Crossing The Line – Fake Selvedge Denim

Crossing The Line - Fake Selvedge Denim

It’s safe to say that for many denim enthusiasts, the devil is in the details. We appreciate the intricacies of a well-crafted piece of clothing, one in which the creator has spent time considering the product design before putting his or her own spin on it. A manifestation of this passion for details can be seen in the trend of rolling up the cuffs of a nice pair of denim.

Wherever you fall on this decades-old trend — is it still a trend? We’re thinking it may be here to stay — one potential reason for rolling up the cuffs is to place the selvedge line on public display. As stated, many enthusiasts are suckers for great details, and the selvedge line has become a standout marker or symbol of craftsmanship and detailing for many denim enthusiasts worldwide. To be sure, selvedge denim does not always equal a solid denim, but it has become a denim status-marker nonetheless.

I’ll admit (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) that when I shop around at brick-and-mortar stores, I roll up the cuffs of each piece of denim that catches my eye. This is not to say that I snobbishly turn up my nose and glide the other way if a piece is not selvedge: it’s just a habit and something I enjoy doing. It also recently led to an interesting discovery as you’ll see in exhibits A and B below.

Faking Selvedge Lines

Exhibits A and B: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Notice anything fishy? If you don’t, take a closer look at the stitching. See it now? That’s right, these particular manufacturers have actually sewn a separate red thread right up the middle of the white projectile stitching in one case and simply through the middle of the leftover denim in the other. As far as I can tell, this red thread has no function. I turned the jeans every which way, giving the makers the benefit of the doubt, but to no avail: this was not a selvedge denim.

Now I’m not going to blast these particular brands for false advertising because they’re not even remotely alone. The following photographs document the same imitations from another two brands, showing that this is no one-off mistake within the denim industry.

CTL3 pixlr

CTL4 pixlr

In these examples, you’ll notice that the brands go as far as to use tonal stitching to cause the projectile stitch to fade into the background and showcase what appears to be the contrast weft from a piece of selvedge denim.

Now, I have nothing against projectile looms or the products they produce, nor do I exclusively own selvedge denim. This article is definitely not an outing of the brands that have jumped onto this fashion bandwagon – though they all are major manufacturers whose product are sold in department stores – and they do not claim that these pairs of denim are selvedge.

What I find nefarious about this tactic is that it plays upon the unwitting consumer who may think he or she is buying some form of selvedge denim. I know what you’re thinking: if someone hasn’t done the homework necessary to figure out the difference, he gets what he deserves to a certain degree (in this case, a healthy hit to the wallet).

While to a certain extent I agree, we’d like to show the fact that this is out there such that some newcomers to the selvedge denim world can shop fore-warned. That’s what this site is here for. So, be sure to pay close attention next time you’re out there shopping around, and don’t be fooled by pretenders. The details definitely do matter.

Jon Dalley

Jon is crazy about books, music, movies, motorcycles, and, of course, raw denim. He contends that the best method of breaking in a pair of raw denim is to ride a Triumph Bonneville T100 hard and often. Check out his newest blog project at www.hipofftheoldblock.wordpress.com

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  • RRL CLOTHING

    what a stupid article. Diesel has been doing this for 20 years. Just because something isn’t selvedge doesn’t mean it should have an ugly outseam.. people who don’t care about selvedge still cuff, considering these jeans are still $200+ it’s not “fake” selvedge just better quality non selvedge detailing/construction. .

    If you confuse real selvedge for craftily made OE jeans outseam, then you are a moron and have no business calling yourself a denim “enthusiast.”

    Now get back to shopping at the Gap/Superdry for superior $69 “selvedge” raw denim, you snob.

    • MosquitoControl

      You’re the guy defending bolting a wing onto a stock Dodge Neon, eh? Pontiac was doing it for years, it must be ok! This is dressing something up without adding function. It’s stupid and pointless. Like you. Stupid. Pointless. Belligerent. Wrong. And calling people “snobs” while acting like a “snob,” somehow equating price with quality despite posting under the RRL name (outside of a few of their lines, they are far more “price” than “quality,” as opposed to Gap, who isn’t really either.) Man, did you make a pointless, angry, idiotic post. It’s baffling how you could feel it was appropriate.

      • RRL CLOTHING

        What a dipshit, you don’t know anything about RRL and never even seen a piece in your pathetic life. RRL uses Okayama selvedge for 99% of their jeans. And now Cone denim, yeah stick to Lucky Brand or the cheap shit (Unbranded) you wear because you are a joke. Thanks for the laugh CLOWN.

        • MosquitoControl

          Jeez, man. All you do on Styleforum is post about RRL. Obsession is a nasty thing.

        • MosquitoControl

          Interesting. So you live in FL, are somewhat psychotic about RRL, and make the bulk of your living by frequenting RL outlet stores, ignoring their rules and friending cashiers, and selling your purchases on eBay.

          Wow, man. Wow. Way to contribute to society.

        • MosquitoControl

          Oh my god, reading through your history I just want to hug you. You so badly need one. I’m sorry, man, I never would have gotten into it with you if I knew your life was so hard.

          You clearly have some issues you’re working through. If it helps, I concede. You won this. It’s all you. I hope you find the help you need.

    • model citizen

      The fact that you mention Diesel as a defense for this nonsense proves you know nothing about denim. Now get back to making shifty $200+ jeans with “better quality non selvedge detailing/construction.”

      • RRL CLOTHING

        You mad you can’t afford a $300 pair of Diesel non-selvedge jeans? LOLLLL Diesel makes selvedge too, called DDG, and it’s $600 each and made in Italy. Diesel fucking owns you, you tool.

        Selvedge doesn’t mean higher quality. Diesel will outlast any selvedge jeans out there. FAKE SELVEDGE?? LOL therre is no such thing. Just because a store cuffs their jeans doesn’t mean they’re trying to be EVIL and DECEIVE anyone. They don’t even know what selvedge is, the minimum wage 17 year olds that cuff the jeans at the store to make them look “cool” and “trendy”

        Stupid asshole.

  • De Nimes

    Are you angry because “exhibit A” is Polo Ralph Lauren? I’ve seen these jeans in the department stores. You clearly skimmed the article: the guy is saying what you did, except he didn’t resort to calling the people who mistake this for selvedge “moron(s).” Comparing this to what Diesel does is like comparing pyrite to gold. And you don’t find this stitching ugly? And the guy goes as far as to say he has nothing against projectile looms. But nevermind. I feel like I’m writing the article. Maybe the morons are the people who don’t actually read articles and write comments about them…

    • RRL CLOTHING

      The stitching isn’t ugly. It’s colorful and makes the best of OE denim. Which is CHEAP. Not everyone makes a FRENCH OUTSEAM. You are another dumbass. Furthermore, the store cuffs them because cuffing is “instyle” for all the hipsters who wear selvedge and non selvedge alike. LIKE TO CUFF THEIR HIPSTER JEANS.

      AGAIN if you can’t tell fake selvedge from real selvedge a mile away you don’t deserve to live, let alone post your opinion on a denim forum…

      • MosquitoControl

        My god, you’re as stupid as you are belligerent.

  • HateToHipstertalk

    Working in the denim industry as a product developer and being a big denim enthusiast I have Momotaro denims that cost me 300€ of which the pocket bags ripped within 4 months of wear and I own 80€ Diesels that I have been wearing for over 8 years without any problems or rips… So what is better now? Such a bullshit article of a guy that obviously has no clue what he’s talking about and even tries to justify his article in the end with loads of ifs and buts and not claiming to be claiming… Dude, do your homework and then start talking your hipster bullshit. Please.

    • MosquitoControl

      No one has ever claimed selvedge = always higher quality. Dude, do your homework and then start whining elsewhere. But, clearly, RRL is trying to make people think this is a higher quality than it is, going off the people that falsely believe selvedge is a significant correlation with quality.

      • Fly Swatter

        Isn’t it all in details? Isn’t this colored stitching nothing more than just a detail? A detail that has been around for ages… I have seen brands do this way before RRL did it. The point “HateToHipstertalk” obviously is making is that expensive denim brands that are known for doing solely selvedge jeans (he did his homework) isn’t always the better in quality. Maybe the denim fabric and workmanship is better, but durability doesn’t have to be better. Has nothing to do with “making believe”. It would be a different story if they’d advertise these as “selvedge denim”. I even dare to say that I think that 95 percent of the customers don’t even check the label to check where their jeans is made and also have no freaking clue about what selvedge exactly is or how the selvedge is formed.

        • MosquitoControl

          Again, it’s blatantly doing something to look functional but isn’t functional. This occurs in many industries. It’s the design work of hacks and should never, ever be applauded. Yes, many jeans have detailing that’s for looks, but that never really emulates something with function.

          This makes a supposed pair of $200 jeans look like Chinese made knockoffs. It’s like all of those watches that have a mock tourbillon. It’s just hack design.

          • Xxx

            So your jeans don’t have a leather patch, back pocket stitching, printed pockets bags, selvage coin pocket? Of course not. Otherwise you would be a hypocrite.

    • Loki

      I would love to cite the whole article above as a reply to your comment. Maybe you’ll read it then…

    • Grandier

      sorry, but i fail to spot any parts of the article that remotely stated that selvage denim = more durable, better quality than non-selvage and vice versa. also, he barely say any buts and only 1 if in the article, as opposed to your “loads of ifs and buts”.

      your argument is invalid, even as a product developer in the denim industry.

  • MosquitoControl

    There was an article somewhere, perhaps here, not too long ago by the (husband and wife?) team in charge of Ralph Lauren jeans. They discussed their love of raw selvedge. A shame they’ve taken to imitating it without matching it. My guess is that they’d want to, but don’t have the freedom to incorporate much selvedge as those above them don’t feel the tradeoffs are worthwhile. But this just isn’t the way to do it. Again, it adds no value and is there just for looks. I can’t really support anything that doesn’t have some functionality. The car industry does this often, and it’s cars that are considered a joke. I am surprised the Ralph designers are ok going this far into form over function and knowing that they’re being mocked by the same people they claim to be a part of.

    • Geo

      I think the husband and wife team your thinking of are in charge of the new Ralph Lauren line Denim & Supply, not all RL denim lines. Denim & Supply is a lower price point line of RL so you’re probably correct that they don’t use selvedge denim because of cost trade offs.

      What I think your missing is that Ralph Lauren is a fashion label. They’re entire premise is form over function. They’re not trying to market to people like you, me and the majority of the other people that read this site. They’re marketing to people that want a certain look based off a current trend and don’t necessarily care how or why. As long as people are wearing clothing there will be fashion labels catering those kinds of people (not that it’s a bad thing).

      I honestly don’t think this practice is all that bad. They’re not advertising it as selvedge. So who cares if it is or not? Its just an extra detail to appeal to create a certain aesthetic. Not to mention, if you’re like me, I’m willing to bet you like some details that have no function. A nice leather patch or screen printed pocket bags don’t really serve a purpose but IMO it’s little details like this that make a pair of jeans really stand out. There are brands that have built their reputations on these details. Why can’t brands that use OE denim do it as well?

      • Enoch Cheng

        I just got back from a Ralph Lauren store at the mall. I can confirm that the RRL label DOES in fact have real selvedge. I can also confirm that Levi’s makes some jeans with fake selvedge but they do sell LVC with selvedge and 511 raws.

    • joeyp

      Although I think there are neat details that don’t add any function to pairs of jeans, I think you’ve nailed the point by pointing out that it’s “a shame they’ve taken to imitating it without matching it”.

      Of course there will be people who don’t mind wearing the imitation and will enjoy being able to show some colour when they cuff their jeans and if that’s what they like then good for them. From a design perspective as a consumer I will always prefer the original design – that’s not to say I wouldn’t buy jeans with fake selvedge just that given the choice and ceterus paribus I would prefer a pair with a genuine selvedge line.

      The point the author is making is that there is a difference between copied and genuine selvedge, that the genuine selvedge is preferable, and that people who aren’t necessarily sure of the difference might want to find out the difference before they go and buy a pair of jeans. Surely nobody disagrees with that? Of course the customer might still prefer the fake selvedge jeans for other reasons (other aspect of the jeans, cost etc.) but they should be aware that some jeans have fake selvedge and some have real selvedge.

    • RRL CLOTHING

      LOL dipshit learn the difference between RRL and Denim and Supply. The cheap shit you shop for at Macys. You can’t afford RRL because you are hipster trash that shops at thrift stores and spend $2 on jeans. The rest goes to your filthy pot habit…

      • MosquitoControl

        Seriously? You clearly work for RRL, and you’re almost definitely a store clerk. Maybe manager.

        How about this? You want a dick measuring contest? You reveal your identity to me. I reveal mine to yours. I bet $1000 I make more money than you. I have a better job. I have a better education. And you’re just a peon.

  • MosquitoControl

    You know, as quickly as this is getting non-fan posts, I’m pretty sure it was picked up by a follower on Facebook and is now going across some corporate instant messenger system with people angrily coming here to defend their company’s poor aesthetic decisions.

  • Brian Parker

    Yikes, this got ugly!

    I agree with “RRL CLOTHING”‘s comment “people who don’t care about selvedge still cuff,” although I don’t think we need to get mean. With apologies to MosquitoControl, fashion is full of details that don’t add function.

    I’ll step out on a limb and risk exposing myself as a “moron”: I only started reading this site recently, and I came in knowing nothing almost about jeans. Once upon a time I would cuff Converse One Star jeans I bought at Target because I was poor but I liked the look. I had no idea what “selvedge” was or meant. I was just a kid with an aesthetic and a minimal budget.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, I doubt the tactic is “nefarious” so much as “aesthetics (but without added cost for quality stitching).” It is not necessarily intended to mislead.

    (For the record, now that I’m old and boring and financially stable– and wear jeans to work– I get all my jeans tailored instead of cuffing them. I’ll pay the tailor as much as I spent on a pair of jeans from Target. This is a luxury for which I am grateful.)

    • MosquitoControl

      But this is a clear emulation of something that does add function. Again, it’s like closed-off hood scoops. It costs RRL a good amount of money to add that threading, and is done to look like something it is not. Specifically. It’s bad design form. You should never, ever make something look more functional than it is – that’s amateur hour. It doesn’t bug me that it’s faking selvedge – the jeans I’m wearing right now aren’t selvedge. It bothers me that it’s a supposed high end brand doing something Pontiac went out of business for, and people are defending it. But I guess the Sunfire had its fans, too.

      • Brian Parker

        We’ll have to agree to disagree. Those red stitches look “cool” even if you have no idea they might indicate something functional. One sees clothing that looks more functional than it is all the time: military trends, excess straps and buckles and buttons and pockets, combat boots… just because you don’t like the aesthetic (and I don’t either anymore since I’ve gotten older) doesn’t mean there aren’t people who want it.

        People still buy stupid mufflers to make their engine sound bigger than it is. Annoys the crap out of me, I think it’s dumb, but if a high-end car manufacturer shipped models that sounded louder than they needed to… well, I’d think it was stupid, but I’d recognize it as just business and not “amateur hour.” Maybe we don’t entirely disagree about this issue, but I guess I’m jaded about businesses pursuing profit over quality.

        • Nic

          All of your examples aren’t actually relevant because none of the things you posted actually mean higher quality. Buckles don’t mean quality, buttons don’t mean quality, straps don’t mean quality. A piece of selvedge fabric in general will last longer than a piece of non-selvedge fabric. It is showing that it is made with a higher quality fabric. That is why fake selvedge like those are lying to less educated consumers and taking advantage of people that don’t know better. The equivalent on the other trends you mention would be saying that the leather of the combat boots is a higher quality than it actually is, but stating it in a way that protects you from direct false advertising. Not like buckles or any of that other random unrelated stuff you added in to prove your point (louder engines dont mean quality either). In terms of profit over quality, there is no reason you can’t pursue both. Harry Rosen has over 500 Million Dollars in revenue per year selling quality goods that last.

          • Brian Parker

            Nic, I think MosquitoControl and I had agreed (at least for sake of argument) was that this wasn’t being done to intentionally trick consumers into believing that they were getting selvedge denim when they weren’t; rather, that it is being done for aesthetic reasons only. And discussing, well, whether or not it is stupid aesthetics that show poor design.

            To expand on what I said above, I think some people just like to cuff their jeans and show contrast red stitching, when THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT “SELVEDGE” EVEN IS. Perhaps I’m being generous to the jeans makers, but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I don’t think that they actually expect you to believe that these jeans are selvedge. If you know what selvedge is and really care about it, you aren’t going to be fooled, AND I THINK THE JEANS MAKERS KNOW THAT… but they also know that some people with very low jeans budgets are going to like “that cool red stitch when I cuff my jeans.”

            I hope in that context my examples make more sense. (They aren’t perfect, but is any analogy perfect?) They aren’t examples of fake quality; they are examples of aesthetic details inspired by nonexistant functionality.

          • Geo

            Your assumption that selvedge denim is generally higher quality is incorrect and there is no guarantee selvedge denim will last longer. There are some very high quality OE denims that are on par with the best selvedge denim. Just as there are many selvedge denims that are of terrible quality.

      • RRL CLOTHING

        Listen you fucking retard. The wing adds function. Just look at the Evo and STi you che-che loving socialist faggot. 50+ pounds of downforce on the wing!! Now stop talking about RRL and POLO because you don’t know the fucking difference between the two. Polo makes $98 jeans. RRL jeans cost $250+. Fucking choad.

        • MosquitoControl

          How did I miss this? My god, this guy is a class act.

  • FRINGECLASS

    I have a strange gut feeling that all of the kids talking shit ended up here via search engine. I cant see anybody whos really into raw denim ok’ing some shit like this.

    • MosquitoControl

      Doubtful. I’m thinking they all work for some company. They got here instantly. Search engines don’t do that. Someone forwarding it around the office does it. They also stopped showing up pretty quickly…

      • FRINGECLASS

        sounds right..

  • Selapista

    Actually those are not even the worse i have seen. Some Z–A Group brands use fake selvedge ribbons and that is also the case for some Levis Engineered jeans that use selvedge ribbon details.

    • Dirty Denim

      ZARA is big into the ribbon thing right now and I like that they do it. I know what selvedge is and I dont think they are trying to make the pants or jeans look like selvedge but instead just making them look a bit cleaner

  • kennydoggyu

    Seriously, you guys read this in too much details that you’re just criticizing without reading back what you’ve wrote. Selvage does prove that a pair of jeans are crafted with high details. This article is just showing that some brands look at selvage just as a trend, whereas if you ARE a denim enthusiast, you look at selvage as a detail of fine craftsmanship. Just pointing it out there.

  • Hanif

    dude, RRL is not low quality jeans. PRL (polo ralph lauren is ) and RL denim&supply is. RRL stuffs are very high quality and they never use fake selvedge. RL have many division and the quality each is very different. Just like polo RL suits are fucking crap and the Purple Label Ralph Lauren suits are among the best in the world and handmade in England. Even Edward Green, the best England shoemaker was the RLPL shoemakers before. Now Crocket & Jones make RL shoes.