anywhere else makes it better? ALL chinese goods are now sweatshop made? Being lightweight is a sin (who the hell is going to wear 20oz. in +110 degrees F)? Ha. Come on.

          • Blu Recipe

            actually, I am wearing a 21oz. Red Cloud made in china denim now in Dongguan, subtropic south of China … 😀

          • Grandier

            i wish i have the same endurance as you do, i’ve been wanting to get Iron Heart Beatle Buster here in Singapore, but i can’t get past how stuffy and stiff it is even when i’m walking inside the store!

        • I Spy

          I was referring to the review itself – as i assumed you were when you said that you disagree with the negative comments made in the review.

          • Blu Recipe

            well no, I meant the comment section below the review. Glad we sorted that out 😉

  • Devan Prithipaul

    I like this new review system, it seems more honest. And the picture of the jeans alone compared to the fit look very much different. The jeans look very drop crotch, but in the fit it’s not that noticeable. They aren’t terrible looking after all.

    • Heh

      Shut up

    • pretty paul

      cool story my brother!!!

    • Vinyl Scratch

      Agreed. While I still wouldn’t say they’re at the point of quality where they’d be worth that price, they’re not quite as bad as I originally believed in the last feature.

    • Slacker

      Hey RawrDenim, ban this idiot’s IP address from all further comments!
      These sort of derogatory remarks should not be tolerated under any circumstances!!!!

      • http://www.thefacingpage.com Connor

        We’re working on it. This sort of thing isn’t something we’re okay with and we’re working to make sure it stops.

  • olalala

    As much as I love new ideas and inventions, street inspired denim are never even considered real raw denim by denimheads
    They are just another cult side of the high end wannabe products

    • growe13

      I am a denimhead, and I like street-inspo designs, and do consider it a brand. Street-inspo is another form of lifestyle clothing, which is what drives the denim craze atm.

      Please, please, please be more constructive. It isn’t productive to rash on a product without a hint of validity.

      • olalala

        you just dont call yourself denimhead by owning some nudie or naked and famous
        real denim is not a lifestyle clothing, its a workwear of heritage

        and please i am being really constructive, trying to draw a line between real raw denim and fashion/street inspired raw denim.
        Its just pathetic seeing a lot of ‘devans’ supporting things without knowing the true heritage and value of raw denim itself

        Go try some vintage levis, denime, skull, etc and we’ll talk later

        • rly

          It’s a pair of jeans, who gives a shit.

          • Vinyl Scratch

            You’re on the wrong site, friend.

        • Devan Prithipaul

          heyy I know the heritage of denim, i know where it came from, what it used to be but we can’t just all be moping around wishing how things were in the old days, you have to move forward my friend. in moving forward you can go back to the “heritage denim”, iron heart, full count, things like that, or you can innovate, samurai, n&f, oni, i don’t think one is better than the other, they both have upsides and downsides, i agree that you should know the true heritage of denim, and honestly i don’t like how something that was meant for the “lower” class, ended up becoming a huge fashion stunt, i find it disrespectful, it would be like making balmain turbans.

          • olalala

            by heritage denim, you are refering to iron heart and fullcount
            and by innovative denim, you are refering to samurai, n&f, oni
            no offense but your comparison are RETARDED AS FUCK!!!
            at least get your facts straight before even commenting, its just ironic that most people reading rawrdenim are nubies in the raw denim world itself

          • Grandier

            i’m sorry, i didn’t realize that expert knowledge and masteries of denim are required to read articles on rawrdenim. perhaps you can show me the 10-commandments of raw denim so i can call myself a denimhead to your standard?

            i mean, i admit i don’t have much in-depth knowledge of raw denim (‘shamefully’, my first raw denim is a pair of Nudie and now wearing a pair of N&F), but by reading the articles here i learned a lot about raw denim both the ‘heritage’ and the ‘innovative’ kinds, the history and more. it’s always something new for some people.

          • Harry

            I don’t think that there’s anything “shameful” about that. Nobody buys a Ferrari as their first car and hell, most people never even drive one in their life. Likewise in the raw denim market.

          • Devan Prithipaul

            I actually think my comparisons are fair, but brother I think you’ve missed what this whole thing is about, raw denim isn’t a religion and you’re really treating it like one, with all these rules, facts, and elitism. Raw denim is so fluid, it changes from person to person. For someone it could be nostalgia, heritage, fashion or art, I simply stated my opinion, don’t get so riled up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnsonlb Johnson Benjamin

    I like the look of that material a lot. Am I missing someing, or can you not click on these photos for a larger view?

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

      Sorry Johnson, we currently just have the photos as-is, but this will be changing very soon.

      • http://www.facebook.com/johnsonlb Johnson Benjamin

        Oh okay. Thanks for the reply! Id love to take a closer look at your Post pictures.

  • kennydoggyu

    Honestly, these have bad cuts and fits. They’re too expensive for a jeans that are using regular Jap selvage fabric. This could pass of selling in flea markets.

  • marnuc

    I’m interested on this pair of jeans, I like the fit by your pics but didnt like the original press pictures. How about sizing Im used to wear 34 in waist, which size would it be in this pair?

    • Harry Ross

      You would be fine in the waist of a size Medium (32-34). But I usually wear a size 30 and a medium was too tight on my calves for my liking. Hope that helps.

  • shak

    The leg opening is too small. Id prefer 6.5″ the least. I ordered them and I can’t them over my feet!